I’m a real believer in the proactive and preventative application of gentle discipline that suggests if you think an environment is going to be unsuitable for your child, simply don’t take them there. It saves so much effort, agony, the repetition of ‘no,no,no’ and distress for both parent and child. However just last week I had to go to the bank and I had no other choice but to take both of my little ones.
We arrived in good spirits. The line was long. Long and slow. So I set about entertaining them – we looked at pictures on the wall, I gave them snacks, we read some books and we waited some more. After a period of continued waiting (maybe 15 minutes) Amarii was understandably agitated and did not want to sit or be held anymore, he just wanted to be set free to run around. Obviously this isn’t the best environment to run around in and also kinda difficult when I have my bag in the line, trying to keep Keeyah in sight and he has an array of things to knock over. I had to hold him.
That’s when the crying started. Thankfully it wasn’t me crying. But his crying was heartbreaking as I know he was really pleading to me ‘Please Mum let’s get the hell outta here, I’ve had enough of this place, it’s boring and I want to free up and have fun like we usually do, pllleeeeeeeaaase!’ A crying baby at home is one thing. A crying baby in a place of business is quite another – every sob seemed to be amplified and I don’t imagine it was pleasant for anyone. I tried my utmost to keep focused only on my kids and not the looks and unspoken opinions of others. I sang songs, walked around showing him more pictures but the struggle continued and the line still seemed very long.
I started to feel disappointed that despite everyone hearing his cries and watching my best efforts to keep two young children calm in a bank, not one person offered to let me go ahead in the queue and not one teller signaled for me to be attended to more quickly. Look, I don’t expect to have a red carpet before my feet every time I show up with my kids but it just would have been nice for the looks of blame,shame, pity and possibly (although I could be imagining it) ‘ you should slap that kid and have him under control’ were instead supportive gestures of ‘ok I can see you’ve got your hands full here why not go ahead of me.’ Would it have troubled anyone to have done that? Probably not. Did anyone do it? Definitely not.
Finally just three people from the front with Amarii struggling fiercely like Houdini trying to escape being bound in chains, I walked ahead of everyone and asked (well kinda stated) the first person if I could go ahead to which she agreed. And honestly I think I should have done this at the outset – what stopped me? – fear of being seen as too pushy, egotistical, unjust?
The bank teller smiled and asked ‘How are you today’ to which I replied ‘Stressed! Why don’t you have an express line for people with children!” Then I relaxed…it was almost all over, I could still smile and have a positive interaction with this person. Amarii was almost content to draw squiggles on an envelope throughout most of the transaction but Keeyah then wanted to be picked up too. The bank clerk did her very best to speed up the process and at last it was done.
Woah what a morning. It got me thinking and I need to say this:
So my request is to anyone reading this (or even those picking up the thought vibration I’m offering into collective consciousness), should you see a Mother with young children who obviously need to be free from the confines of a queue, please give her a break and let her jump the line.