Thursday, 19 March 2009

Am I neurotic?

A strange thing happened to me yesterday which has made me question whether I am slightly more neurotic than I originally thought. I have to say I don't think I'm neurotic at all - I let my children walk around the house eating food and don't mind clearing up mess (but now I'm sounding more like Slummy Mummy). Ok, so I let my children ride bikes and don't panic about them falling off, or I let them climb climbing frames in playgrounds and feel relaxed about it. That's what I mean about not being neurotic. But after yesterday's incident, I am beginning to doubt myself. So I need someone to tell me that I did the right thing, although in simply asking the question maybe it confirms what I don't want. Let me explain.

As I was leaving Renée's swimming lesson yesterday I noticed a little boy, around three years of age (I am basing this guesstimation on the fact that he was slightly older than Edie, but nearer Edie's age than Renée's). He was starting to climb along the edge of a wall whilst his Mother (or the person I assumed to be his Mother) was engaged in chit chat with another Mother and her children. As I loaded Renée into the car I kept my eye on the little boy who seemed to be edging further and further along the wall. And although the beginning of the wall was low enough for him to climb on, the furthest part was at least ten feet off the ground and directly below, nothing but concrete. Now I know for a fact that I wouldn't have wanted my youngest child walking along the ledge, nor even my eldest child, or my very capable husband for that matter. In brief, the wall was extremely high for anyone, especially a little boy, who, had he fallen, would have done himself more than a great deal of damage.

I stood for a while, hoping that his Mother would turn around, realise he was gone, and when she did, run straight to his rescue. But she didn't. She continued her chat, all the while with her back to the child, oblivious to his increasing danger. I meanwhile, was left wondering what to do. Should I alert her to the fact that her child was in danger? Or should I forget about it, climb into my car and drive off? For a while I kept watching, urging his Mother to turn around. Still no joy. And then a wobble from the little boy and my heart almost jumped out of my body. Now I really had to say something.

'Excuse me'. I shrieked (this was truly scary stuff, believe me). 'Do any of you have a little boy with a red jumper? Well, he's just about to fall off a really high wall over here.' There, I'd said it. I could no longer be held responsible for any hideous accidents. I expected the Mother to run to her child, and if not exactly catch him as he fell, at least reach up for him and guide him down and cover him with kisses in a warm motherly embrace, grateful that disaster had been averted just in time. But maybe that's just me. Because that's not at all what happened.

Instead, she turned around, without moving her body, just her head. And she looked at me, somewhat frostily I might add, and said 'Yeah, I know. He does that every week.' And then she turned back to her friend and carried on chatting. There was no 'Thankyou for saving my child.' Ok, so maybe that's a little over the top since he didn't actually fall. But if that had been me, I would at least have said 'Thanks. Yep, he's mine. And I know it looks ridiculously dangerous, but he somehow manages it every week and I'm not worried about him, but thanks for letting me know.' But then, I would never have let my child climb along such a high wall in the first place. Or maybe that's just me...

12 comments:

  1. You are not neurotic, I would def have done the same thing. If he falls off in the future she will probably sue the council for building such a high wall with concrete below!!! Claire

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  2. I really think you did the right thing...
    I would be very thankful if someone would flag a dangerous situation taking place with my children.
    Well done for caring...

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  3. I think you definitely did the right thing. If that child had fallen you in front of you, you would never have forgiven yourself. You did your bit and that's all that matters. We are told time and time again never to walk by when we see a child in danger but with parents like his, I'm not surprised that people often do.

    Well done you for speaking up. I would have done exactly the same.

    CJ xx

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  4. You had to say something, if not for her, for yourself. If the little boy had fallen and you'd said nothing you would have felt awful, worse than if you'd said something. I must say that I really admire people able to do this. I wouldn't be able to sit turning my back, I would have to watch all his moves. But I guess that if she is used to it and knows how agile... I used to be really scared when Elliott learned to walk and bumped into everything and now I find myself more relaxed, but still... He is training for a jackass competition so I am a real nervous wreck when we are out, but I will get better I am sure... or at least I hope! Well done for saying something anyway :)

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  5. Well done you, I like to think I would have done the same - lovely blog btw x

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  6. Stupid woman, that's all I can say! And well done for trying to make her see sense.

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  7. OMG I've just realised you are from Brighton! Grew up in Hove and lived in Brighton when married for several years. Ahhh the Lanes, the sea....

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  8. ...the pebbly beaches, the dog poo... No I love it really! It's great down here. Come back...

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  9. We all would have done the same thing, except for Strange Woman, oh dear....Good to find you MH

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  10. Thanks for all your coments...yep would still do it all over again I think...

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  11. I once saw the two kids of a neighbour trying to cross a difficult road after getting off the school bus. I assumed there was some reason why she hadn't been able to meet them, so rushed over and helped them to cross. Turned out that she never met them, and thought they were old enough to walk home on their own (admittedly only two minutes walk, but involving this scary junction). They were 5 and 6 at the time. I decided I couldn't possibly take responsibility for meeting them every afternoon - in any case I wasn't usually around at that time, as I was meeting my own kids elsewhere. But it did worry me.

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  12. It's much more stressful to see other people's children in difficult situations because you don't know what they're capable of. I remember years ago before I had children I was a Nanny - and I took the children I looked after to the playground. I had no idea if they were capable of climbing the climbing frames so I stood underneath ready to catch them. It was exhausting. With my own children I know what they can and can't do so it's slightly more relaxing (but only slightly)!

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