Dear Lady At The Supermarket,
Yes, you will be on the receiving end of my grizzly mama bear side protecting her cub. You see, no one asked you for your opinion on her behaviour! You know not me nor my daughter. You do not know that she has been in this supermarket with parents who have taken their time dawdling over stuff they find interesting. You do not know that she is worn out and hungry. You do not know that for 17 months old she has, to this point, been very patient with her mummy and daddy as they saunter round the supermarket. All you see is this current screaming ball of emotions, and you feel you can assess the situation fully and pass judgement on my child. I hope you have learned a lesson, and next time you see a toddler in this state you will know to keep your opinions to yourself. Next time you see a child and feel tempted to call it naughty because it is currently screaming and pitching a fit, I hope you will remember my words back to you and will catch yourself before such nasty words fall off your tongue to complete strangers. I hope you will look beyond the screaming and have some sympathy for the child. But if nothing else, I hope you remember your opinions are unwanted and unhelpful, so if you have nothing nice to say about my child or anyone else’s in a similar situation, just keep your lips firmly sealed and move on!
And I hope this letter serves as a reminder for us all, myself included, that we need to stop labelling children, look beyond the emotions and the behaviour manifested and find the root cause. That is what needs dealing with. We need to spare some sympathy for the child who is fully dependent on his/her parents to meet all needs. We need to be understanding that they have yet developed their will enough to be able to control their emotions all the time (and hey, how many adults do this with a 100% pass record 100% of the time and we have many more years on the child!) this is still a work in progress. We need to realise they have yet to acquire all the words they need to fully express why they are so upset. So instead of allowing vile words to tumble blithely from our lips, instead let’s spread kind ones or share a kind look with both child and parent.
One Disgruntled Mama