Parenting 2.0

Pushin’ Around the Kid in the Stroller

Posted on: November 24, 2011

Her face was hardened. Deep crevices lined the canvas of her skin, illustrating all the scowls she’d doled out over time. Yes, she’d probably enjoyed a few laughs too, but judging (yes, I was judging!) by her behaviour yesterday morning, I think her life had been filled with more upset than happiness. I just couldn’t believe the way she was talking to the (I’m guessing) 18 month old that she was pushing around in the stroller. That’s pushing around, both literally and metaphorically.

“That’s it! Yer not gettin’ anything with that sort of behaviour! NO! That’s it! NO! Yer terrible the way yer behavin’!”, she drilled at the little pajama-clad guy who was taking it all in, while quietly sucking on his soother.

I may not even have noticed what she was saying, if it hadn’t been for the decibels to which her voice reached.

Now, I have a two year old son, who’s not much older than the little guy in her care. 18 months old wasn’t so long ago for me. I clearly remember what an 18 month old is like – they’re more interactive, more independent, more everything than the version of their baby-selves that has now ceased to exist. But the way this woman was talking to her son? Grandson? (It was hard to tell.) It was like he was 5 years old. Like he could understand the cause and affect of his behaviour. Like he could reason. And she just kept berating him. I wish I could remember the exact words she was using, because they really resonated with me. Disturbed me. And I know I’m not doing her nastiness justice here.

I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated with parenthood. It’s certainly not easy and I’m no expert. Like most parents I’m just trying my best. But was this this woman’s best? I just couldn’t help but wonder: if this is how she talks to the little guy in public, what goes on at home, when no one is watching?

It really just broke my heart. I wanted to take him home with me or something.

Maybe she was having a bad day (but it was only 10 in the morning), life. I don’t know. But it doesn’t excuse talking to the child in your care like that. But what could I do? Was it my place to step in? I don’t think so. Not unless the end result would be me rescuing the child and bringing him home with me, but I think in the eyes of the law that’s kidnapping and I’d probably be put in jail. So, here I am a day later still thinking about that woman’s face and the way she barked at that little boy. And wondering why?

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