Niko and I took the bus to the play ground that’s behind the building we lived in before this one, out in Edgewater. We had about half an hour to kill before the library opened, the bus that goes there was ready and waiting, off we went. Niko had a good time and climbed the big kid slides and slid down them (sometimes face first, which he’d never done before, thanks older kid for showing him that) and climbed them and slid down them etc. He started off nervous and hesitant but was soon confidant in his ability to CLIMB HIGHER THAN MY HEAD OH MY GOD I WAS SO NERVOUS and slide down down down safely. He had a good time, but when he started lying down and saying “shh” I figured it was time to go home and take a nap.
So we walked back to the bus, which we almost missed but the driver saw me waving and stopped driving and I muscled the stroller allllll the way up onto the bus because while he was willing to stop the bus he wasn’t willing to kneel the bus to make life easier so whatever. The bus was pretty empty, so I steered Niko and his stroller over to some empty forward-facing seats at the edge of the seats for persons with disabilities. A woman sitting on the inward seats directed me to pull up some of the disability sits so I could get “his cart” out of the aisle. Then she proceeded to scream at the people sitting in those seats to get up faster, one of whom snapped at her because she was, duh, disabled and cannot move fast. It is not possible for her to move fast. That is why she sits at the front of the bus, because she has mobility issues. I tried to explain that, no, I didn’t need any seats folded up, I was going to sit right here in vacant seats, look, I’m getting in the seat right now and the original woman yelled at me that I needed to get Niko’s “cart” out of the aisle.
His stroller is an umbrella stroller. It folds up. I slung him onto the seat, sat down, folded the stroller, got us all stowed away. It took less than a minute and would have taken even less time if I wasn’t trying to talk to a screaming person at the same time.
Nikow was crying as we boarded the bus and headed towards the seats because 1) it was past his nap time 2) I’d just taken him from the most fun place EVER (giant slides! bouncy ground! did I mention the slides?) like a huge and unreasonable asshole 3) some stranger was yelling. I picked him up and gave him a cuddle and got him settled a little more comfortably and she… yelled at me! For tending to my crying child!
Apparently, when children cry, you must ignore them. Because they learn that if they act obnoxious you’ll pay attention to them, and keep crying/screaming/whatever. And I, obviously, was too stupid to know when to pay attention to my child and when to ignore his petty demands for attention. He quieted down really quickly and sat calmly, because he is in general a very chill toddler. But that did not stop her from going on a diatribe about spoiled children and how children need to be treated harshly and not spoiled and OH MY GOD LOOK I KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF MY CHILD OK?
Niko totally makes “I’m a huge asshole! Pay attention to me NOW!” noises, usually when I’m doing the dishes or something, where he’ll just stand there and look at me and whine/wail atonally. EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNN he says. EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. It’s because he! wants! attention! noooowwwwwwwww! And graham crackers. Or goldfish. But mostly? Attention. And if I don’t want my kitchen to smell like somebody’s rotting ass, I need to stay on top of the dishes, which toddlers don’t understand because the world basically revolves around them which makes doing things like washing dishes or doing laundry or pooping extra challenging. But he also makes noises that mean “I’m scared!” or “I’m tired!” or “why is this woman screaming at people? wth? Is she screaming at me? Did I do something wrong?” or “my finger is stuck and it hurts please help me” or whatever. He doesn’t really have words and when he’s upset he forgets the words he does have, which is normal for his age. Sometimes, he needs my attention.
And it is super not helpful to have a stranger (or, hell, someone I know) lecture me on how to parent when I’m actually doing a good job and have a calm, chill toddler who needed some attention and got it and now he’s on the look out for dogs and balls and other things he enjoys.
For some unaccountable reason, there are people convinced that it is feminists who are anti-children and are all judgmental and slap down parents (where “parent” is “female parent” aka “mom”) who take their children out in public. In reality, it is judgmental assholes who are quick to yell insults about ones’ parenting, refuse basic courtesies like kneeling a bus so a lone parent can wrestle a toddler in a stroller aboard, etc. I guess if one sees “feminists” as the enemy (so shrill! so hairy legged! so humorless! so manhating!) it’s easy to ascribe all sins to them instead of recognizing that the world we live in is pretty shitty toward women in general and women with kids in particular. It’s like certain people see a woman with a child or children and they slap on their judging hats and go to town, and let me tell you internets, THAT IS NOT FUN TO DEAL WITH. And, perhaps the worst part, is that for a moment I forgot about all the totally awesome people who helped me with opening doors all day (because Chicago is NOT an accessible city, let me tell you, even at polling places which are supposed to be accessible) and waited for me and smiled at Niko. All the totally great and awesome reactions and extra help and moments of human kindness I’d gotten over the past 19 months were, for a brief moment, obliterated by one jackass who felt I needed to hear how crap I was as a parent. Which, ok, I really don’t need to hear that I TELL MYSELF THAT ENOUGH THANK YOU SHUT UP BRAIN.
The next time you’re out and about and you see a parent with a child or children, please smile at them. If they need a hand and you can help, please do. Be nice. Parents, especially female parents, really get treated like crap a lot in public and a little kindness really does go a long way. Now that I’m home again and have some space between me and that person, I’m able to weigh our experiences on a balance. And there are way more positive public experiences than negative, and I’m very grateful for that. But the negative experiences tend to be much more memorable because they are louder, more hate (or spite) filled, and more barbed.
Mirrored from Now Showing!.