Monday, 26 January 2009

Pram Rage

We happened to be in Cambridge yesterday. A friend of Sarah's was giving a recital at the Fitzwilliam museum so we were able to swell the audience by a total of four (ok, three-and-a-half - Charlie was asleep in his pushchair) and give Sally the chance to see some mummies. (She's got a thing about Ancient Egypt ever since doing it as a project in Year 4!) Actually make that two, plus a half for Charlie (sleeping) and and half me as I missed the first few items while standing watching perfectly fit and healthy (not to mention, pushchair free) members of the Cambridge public whooshing up and down in the Fitzwilliam's teeny-tiny version of the Great Glass Elevator.
If there is one thing about looking after Charlie guaranteed to p*** me off, it's this. And people who insist on sweeping through the automatic doors in shops, despite being in possession of two perfectly formed and fully-functioning arms and having neither of them encumbered by either bags of heavy shopping, fractious children, or else both. Oh, and people who stop suddenly in front of pushchairs without warning (there's usually a mobile phone involved) forcing us to take emergency action or else risk badly injuring them. (Believe me, I have been tempted!).
I was impressed in London recently by two cockney women on the bus who actually moved seats to accommodate Sarah and the pushchair (and were the very epitome of friendliness - I thought it was us here 'oop north' who had the monopoly on that?). And there are kind and helpful people who will open doors instead of seeing you struggle to gain entry backwards. I know, too, that a pushchair can be awkward, and is capable of being used as an offensive weapon. But it's not Charlie's fault he can't walk down the street yet, and I'd rather not be pushed into the gutter by a couple walking two-abreast, continuing a very earnest conversation that cannot be interrupted for a second. Forget grumpy old men/women, grumpy old parents might make more entertaining television. In fact, I think I might suggest it the the beeb. And I've got plenty of material to get them started!

26 comments:

  1. It's not easy with a pushchair is it! I was very tempted very often to ram into someone's ankles whilst out shopping but I expect they were tempted to ram into mine!!

    CJ xx

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  2. Great idea...compelling TV. Now are you sure those were really cockney women...it just never happens - so a moment to be treasured! Of course, there are the people who shouldn't be left in charge of a pram - you know the ones who push it out into fast moving traffic as they wait to cross the road, the ones that stand chatting with their push chair across the pavement, blocking the way...and so on.

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  3. Well, I didn't enquire as to the audibele proximity of Bow bells, NB - but they seemed the real deal to me, nah what ah mean? Oh, that's pathetic! But, you know, they were 'cockney' in a 'lord luvva duck' or 'knees up muvva brown' kind of way. And lovely, both of them.

    I'm useless at pram-pushing, to be honest CJ. Sarah can sut a swathe through any crowd, but as a man I seem to have to be the one doing all the dodging. Oh well...

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  4. Gawd, I remember those pushchair days - blinkin' pain isn't it? People treat them as if they just weren't there ... and they are there! They have little people in them!! x

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  5. And then the little people become big people, have little people of their own and push pushchairs. It's hardly unusual, is it? And yet you should see the look of astonishment I sometimes get when I'm out with Charlie in the pushchair. Mind you, most people expect me to be pushing him!

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  6. Were the cockney's wearing their pearly outfits?
    Sx

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  7. "Mind you, most people expect me to be pushing him!"

    Ho, ho.

    I think you should custom-make your pushchair à la James Bond and add 10inch, razor-sharp blades to the wheels (the pavement will be all yours) and perhaps a light machinegun for really troublesome pedestrians.

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  8. I always found it was the little old ladies who used to rush to help get push chir and kiddywinks on/off busses and trains, while hearty males tended to turn up their noses. Cheers for being a male on my side of the fence. Have a putty medal!

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  9. Not as far as I could tell, Scarlett. Nor were they singing 'Boiled Beef and Carrots' (although, for all I know they were going home to some).

    Oh, I like it DD. Really like it. Perhaps 'Q' Could invent something?

    Thanks, Jinksy!

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  10. I so agree, people can be really inconsiderate to the parent population, you know the tutting or eye rolling when your baby cries or my pet peeve, parking in parent and child spaces.

    I always find it amazing that there are a number of dads(sorry Tim but they usually are men) that push the buggy one handedly, whit's that aw aboot ????

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  11. Babywearer here, but believe me it comes with its own share of problems. People think it's perfectly fine to come up to you and accuse you of not dressing your baby warmly enough (when he is roasty toasty warm) because he doesn't have a big coat on... and more.

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  12. Pushing a pram around gave me a much better appreciation for how people in wheelchairs manage. Here, we have sloping curbs at junction, which make anything on wheels a lot easier - except that people park there "for two minutes" meaning that wheels can't get across the road at all. I've seen me walk half way down the street looking for a gap betweem cars to cross a road. Grrr.

