Friday’s Rants from the Soapbox

I’ve had a bit of a busy week. We’ve managed to finish all the school uniform shopping, the playgroup I run opened for a summer session and I’ve managed to hurt my back by not being careful when lifting something. I should know better, I’ve done so many manual handling/lifting courses in my career. I’m a bit cross with myself. I can’t lift Small Boy or bend over without pain. LSH has thankfully come home from work so he can at least help me a bit, although he’s working at home, which could prove interesting with two small children and an incapacitated Mummy.  Anyway, here are my Friday Rants from the Soap box in my living room.

Rant 1:Ignorant discrimination, this time, on public transport

I often use the buses, I’m used to hopping on and off both local buses and London buses with my kids and our pushchair. I don’t drive, so we use the buses very regularly. I am very aware that at busy times, pushchairs can be a pain and that we take up space, ut I don’t have any other options. I try to be polite, I don’t try to push on the bus if it’s too full, I fold it up if I can, now Small Boy is big enough to get out and walk and cope, I always check how many pushchairs are on the bus before I board, and I’ve got a good working relationship with most local bus drivers, who know me and my kids by sight, we’re regulars. However, it would seem bus manners and common sense don’t extend to other pushchair pushing parents. We boarded our bus, this week, which already had a wheelchair user in the space we use. The bus driver and the wheelchair user were both happy there was enough space to get on, and we embarked on our journey. About four stops along, a woman tried to get on the bus with her pushchair, the bus driver told her, rightly, that he hadn’t got enough space, and asked her to fold it. Small boy at this point, had fallen asleep in his pushchair. The woman became very upset, and began yelling at me, the bus driver, and the wheelchair user. I can’t and won’t print her actual words, which were liberally peppered with obscenities, but basically, her baby was littler than mine, I was called names, I should have  folded  my pushchair, the bus driver’s parentage and legitimacy were called into question, and the wheelchair user should have “stayed at home” because clearly, having to use a wheelchair to aid mobility=not having any kind of life or right to access public transport….  She refused to get off, and held up the bus for ten minutes, while she yelled at us. The bus driver threatened to call the police, and she eventually got off, and we all got on with our trip. Shell-shocked, I must admit. I wasn’t so bothered about being yelled at, but I was truly appalled and as were the rest of the bus passengers, at the woman’s attitude towards the wheelchair user. She genuinely seemed angry that the woman in the wheelchair had actually dared to use public transport, and was “taking up space”. I’ve never come across such blatant ignorance and discrimination. The wheelchair user, was less perturbed than me, sadly, she said it wasn’t the first time she’d experience this type of thing, which upset me even more? Seriously? Given that as a country, we are hosting the 2012 Paralympics, and that we’re supposed to be an open, accepting society, I cannot actually believe that someone would hold a view that a wheelchair user has less rights than them! It’s taken me all week to calm down about this. What appalling behaviour!

Rant 2: Children’s clothing, particularly for girls.

Dear clothing retailers and designers: My daughter is almost 6, she needs well-fitting, appropriate clothing. She is tall, has long legs, and I am now refusing to buy “skinny”, “hipster” or “low-cut” jeans, which are all you seem to provide. She doesn’t need to be showing her bottom, or belly, or the tops of her knickers, when she bends down, because you’ve designed jeans for children based on teenage/adult fashions. She also does not need to be wearing t-shirts or tops with “Lick Me”, “Touch Me” “Spank Me” or “I’m a naughty girl” on them. Also, she doesn’t need a choice of types of underwear. Why, WHY, would an almost 6-year-old need “tanga” or “low-rise” or “high cut” knickers? Who actually buys animal print/shocking pink laced coloured items I’d expect to find  in Anne Summer’s  shops for their 5-6 year olds?  I spent a good hour trying to find sensible, plain, age appropriate underwear. Also, what’s the deal with sizing?? Why do you have 3-4, 5-6 then 7-8 year old sizes, do 4 and 6 year olds not need underpants?? This was not a one-off experience, I tried several retailers online, and in shops before I found items that were suitable? Maybe I’m too conservative and prudish, but my daughter is 6, not a sexpot.  I don’t want her sexualised, or to be wearing clothing more adult than her age. I’m not the only person that feels this way, I know.

Rant 3: Parental behaviour at playparks.

We’re very fortunate to live near a park with a sandpit. In the summer, it’s great. It does get busy, but my children love to go there to play. (It has crossed my mind that it might not be the cleanest of places, but my germ phobia is overridden by the need to get out and about and keep my kids busy and active) We usually pack all our buckets and spades, take a picnic, and make an event of it. This week, we spent an afternoon there. My rants are short and simple: 1) Parents of children who continually throw and kick sand at other kids (and I’m talking older children, not babies/toddlers) please deal with your little darlings, or I will. I actually told one child off, who kept throwing sand at us, and in our direction, and at other children. His mother was too busy texting and chatting to her friends about her love life to intervene.  2) If you come to a playpark with a sandpit, either bring your own supplies of buckets, spades etc,  or don’t come. The park doesn’t provide these items, and actively encouraging your kids to go round “borrowing” then refusing to share, or return items isn’t on. I have no issue with my children sharing, I’m very firm with them, on this, but when you try to leave the playpark with your child taking items belonging to my children (that were labelled, ok, I’m anal, I know) claiming “you didn’t think they belonged to anyone” then you’re going to face my wrath. 3) A children’s play park, with a sandpit, is NOT a sunny beach somewhere on the Med. I’m sure the mother who was sunbathing topless thought it was some exotic resort, hence her decision to behave like it was, but the park police didn’t feel the same way and came and asked her to cover up, after someone (not me, I would add) complained and called them.

That’s it for this week’s rants. Have a good weekend!

Posted in Friday's Rants from The Soap Box

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