Metro Life

While waiting for the tram to arrive, a four-year-(or thereabouts)-old experiments with the platform seat she's sitting on. The seat's one of those thick plastic rotating rectangles, like a pedal but at bum height (a culal?). It squeaks a bit as she tests its limits. Noises briefly entertaining to an adult but endlessly fascinating to a child.

Mother gets annoyed and tells kid to stop it. The four-year-(or thereabouts)-old continues and mother gets annoyder. "Stop it or I'll make you stand up", she says. Not loudly, not nastily, just tired-and-irritatedly.

I'm not a mother and maybe I don't understand how trying the dear little tykes can get. But the kid's just testing things in her new universe, probing the limits and breaking points of materials (and, obviously, relatives). Isn't this a good thing, something to be encouraged? What's mother so annoyed about? That she thinks her kid may be disturbing others? It surely can't be just the actual fidgetiness can it?

I want to ask, but you can't just go up to people and ask "Er, excuse me but I couldn't  help noticing ... etc". Or maybe you can if you do it in one of those tight-throated nerdy Mr Pooter voices. I'm sure I'd just get arrested.

I worry - though it's absolutely none of my business - that children are learning very early lessons, even before they get to school, that playing with things (those things not properly so-designated for purpose) and seeing what they do is not the sort of thing a decently brought up person does.

Posted via email from fantabrug