The other day I took the twins to MovieWorld after our Special Needs Playgroup morning. I thought hey, a bit of sensory overload for all 3 of us can’t hurt?!
I queued up with them, stayed with Mikey guiding him with his social queues, we moved along, waiting again for the other kids to disembark before he could go on, we then lined up again – it was a tedious process for anyone! I plugged them both in. I knew I was looking like the ultimate Helicopter Mum that day, because Mikey didn’t have his boot on, and quite simply when he doesn’t have his boot on we actually get stared at a lot! I’m fine with being the Helicopter Mum because sometimes the things you fear the most is actually what you need to become and you just have to get on with it!
At the end of the ride, the lovely young assistant unplugged all the kids but as with most things, Mikey’s hemi-leg got caught on the bar and he was stuck. I was on the other side of the barrier. I asked her if she could please assist him… she looked at me very apologetically and said ‘I’m so sorry, but I’m not allowed to touch the children’. She let me in and I thanked her and unhooked Mikey. As I was leaving, I asked when did the rules change – as we’ve been here before and I thought they were able to assist. She apologised again and said ‘I’m quite new, just a few months in, but I’ve been told I must not touch the children’. She then looked at me with that knowing look and continued “I am actually a nurse in training and I see children like your little boy all the time that desperately need a bit of help when the parents are just out of reach and it’s so frustrating because I can’t help them in this job”.
I was gobsmacked. What a ridiculous ‘rule’ to have at a children’s theme park in the small children’s area. I must have missed the memo on that one.
I understand there are certain protocols to follow blah blah blah, but a children’s theme park – where the child is stuck? What else happens when we are out and people are in fear to assist? When you drop a bag of shopping with your screaming twins and people just stare? When people see you park in a disabled spot and get out with your young child and put them in a super-sized pram and continue to stare, then abuse you for taking the spot? (Despite having a sticker on the window!) Some of it is rude, some of it is ignorance but most of all, it’s just plain commonsense gone out the window.
I really hope that with the terrible tragedy of the Gorilla incident this week, something comes from it all. Not just watch your kids, but look out for your fellow human too. Who else saw the 4 year old child climb into the pen? And before people retort – ‘they were watching their own kids!’ I call bullshit on that. That could have easily have been Mikey – despite his hemiplegia, the boy loves to climb! I have two little 4 year olds, I know how fast they move! It’s a terrible accident and 2 innocent victims – the gorilla that lost his life and the child who was just being, well a kid! What type of zoo makes an enclosure that a small child can climb the fence. We all know it’s a zoo with caged endangered animals – put some barbwire up the top – it is what it is – we all know it’s not the natural environment of the animals – don’t treat us like idiots, some people pay a lot of money to take their kids to the zoo.
Anyway, again I’ve gone from one thing to another… but all I’m saying is that if you see a young kid in public doing something they are not supposed to, instead of thinking “where are the parents and tut-tutting” – yell out to the kid and ask them “where are your parents?”. No one is being wrestled to the ground, you are only drawing attention to a child that could potentially hurt themselves or someone else. No one is going to abuse you for looking out for the safety of their child, even if they are rude about it and ungrateful, so what – if that’s how bad it can get, then does it really matter – a little shout out?! That one second of distraction could make a big lot of difference in that one moment.
It’s not a big deal, it’s just common sense, I think???