Sometimes I blog about things, that seem to me like a sort of parenting confession session. This blog post is one of those!
I had an interesting conversation, with a mother, at a toddler group that Small Boy and I attend, occasionally. (Not the one I work at) My bag, was on the floor, under a chair, and Small Boy was playing happily, and I was chatting a friend, who is a parent, and a child-minder. A small child, aged about 18 months old, wandered across, and sat down on the floor next to us. I said hello to her, and offered her a toy, I had found on the chair, and then carried on chatting. I then noticed she was trying to get into my bag. I gently removed the bag, and put it on the chair, which of course, the little girl didn’t like, and she started to cry. I felt a bit mean, that I had made her cry, and looked about for her mother. She came across, and I explained that I had moved my bag, out of her reach, and that she was a bit upset. The mother was semi apologetic, but told me “oh, she likes handbags, I let her play with mine, all the time, she probably didn’t mean any harm”. I replied, “well, I’ve got paracetamol, hand santisier and migraine tablets in there, and I wouldn’t want her to get hold of any of those things”. She looked at me a bit oddly and wandered off. My friend and I then had a brief conversation about not letting our kids play in our bags, and then we got dragged into making pasta necklaces by our children.
Afterwards, I was thinking about it, and I realised that I don’t like anyone, rummaging in my bag, my own children are not allowed to play with it’s contents, I even prefer LSH not to go into it, unless he asks. I do let Big Girl get things out, or I may ask her to go and find something for me, but as a rule, my bag is off limits. For me it is two fold. As a parent, I don’t get a lot of private space, and my handbag is one space that I regard as mine, and I object to little fingers fiddling away with my things. Also, as I said above, I keep items that would not be safe, in the hands of small children. My emergency migraine medication or some paracetamol, if ingested by a small, curious child, could be serious, if not fatal. My children know my bag is off limits, and very rarely will even try to explore it’s contents. I learned the hard way, that my bag was not a good toy activity for my children, when in a busy restaurant, having a meal with a friend, who didn’t have children, and was being very polite and tolerant of my then 2 year old Small Girl, (who was a bit bored, after waiting a long time for her food, then not wanting to be confined in a highchair, and had discarded all the toys and child friendly items I had brought with me to entertain her) I gave her my handbag, removed the non safe items (pain killers etc.) and let her merrily empty it’s contents about. She had great fun, and it kept her happy and amused for a good 20 minutes, while we ate, but then when we had to pack up to leave, I realised that not only had she smashed my favourite lipstick, but had posted my travel card through a slot in the floor, next to the table, and we couldn’t retrieve it. This was when travel cards were paper, and not registered online, so basically, I lost a months worth of travel fare, in one fell swoop. After that, I swore that my children would not play with my handbag, or it’s contents and I have stuck to that, ever since.
I have, on several occasions, had to ask friends to not let their children rummage in my bag, when they have come across it, and have gently extracted my bag, from curious little fingers. It often surprises me, that it is ok to let children ferret about in other peoples possessions. I sometimes feel like a control freak, and of course, if you as a parent, are happy to let your child play with the contents of your bag, then that’s not my problem, but I don’t feel I should have to allow it myself.
I did ask about how people felt about this, on my blog’s Facebook page, and on Facebook, and got mixed responses, some agree with me, that handbags are personal space and off limits, and some admitted they let their children play with their bags. It is of course, a personal choice, and it may be that I am of course, being too strict. I would love to hear what your thoughts are…..?
I’ve also linked this post up with Post, Comment, Love, at Verily Victoria Vocalises. Click on the linky to join in!