Sunday, August 28, 2011

To the woman in the shops today with the child...

I came home today from work and saw an article by Janet Fraser entitled "To the woman at the shops with the weeping babe".
I saw you today, at the shops, my sister. I saw you pushing a pram, perusing scarves, unable to respond to the bleating, hiccupping cries and jagged breaths of your newborn. I heard the babe cry out over and over, “Help me. Hold me close. Comfort me. Show me I’m not alone.” and yet in your aloneness, you were kept from responding. Was I seeing the trauma of your babe’s birth in action? The fragmented care of a brutal maternity system which prizes compliance above wellness? The ugly effects of industrialised parenting and the mould into which we are all shoved in this 21st century Sparta? I saw your babe’s face as she shut down and stared blankly at you from the pram and I felt my heart break for you both.
And it has encouraged me to write about something I saw today.

I see you, woman that could be me. I saw you stalk by, wound up tighter than a spring and glowering at everyone who passed. You were a woman on a retail mission today, something clasped in your hand and an item in your mind. You and many others were in the store and they were in your way and I could see that everything was going to annoy you. How much it clearly annoyed you that your child was with you, that your child existed in your timeline for consumption today.

I saw your daughter, frisky and boisterous in her enjoyment of the freedom of childhood. Probably irritating as fingers through cornflour, but really, what harm is there in a little frustration at your offspring's mercurial and inexplicable moods? As you stalked by she stopped to gather a trolley for her treasures. Isn't that what childhood is about? Learning to borrow a trolley, learning to keep your treasures safe and enjoying the excitement of a trip to a store when the reason is lost on you? Isn't it about taking time slowly because childhood whips past so quickly? About learning the tradeoffs between having to suffer the inconvenience of accompanying your mother to the shops instead of the park, because you get a trolley for a few minutes?

Is it really important that you had to stop a moment to untangle the trolley for your daughter? Her yelp at being caught up on another trolley was one of frustration but perhaps, if you'd waited, she would have sorted it out and you could have had a wry smile on your face, a mixture of pride and amusement and something to salve your own anger. And she would have happily gamboled along with you instead of slinking along, rubbing her thigh.

Instead, at that yelp, I saw your anger, your hurt, your baggage, gather suddenly and focus on your child and instead of helping her, you rounded on her and took two swooping fast strides down from the pedestal you are on as her mother, and even as she said "No mummy!" in a thin piping but strong voice, you picked her up and bundled her down an aisle and slapped her. I heard it, clear as day. You smacked her, in public and in a way that made me shake on the inside. In a way that reminded me of a childhood, and made me feel sick.

No one stopped you. No one asked if she was alright, even as she cried and you picked her up roughly and continued to stalk down the store. I hope you were mortified and embarrassed, just as I was shaking and upset at this and had to take a few deep breaths.

And I'm no better for putting my employment above standing up for a child.

If my husband did that to me, there would be police called and cups of tea made but because it's a parent doing it to a child, it's ok in many people's eyes. I hate people who hit their children. There is not justification for it. It is wrong and a symptom of how screwed up the world is that people are going to argue with me on that.

 I remember being smacked by my parents and what I remember isn't the lesson learned - I remember so many other things and so many chips in our relationship.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Seventeen months old!

Dear S - you have been with me in individuality for 17 months. You have turned my world upside down and back to front and put it back together in ways I can't convey and can't quite believe.

In the past week, you have become even more amazing and astounding. You've learnt so many words! Book, sock, fish, cheese, peas, beer, biscuit, car, cat... and so many more! Mama, daddy, papa, Katie and Zaza as well. You also waited last Saturday for me to get home to show me that you can clamber up my side and let go and stand on your own.

You've done some growing as well - 80cm long and out of a heap of your size 1 tops! You are 10kg and because of the increase in your length/height I am loving wrapping you on my back again. I know you're growing because you've gone back to a 7am wakeup, morning napy and then midday nap. That and eating me out of most things in the fridge.

You love reading books and making noises for things, such as a dog bark (urh urh) and beep beep on a nose. You are suddenly in love with a stuffed cotton bunny that I wish I could remember the gifter for, and it's cute to see you ask for it last thing at night. You have so many words for foods and feed me and hungry and more and I love the amazing leaps you're making in communication. Which is lovely given that you spent last week screeching in frustration at me and not sleeping. But the LEAP in development is pay off.

Oh baby do you love dancing! And talking, singing, la la la ing along, and having whole conversations with people. You love to say "Haaaaiiiii!" to anyone we see and you love to smile with your whole body. You love food - mandarin, cheese, peas, meat, egg, grapes. Not so keen on banana and avocado.

You are slightly a neat freak with sorting and storing things. You get a bit upset when things aren't in the right spots and love to unpack the plates cupboard or the baking drawer. Your receptive language is obviously huge compared to your spoken language and I have to be careful to remember that. You can stack blocks, play with a large ball, put things away and LOVE musical instruments and shaking things for rhythm.

A pencil or crayon and some paper and you're a happy girl. You love to scribble and write and play with colour. You love watching me draw as well and are impressed with my skills which is amusing given I have no drawing skills! You ask "Whatisthat!?" all the time and can follow instructions sometimes. You do get upset when something bad happens though - a spilled glass of water or a broken glass and you're upset even if I or TheHusband don't show any kind of upset. 

It's funny isn't it that so many of your fine motor skills are well developd but you're not walking yet. You crawl and climb and clamber and frankly, I'm fine with you not walking just yet. You're hard enough work without that added bonus! I know you'll get there really soon - just in time for summer so you can toddle in the park and at the beach and in the bush. You can feed yourself well, love using adult-sized cutlery and insist on eating what I'm having which means that I'm watching what I eat a lot more than I used to! You love yoghurt and brown rice and fruit, or porridge.

You are the light of my life. My life revolves around you and I love it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I have a strange thing with my chest. I've had whooping cough twice, and when I get a cold or anything in Winter I get asthma that flares up. It sucks and is frustrating and distracting from the rest of the things I have to think about. Especially when I don't like taking my inhaler for it as it gives me the shakes but don't have many other options and have a lot to think on!

It's kind of a long list at the moment. Buying a house is heinously stressful. There is so much crap and fluff and ritual around it. So many boxes to tick and fit into and then other bits that are skated over. It's kind of confusing for the first timer, ya know? And then when I know what I'm doing it'll all be done and I won't do this again evah ;).

I did joke to TheHusband today that the next time we buy our first home it'll be a lot easier. Har har.

At this stage, we are settling at the end of August and moving in the first half of September. Our landlord who is a GEM has offered to advertise the place from that stage as well which means we *might* not have to pay rent at the same time as rent. Maybe.

Add to that that my last placement EVAH for my degree is going to be difficult to manage because I got option number "not even on my list" which means I have to drive an hour each way each shift and there's a lot on my mind at the moment. But I have been doing some knitting - I finished another Milo just the other day, and have knit more of my super secret project as well.

And look! I posted a blog post. Which isn't a fabulous one (yes I did take my inhaler and am all over the place) but it is done! Good night.