Shut Up and Stop Judging Me!
The fact of the matter is that my son runs about a lot and is in danger of throwing himself under a car if I don’t keep a close eye on him. I’m just grateful his sister has calmed down, she did the same when she was younger, only she didn’t have the attitude problem Sausage has.
On the school run this hyperactivity manifests itself in the form of Sausage running helter skelter down the hill, shedding gloves, hats and toys – sometimes dropped, sometimes triumphantly thrown into other people’s gardens as he passes. Then there’s Darlek and me trotting on behind, usually with me yelling ‘Sausage!!’ (obviously I use his real name) like a fishwife, and with Darlek trying to keep up whilst carrying her school bag and falling over her feet. Poor love has my co-ordination, or the lack of it.
More often than not he’ll stop at roads, but he does tend to get to the end of the pavement, and then run around the corner where I can’t see him, which is unnerving to put it mildly. How do I know if there’s a car there or not? So, nowadays, if he doesn’t stop when I shout, or come back when I ask him to, he gets put back in the pushchair – end of! Problem is, he fights with me like a little screaming, obnoxious beastie every time I have to do this.
Yesterday, we had an incident like this. Sausage bombed down the hill, I yelled and ran, Darlek tried to keep up and I finally caught him. He hadn’t stopped when I’d asked him so I told him firmly that this behaviour was not acceptable and tried to put him in his pushchair. Sausage started screaming like I was trying to murder him, and went completely rigid. The straps on the pushchair need resetting and are a little too short, which isn’t normally a problem, but considering Sausage was being really awkward, I couldn’t clip him in.
We were late getting to school so I got more and more upset and annoyed. Sausage cranked up the screaming ab-dabs and fought me, pushing and squirming and throwing himself out of the seat. You know the way some people bottle their feelings up? Well, that’s not me. I felt I could not control my own son, and felt a failure and although I carried on battling with Sausage, my eyes blurred with tears. No matter of cajoling or pushing or calming was working.
After a while I became aware of a man shouting, but I didn’t look to see why because I had more important things to be dealing with. The shouting became louder, and I still didn’t pay any attention, and carried on trying desperately to wrap pushchair straps around my son and clip him in. By this time, tears were streaming down my face.
I didn’t think anyone was around (we live in an area fairly out of town), but a woman suddenly rushed up the street towards me, dragging her dog along with her. Thank god for random kindnesses. She asked me if she could help, and I wiped my tears away with my sleeve and tried to regain my composure, but really struggled. I explained that Sausage keeps trying to run away, and that it’s dangerous, and I just could not allow him to get away with it, and that was why I was basically fighting with him to get him back in his chair. This lovely woman talked to Sausage, and to me and helped calm the situation, for which I am eternally grateful.
I clicked the straps and stood up. Patting her dog and getting ready to carry on with her dog walk she said ‘Did you hear that man shouting at you? That’s why I came to see what was going on.’
Apparently a man had been stood at the other side of the road, shouting from his window at me for assaulting my son or something. I have no idea what he said, or even who he was because I was not aware of him. I was just aware of the urgency of trying to keep my son safe and of trying to control him. It’s admirable that people keep an eye out for the welfare of children, but what the hell was that man thinking? If he was so concerned for my son, why didn’t he come out of his house, cross the road and ask what was going on? As it was, he shouted at a crying woman in the street, with a crying child and a very upset 5 year old girl. Poor Darlek, she didn’t know what was going on. She was such a love, and as I carried on with the school run, bright red and tear stained, she wrapped her arm around me every now and then and hugged me.
As I wasn’t aware of him whilst all this was going on, I don’t actualy know what he looks like, but every single time I walk down that street I shall worry about meeting him. If only I knew what he looked like and then I could explain. Maybe it’s for the best that I don’t know what he looks like, but I hate to think that anyone would suspect me of hurting my child.
As one of my friends said, he was a random tosspot and it’s a shame there’s so many of them about – but at least the world has its share of ‘salt of the earth’ types too. I really hope I see that woman again so I can say thanks.
Since this incident, I’ve talked to a few other mums who have had very similar experiences. Not only do we face our own fierce criticism (well I do anyway) we have to cope with criticism and judgement from strangers too. It’s not fair.