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  13. Ramming ankles with a pram is perfectly legal and acceptable behaviour if the ankles in question belong to a person chatting on a mobile phone in the middle of an aisle/pavement/doorway.

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  14. I had the opposite experience in London, no one would give up their seat on the tube, even though I was holding Max, then 2, asleep in my arms, with bags.

    However, the friend I was visiting, pointed out on our last visit that there has been a respect/courtesy campaign run on the public transport, to get politeness back.

    Perhaps it's working.

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  15. Hello D. good post. very relevant.

    No, its a misconception about London. When I took (then) baby daughter to St Katherines Dock to see my old work mates, quite a lot of "city types" helped me with the pushchair. You know the type, the cold uncaring looking ones. They said more or less than their own wives go throug this. I used to think the same as you that Northerners had the monopoly on this.

    However, in bloody Richmond or thereabouts, they are just vile with things like that. And they glare at a pushchair like its the enemy.

    Hounslow is lovely tho'. The large community of Asian people are really nice and helpful when you have a small child.

    Hope you had a good day despite this. Haven't been to Cambridge for a long time - its a beautiful place. xxxx

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  16. I'm so glad I'm passed the pushchair stage!I do always try to hold open dorrs and stuff though! Perfect idea for a grumpy programme!

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  17. Having been there, done that, (and been brought up with 'manners maketh the man' ringing in my ears) I always hold doors open but have you noticed the difference betwen those you are holding it for. Some are gushingly grateful while others just run over your toes and don't even acknowledge you did it. Now, they really p*** me off....

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  18. So glad to be past the pushchair stage - but I do feel for you. I like the sound of grumpy old parents, although I would fear the backlash on my children after their behaviour this weekend (less said the better!)

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  19. and how about the long stairways leading down to the Tube? When my kids were in pushchairs, the Tube was a nightmare. But sometimes people would stop and help and it always saved my day. I try to do the same now whenever i see someone struggling with carrying their most precious cargo down a crowded, steep stairway. Shades of Potemkin :-(

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  20. They've usually got a phone in the other hand, AG. Personally, I don't know how they manage - buggies steer like shopping trolleys and sometimes even two hands isn't enough!

    Funnily enough, we do that too Ruth - at least on rough ground. It was either that or get an all-terrain type pushchair, but then that looks so out of place on town pavements - like a 4x4 in town.

    Oh I could add drivers to the list, Expat. Strangely, many of the most inconsiderate (for a pushchair user) seem to be other parents, parking as near as they can possibly get to Sally's school.

    Can I use that as my defence in court, Home Office Mum?

    Amazing, SPD. I had no idea there'd been any sort of campaign - we could do with one round here!

    As you say, Jenny, it doesn't seem to matter where you are - south, north etc - there are those that do, and those that don't.

    I'll make sure you're on the guest list, Sub!

    And you too, Scriptor.

    Oh dear, Catherine. Was it that bad?

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  21. I agree with you on the grumpy parents. We have two widowed mothers who will be 90 this year. I know they are not quite what you had in mind but they are grumpy old parents. And it is more bath chair and walking stick rage than pram range when they get to that age.

    By the way I have tagged you.

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  22. The bank I used when my first son was born had a really heavy door along with 2 steps to contend with. The number of times I struggled alone while people watched and waited! I really don't think you appreciate how difficult it is with a pushchair until you've had to do it, and people seem to so easily forget again!

    Glad to be pushchair free these days although they are useful for heavy shopping bags!

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  23. I used to think that being in charge of a pushchair must be like being in charge of a tank... but since having a little one it makes you very aware of how vulnerable they are and how inconsiderate the people around you are.

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  24. I KNOW!!!! Am spluttering with recognition! Before I had children, I always, always, always helped people with prams - opening doors, helping to lift them up steps etc. I cannot BELIEVE how mean people are. It's v different in Canada, apparently - very child-friendly culture and people bend over backwards to help and make kids welcome. Sounds HEAVENLY!!!

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  25. Absolutely agree The Dotterel. Usually I try to keep the door open with my foot whilst trying to get pram through. Thankfully more often than not people usually rush to my rescue.

    The worst thing is when I hold open a door for people and then ten million go through without an afterthought!

    PS: Have got some great ancient Egypt pics. Maybe I should blog more about that...just for Sally :)

    Will keep it in mind. (I feel more refreshed already...)

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  26. Having lived down south and up north, I must say that although the northerners are friendlier in general, once they get to know you...

    They aren't 'off the bat'but aftera while, very friendly...
    southerners of which i am one...are friendly up front, they one day you can disappear foft heir radar without knowing why...more dog eat dog...probably because of the difference in mindset, speed of life etc...

    but I AM generalising of course...so don't anyone lynch me!

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