Pol­ly­ism of the week

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Advice -

With hun­dreds of strap­ping lads liv­ing in my house (well, four, but it seems like an army), we go through litres upon litres of milk.

Oh, how I wish it were like back in the day when I was a wee girl and milk was four cents a pint. How cray-cray, right? Four cents a pint! The whole coun­try went nuts when it went up to 20 cents a litre. It was like high trea­son.

Now I look for the cheap­est milk I can get and so I re­cently headed to a bud­get-style su­per­mar­ket to buy a few litres of the liq­uid white gold. It was while I was walk­ing down the dairy aisle that I be­gan to hear yelling and swear­ing as two young women in their 20s pushed a small child in their shop­ping trol­ley.

He must have been about one year old, the same age as my dar­ling Roseanna. He had tears stream­ing down his face and his lit­tle chest was heav­ing. Th­ese two women were yelling and swear­ing at him.

It wasn’t that yell a lot of tired mums get when it’s the fi­nal straw af­ter a crazy day of drop-offs, pick-ups and swim­ming lessons, and the kids are run­ning wild down the bis­cuit aisle. No, this was abu­sive, nasty yelling – swear­ing at a baby who looked tired, hun­gry, up­set and con­fused.

I stopped dead in my tracks and the heat in my body started to rise. I could hear my heart thump­ing in my ears, and tears of anger, sad­ness and hor­ror all mix­ing up and threat­en­ing to spill down my cheeks.

I wanted to grab the baby and run. I wanted to steal a lit­tle boy and make a cit­i­zen’s in­ter­ven­tion. In my heart, I wanted to run at the women and, like Su­per­man or Won­der Woman, pick them up by the scruff of their necks, toss­ing them like rag dolls into the frozen vegetable freez­ers.

Of course, vi­o­lence and abuse are not the answer, but I do, on oc­ca­sion, al­low my­self vi­o­lent su­per­power vig­i­lante fan­tasies. In­stead I shook my head, bit my lip, and left the su­per­mar­ket with my milk and half a pump­kin. I prac­ti­cally ran to my car and col­lapsed in the seat, then I be­gan to cry. What hope does that wee kid have? Who on earth swears and ver­bally abuses a baby? What has hap­pened to 20-cent milk and safe homes for all chil­dren?

As I drove home, I cried again (it’s a very emo­tional time of the month!) as I thought about my daugh­ter and what a won­der­ful young mummy she is. Kather­ine is do­ing the very best at the most im­por­tant job of all.

Sure, she may not have a lot of money and her part­ner works long hours to look af­ter his girls, but they are kind, warm, lov­ing par­ents bring­ing up a child who will hope­fully only ever know un­con­di­tional love and will lis­ten to her par­ents when they teach her man­ners. I’m sure she will push them. God only knows Kather­ine was quite the lit­tle tyrant, but as I drove home, I felt both grate­ful and proud that there will be no vi­o­lence or abuse in this big, old home of ours.

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