I only have two ranty rants today…
Rant 1: People who intervene and try to “help” me parent my children:
I have a toddler who has tantrums. At 2.5, he is feisty, opinionated, and occasionally (ok, fairly frequently) likes to let the world know it. I find it quite stressful when we’re out somewhere and he becomes distressed or cross about something because he really does scream, and it isn’t easy to calm him down. I know it’s normal, I know other parents struggle with this, I know he’ll grow out of it. I’m totally sympathetic to other parents going through this, it is not a fun stage. What I object to is people who feel the need to tell me what to do, when my child is midst a tantrum, and I’m clearly trying to deal with him. In the supermarket the other day, whilst Small Boy was giving a fine rendition of “I waaaaaant chocolate” (another sore point, why do supermarkets put chocolate at the perfect height for a toddler to see and grab, when Mum is desperately trying to pack and pay for her shopping? Grrr) at the top of his lungs, and the old biddy behind me, who had tutted and muttered under her breath for 5 minutes already, grabbed my arm, and helpfully informed me “you need to sort that child out, give him a smack on the bottom, that’ll stop him”. I normally retort with some snide remark when I’m offered such useful parenting “gems”, but I was tired, a little frazzled, and not in the mood to deal with her and the tantruming toddler… The cashier behind the ’til was very sweet, patted my hand, and told me, “we’ve all been there dear, my grandson’s just like that at the moment, hang in there”, which definitely helped me not to deck the unhelpful old lady behind me with a bag of frozen peas! (Yes, I’m a horrible person, I want to deck old ladies!) I do realise she was trying to be helpful, and “it takes a village” and all that, but frankly, I don’t need advice on how to handle my toddler, and I certainly wasn’t going to follow hers. I’m also fed up of people hovering over my child when he’s doing something, when I’m clearly supervising him. In the play park the other day, while he was on a climbing frame, which admittedly is for the older children, the mother hovering over her 6-year-old on the slide kept saying to me “he’s on the climbing frame, do you need me to help him? “… I was less than 2 feet away from him, he’s climbed the thing more times than I can count, and he’s confident he can do it. I was very polite and replied, “yes I know, I can see him, I am watching him, I don’t feel the need to nanny my children into a state of inability by hovering over them, he’s learning to do it by himself. If he is in trouble, I’ll help him, thanks”. If I had been sitting on a bench, miles away from him, chatting to my girlfriend on the phone, or texting, and totally ignored him as he perilously hung by one hand in the air from the monkey bar’s, screaming “help”, then yes, maybe she could have intervened, but I was RIGHT THERE!! I’m starting to feel like I should have a T-shirt printed with “If I want your helpful parenting advice, I’ll ask for it” to wear when I go out.
Rant 2: Cyclists
LSH is a cyclist, he cycles to work every day. I do know he has been reckless in his cycling career (he’s been cycling since he was 13) and he has on occasion been less than sensible, but since his accident in 2010, he has been more cautious and careful. My rant is aimed at cyclists who seem to think that common sense, safety and the basic rules of the road that the rest of us have to follow don’t apply to them. On Monday, the kids and I were crossing the road near our house, it’s a full pedestrian crossing with lights, and we had waited until the lights were green, to cross. All the traffic had stopped, but one single cyclist, who obviously felt he was the next Lance Armstrong, decided that green light and pedestrians were something he needed to plow through, and that two wheels, on an expensive bike and a flashy helmet (at least he was wearing one, I suppose) meant he could just carry on at speed. He almost hit our pushchair, and narrowly missed the gentleman crossing at the same time as us. He did stop, but only to yell “watch out, you b***h” at me…. I am a bit nonplussed by this, maybe I was mistaken in thinking that I was in the right, by crossing safely during the “green” light, when ALL the other traffic had stopped? Clearly the rules are different for him. I’m not anti cyclist, but it really does annoy me that a percentage of cyclists I see seem to think they can break the rules of the road, when cars and other vehicles have to behave. Technically, a cyclist is supposed to stick to the highway code, speed limits and general road rules. I totally understand why a lot of people loathe them, and resent them. There are a good number of people who cycle safely, but there are some that don’t. I feel like a horrible person, but I hope the cyclist who nearly hit us learns his lesson one day.
I was going to rant about cold callers, who telephone at random hours, and hang up or try to sell me random stuff, who when I answer and tell them that “Mr Geoffrey Maxwell” isn’t a resident at the telephone address they’ve got, and they have dialed a wrong number, then try to sell me whatever they had planned to sell him and then ring back an hour later despite me asking them to stop, but I won’t, I think we all share an intense dislike of cold callers.. this article from the BBC last week tickled me, I think I may have to try it one day… The Cold Calling Victim who Fought Back
Have a good weekend, I’m off to prepare for a small fireworks party we’re hosting tonight. I need to track down the kitty Valium and clean our bathroom before our guests arrive. (the Valium is for the cats, I promise!)