Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Judge Loth: I am the Law

One of my (many) character flaws is a slight tendency to be just a wee tiny teensy bit judgmental. I might not voice my condemnation out loud (I am judgmental, not stupid) but I will surely be thinking it. I try hard to curb this trait seeing as how it is (a) unpleasant, (b) hypocritical and (c) likely to get me a good kicking if I open my mouth at the wrong time.

One of the things that brings out my judge-y holier-than-thou tendencies is parenting. Other people's parenting, obviously, since I am clearly perfect in that respect. As well as being a 5'10 size 8 platinum blonde with an IQ of 195. Ahem. Anyway, I am acutely aware that the one thing you really really really should not get all preachy about is the issue of how other people raise their kids. I do not doubt that my own lax attitude to things like tidiness, access to DVDs of old episodes of Red Dwarf and the consumption of fresh vegetables would constitute neglect verging on child abuse to some folks, whereas my strict views on bedtimes and lack of TV sets in bedrooms would be viewed as Victorian, verging on fascist, by others. My kids, my decision and I try hard to apply the same rule to others.

I try. I really do. But usually sometimes I fail. Like yesterday on the bus home. I was on the top deck of the bus and two or three seats in front of me was a little girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old, and her mum, who to my jaded eye looked about 15 but who was probably early twenties. The little girl was a fizzy, fun ball of blonde hair and excitment at being ON THE BUS!!!! Mum was busy texting. [Not judging, not judging.]

Little girl was showing her "baby" (the alarmingly lifelike doll she had with her) to everyone and was showing baby the sights of Edinburgh out the window. Mum was texting. [Not judging, not judging, she has probably had the monologue from the child since before dawn.]

Little girl starts to sing "The Wheels on the bus" (the other passengers visibly melt at the cuteness) and asks mum to help with the words. Mum is texting. [Not judgi.....well maybe just a bit.......no. NO. Not judging.]

Little girl decides to stand up on the seat of the swaying, rocky, constantly moving double decker bus so she can see out of the window whilst singing and holding baby. Standing. On a seat. With nothing to hold on to. Mum says "Gonnae sit nice?" Little girl ignores her and stays standing on seat. Mum carries on texting. [OK, starting to feel a wee bit judgy round the edges....]

Little girl carries on singing etc whilst still standing up on the seat (if you have ever actually been on the top deck of an Edinburgh bus, you are cringing now. You generally need at least three hands with which to hold on to the rails if you want to avoid being flung through the front windscreen). I am cringing, visualising the precise part of the metal rail along the seat right in front of her that the little girl's face will hit if when the bus driver slams the brakes on. Mum says "Gonnae sit nice?" again. Twice. And still does nothing when the little girl continues to ignore her. Other than texting, obviously.

Five......four.......three......two......one......JUDGING!!!! JUDGINGJUDGINGJUDGINGJUDGINGJUDGING!!! And I am still in full-on preachy mode in my head when I get off the bus and walk home. And not just because in my head I can imagine the legal claim Mum will probably try to make against the bus company blaming the driver when Little Girl eventually does fall and smash her teeth out on the seat in front. Gah.

PS Go and read XUP's comment on my last post. I cried laughing and felt guilty for doing so the entire time!


  1. Damn, I read the comment and cringed within myself. Now go and read my post on free range parenting (of which this double decker mother was obviously a subscriber)

  2. I actually, physically cringed.

    I see a lot of that kind of thing here, in Galway. I see a lot more of it here than I did in Canada, too.

    ...I'm getting the heck out of this country before I have kids.

  3. Well of course, I don't judge. As a step dad of eight months, I know it all now, oh yes.

    However, I do tend to see them as clients with attachment and intimacy issues twenty years later.