Hi Readers — This is not spot-on a Free-Range issue, as far as I can tell, but it sure struck a nerve with me and, it seems, a lot of Canada. A woman and her 20-month-old daughter were riding a bus in Vancouver. The kid kept crying, “No! No! No!” and when the mom couldn’t calm her down, the bus driver ordered them to get out.
The mom protested. She had three bags, a screaming kid and no stroller!
Tough, said the driver. And that was that. Mom and kid were on the curb.
The mom wrote a note to the bus company. The bus company apologized and sent along 4 free tickets — woo hoo. (I imagine if this were in the States they would have sent along a lawyer, too, even as the reality TV producers circled ’round.) Anyway, that might have been the end of it except for the firestorm the indicent ignited. Canadians are now up in arms about the incident and most, I’m sorry to say, side with the bus driver.
I side with the mom not because I enjoy screaming children on my bus ride (or plane ride, or even elevator ride), but because I know that none of us — toddlers, mothers, fathers — are perfect. We break down. We can’t do everything as quickly or quietly as we’d like. We have rotten days and rotten trips and, sometimes just because that’s the way life is, rotten kids. (Okay, not “rotten.” Let’s say…high-maintenance? Rambunctious? LOUD?)
To demand a world where all children are perfectly well behaved — and to assume that we, as parents, can create that world — is enough to make me scream. And keep screaming, “No! No! No! That is not possible!” Then I’d maybe bite somebody’s ankle.
At least till you gave me a cookie. — Lenore