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All Aboard The Judgement Bus // Should I Be Asking My 16 Month Old To Be Quiet?

IMG_5824.JPGOne of the best things about writing a blog is having a platform to vent when things wind you up in your day to day life. And that is exactly what I have come her to do tonight; so, if you’re in the mood for a rant grab yourself a cuppa and get stuck in and if you’re not, then I suggest you click away now.

Here we go; bus rant.

Darcie and I get the bus on a very regular basis; I’m not yet a confident driver and to be honest even if I was it is just often a convenient and an easy way to get us about. More importantly, Darcie loves the bus! I think that even when I am driving, she will probably be asking for bus rides anyway. So, this morning we set off to the post office on the bus, and then once I had collected my parcel we got back on and carried on into town. I was hoping she would nap at some point on our outing so that I could have a look around the shops and then take her to the park when she woke up. Of course, she had different ideas and what ensued was a very stressful few hours of her grizzling in the pram (which she hates even on the best of days) and me trying not to rip my hair out or just abandon the pram and The Grizzler in the middle of West Quay (joking, obvs!).

A couple of hours, two Yum Yums and a packet of crisps later (I know, who nominated me for Mum of the Year Award?!), I gave up and got us back on the bus so that I could release the toddler to run around and be the loon she wanted to be in the comfort and safety of my own home. As soon as we got on the bus, she cheered up immediately. She was having the best time standing on my lap, looking out the window and cheering at all the passersby. She has a game that she loves to play where she crouches down and then springs back up again usually shouting ‘Oooh!’ or ‘Ahh!’ as she does it. She was also laughing and playing Peek-A-Boo with a lovely lady on the bus and after the morning we had had together, I was just relieved that she was happy again.

Then I noticed the man opposite us, start to ‘Shh’ her and put his fingers to his lips. At first I thought it was a game he was playing with her, she clearly thought the same and gleefully joined in putting her hand to her mouth and joyfully hissing back at him. This went on for a few minutes and then he stopped and she went back to her other raucous games. She was being particularly loud but it was all happy noises and everyone around us seemed to be looking at her and smiling, so I thought nothing of it. It was only when a lady started asking me how old Darcie was and generally making chit chat that the man chimed in with ‘I do like kids, but I do think it’s important that they learn to be quiet’ and gave me a pointed look. This took me back a bit. It had never occurred to me that my daughter’s happy squeals and giggles could bring anything but delight to those around us! The other lady and a couple of other people piped up at this point saying how lovely she is and how ‘kids will be kids’, ‘as long as they’re happy that’s the main thing’.

He wasn’t deliberately being nasty, he was just giving his opinion. And fair enough, if you’ve had a long or stressful day, you might just want a bit of peace and quiet on the bus. That’s a feeling I definitely know! But what I’m still unsure of is; should I have been trying to get her to be quieter? And more to the point, how do you get a 16 months old to be quiet?

The more I think about it, I don’t think that it is reasonable to expect an excited toddler to be seen and not heard, especially when she’d had a miserable morning and was finally enjoying herself. He didn’t know the whole story, he didn’t know her or me and as far as I’m concerned, that means he didn’t really need to comment. Why are some people so intent on sucking the joy out of life? Darcie is too young to understand what he said and what he meant, but if she had been a bit older I hope that she wouldn’t have let it stop her from having fun. I certainly made no effort to calm her down or get her to be quiet, we just carried on the same as before. I am of course trying to teach Darcie to be respectful of those around us, but at 16 months I think it’s a big ask to have grasped it already.

My daughter loves life and finds joy in the tiniest of things; I won’t be the person to stamp that out of her and I won’t let miserable bus man do it either.

Even Darcie picked up on the fact that this man didn’t want to join in with her games anymore and so spent the rest of the journey smugly waving at him and saying ‘bye bye bye bye bye’ to him while he avoided making eye contact with either of us.

You tell him girl!

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