Thursday, May 28, 2009

white rabbit

The moment one gives birth one slips swiftly, silently and almost imperceptably Through The Looking Glass and an entirly new world is revealed beneath the surface of the old one.

It's like one of those magic pictures one might have found in a 70s comic book where you put a piece of coloured cellophane over the top and a completely different picture emerges. What was once a high street populated by shoe shops becomes overnight a street full of children's clothing shops. Cafes one has never noticed are suddenly hot on the destination list because of their toy box.

Anyway I realised the bleeding bloody obvious today when I was nearly late to pick up the spud from nursery which is that most of the people I used to work with who jacked off home early were not simply slackers, they were probably just trying to avoid late fees at their nursery.

Today, once again the penultimate parent, I noticed as I beetled out having signed the forms and dutifully admired the spud's home-made frankenlolly, that the streets at that hour are actually thronged with harried parents either struggling home with over-excited offspring or checking their watches. Parents who usually stop in the street to natter wave their wrists at me and shout as they rush past 'gotta run or we'll get a fine'; it's ten to six and a significant percentage of the parental universe is running late.

Sometimes I think that before I had Charlie I was completely and utterly insensate - and now I feel like one of the invisibles. I saw a Mum on the tube today with two small children and it was amazing how many people simply didn't bother to offer them a seat. On the bus a three year old was separated from her Mother by a woman carrying a plastic bag. The child was crying for her Mum and the Mum was right in front of the woman trying to calm the child down. What did the woman do? Wipe her nose with the hand carrying the bag and whack the kid in the face. Then put her hand back down and continue to stand in the way.

Anyway, so this is my apology, I guess, to all my friends who had kids before me. I just never noticed. Now, I think I want to be more visible. Red Queen outfit, perhaps?


Nicola said...

I totally relate to this post - and would also like to apologise to all family members, colleagues and dearest friends who had children before I had mine...because I had NO IDEA. Thank you for putting it into words.

Helen + ilana = Hi said...


And you'd look ab fab in a red queen outfit. Do send pix please.
morsles - little bites of wisdom you get from yer kids.

Michelle said...

Sparx, please wear a crown with that red outfit, too! I completely agree with you as to the state of oblivion others are in because they haven't been there yet. Great post!

DJ Kirkby said...

OMG this post mad me feel very sad 'cos it is all so true but you've gotta have a kid to 'get it'. Shame.

Lola said...

I DO sympathise, I really do, but what makes me mad on buses and the tube is to see two seats taken up by under-fives, wriggling and kicking their feet or standing on the seat, while older people stand. When I was young, we were taught that adults sit and children either stand or sit on a parent's lap. When I give up my seat, I want to see the parent sitting down, not the child!

Anonymous said...

They have late fees? My word, that is advanced. Here, if you come late, they call child protective services. If only I were joking. (Of course, if you call first and tell them why you can't come on time it's ok).

'Tis sad but true. I wish people would look at children, not as annoying little buggers, but as the small humans they are, not having yet learned the ropes. And then realize - they're all teaching them the ropes.

Jen said...

So true! Although at the time, I thought I was a good teacher, I now realize that since I didn't have children, there was so much I didn't understand.

Sparx said...

Nicola - glad it's not just me - it is amazing what I didn't notice before though.

Helen - you mad person.

Michelle - wonder why though? It's crazy.

DJ, I know - and if I'd known before I might have been keener to have kids earlier.

Lola - I know what you mean but I think there's an age thing - under 4's should definitely sit down as they fall easily and can get stepped on pushed over easily. But the elderly should get seats over kids, definitely.

Jennie - they call social services here too if you don't call and you are significantly late. The fees are just to stop people calling and then leaving their kids an extra half an hour on a regular basis apparently!

Jen - yes, I do think that teachers and childminders understand things a little more if they've had kids.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

I wish I could apologize to my friends with kids before me too. Man, people can be so insensitive and cruel and completely ignore my son well as me. It's like "Crap. There is some woman with her kid. I don't have time for this...get out of my way." Either that or they barely even register there is a child there, at their feet, being stepped on while they reach for another bottle of soda and a few thousand bags of chips for their party that night.

Sparx said...

Lisa - I know, we just disappear into the great mass of parenthood, hey?