Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pushchair Paranoia


This is my final day nursing Tom through his chickenpox before Karen takes over tomorrow and I have to say, as tiring as it's been, I have loved every minute of it. To spend so much quality time with a child is difficult for any parent these days but especially, I think, for a father. Tom has been great company - very affectionate and always ready for a giggle - and I shall really miss him when I return to work tomorrow.

One thing I have noticed during this period of close, sustained contact is how protective I am of him. I can recall one of my friends telling me years ago that it matters not if you're a shrinking violet - as soon as you have kids you become a lioness (or a lion in my case) on their behalf. And it's bloody true, I can tell you.

But while taking him out for walks in his pushchair over the last few days I've been amazed at the strength of my own reactions. I'm not entirely sure if they've been the result of fiercely proud lion-like protectiveness or just down and out paranoia.

I find myself constantly on the look-out for dangers.

When we pass one of Leamington's many meandering drunks I am instantly at the ready to whip the pushchair out of his reach and hoof his gonads to the other side of the road should he ever attempt to lay a single beer stained finger on my son. In fact just slurring the words "I fugin luv you, I do" would do it.

Idiots riding their bicycles on the pavement make my hackles rise. Especially when they pass so close you can barely fit an empty envelope between us. What if they mis-timed it? Had an accident? Careered into the pushchair? I think I'd kill them or at the very least park their bicycle some place so deep and moist a medical expert would have to be flown in from Europe to remove it.

And just for the sake of equality, people who cut us up with their mobility scooters also earn my wrath. Why are they allowed to travel at 20mph on a pavement when cyclists are quite rightly castigated? Those scooters are built like tanks these days and could do a lot of damage to a small body.

Scaffolding and ladders are other things to be avoided. At all costs. There was a story last year of a chunk of masonry falling off a building in Leamington and narrowly missing a mother and pram. I'm constantly alert to the dangers of falling objects. Can I get NASA on my mobile to warn me of potential meteor threats?

And as for cars... Geez. There's always that fleeting worry of someone fouling up their steering manoeuvre because they're (a) on their mobile phone, (b) on their partner's naughty bits or (c) on their way to hospital with an imminent cardiac arrest. You just can't trust them.

I'm currently mentally drafting a letter to the PM demanding that sirens be sounded 5 minutes before Tom and I leave the house in order that the streets can be cleared of all vehicles and pedestrians and the Star Wars defence system can be directed to monitor meteor incursions from space or rogue missile launches from the East.

If this inconveniences anybody I'm sorry. It's just tough.

Tom needs some chocolate buttons. It's important.

Or do you think I am over-reacting?


Anonymous said...

haha you are funny.

I'm glad you've enjoyed your time off despite the Bobinogs or whatever they are called.

The most dangerous hazards are those kindly souls who lean over the pram with their noses streaming, coughing and spluttering all over your darling child and telling him how cute he is, passing on their viruses and lurgies.

MommyHeadache said...

While I appreciate the havoc that pensioners cause on their out of control motorised scooters, the threat of pensioner violence is much worse here.

This is not a joke: a US gun company has made a pistol for the elderly called a Palm Pistol - a device on which you just press a button and hey presto you've fired a gun. It's for people with arthritis or other disabling conditions who have trouble squeezing the trigger on a normal firearm!!!

Steve said...

Damn, I forgot the threat of chemical warfare, Gina - I better add that to my hitlist. I'm hoping the PM will take it seriously enough to redirect some of MI5's funding to this urgent cause...! ;-)

Emma, that is truly frightening. I await the day that an innocent passerby is gunned down by an OAP suffering from dementia, arthritis and parkinson's disease... the victim's body shot repeatedly... the gunman not understanding a word that anyone is saying and complaining that his colostomy bag is full and aren't the nurses looking younger and more butch these days...

Tristan said...

Considering the general ill health of the entire Blake family (illnesses do form a major part of your blog content), I think you shouldn't be taking Tom out at all - isn't it time for you all to go in some kind sterile bio-hazard isolation chamber?

Steve said...

Tris: are you selling one on eBay?

Woollyholic said...

LOL! It's not just me then!

People with dogs are one of my biggest fears (whether they are on a lead or not), along with freaky old people who get rather to close for my liking. It's when they start touching the kids that I get super twitchy. Ruffling hair, touching rosy cheeks etc. Get off smelly old person! And you are so right about those mobility scooter things. They should have to pass a test before being allowed in charge of one of those!

Anonymous said...

a funny post but one that does reveal a genuine alarm or fear about the well being of our children that I don't think ever leaves you.....even when they are 24 and 18 and out in the world!...but you do learn that worry is like a rocking can ride it all night and it won't get you anywhere...

Steve said...

MG, the fact that mobility scooters seem to be unregulated is a source of constant wonder and worry to me and I'm just waiting for the first pedestrian fatality to occur... And yes, I hate strange people thinking they can touch my kid. He might only be 18 months old but even he has the right to personal space!

Deirdre, what a fabulous analogy. I shall remember that next time I'm having a neurotic moment and if I see someone else having one I shall knowingly tell them to "giddy up"...! ;-)

Anonymous said...

You ARE funny!
You can't be a parent and a pacifist, I was totally taken by surprise by the strength of my reaction at some situations with other people in public.
I like the rocking horse analogy too, the ulcers I have given myself about things that never came to pass, and then the things that did, that came out of a clear blue sky.
Thinking that 12 years old is old enough to cross the street by themselves right? Not worried. Didn't think about the possibility of a near blind 92 year old driving, knocking my daughter down, putting her in the hospital for 3 months, in a wheel chair for the best part of a year, still awaiting surgery 4 years later....

yes dogs, and cars and lurgies and older kids and bigger kids, then there is the fear of them being infected by some people's nasty bigoted, xenophobic attitudes, and that palmpistol thing is some scary shit..I should reply to your posts in the morning I am far more mellow then.;) opened a bit of a can of worms for me there Steve, sorry!

Anonymous said...

haha you just want a sexy M15 officer a la Keeley Hawes providing around the clock protection, don't you? Karen would probably be happy as long as she had one too - that Rupert Penry-Jones was pretty hot!

Steve said...

Missbehaving: "You can't be a parent and a pacifist". Now that I like. That I want on a T-shirt that I can wear whenever I push Tom around town. So sorry to hear about your daughter's experience - that's awful. See, I said you can't trust car drivers! The biggest risk to life and limb is always other people's supidity and carelessness. Maybe Tris is right: I do need to buy a bio-hazard isolation chamber!

Gina, that thought hadn't crossed my mind but now that it has what a wonderful idea. Keeley may have to bodily shield me from all kinds of hazards - high winds, rain, loose gravel thrown up by passing cars, that kind of thing... Hmmm. Er... did I say shield me? I meant of course shield Tom... ;-)

Millennium Housewife said...

over reaction: better than no reaction at all, or so My Mother says...I'll listen out for those sirens and join you in the moshing for chocolate buttons. MH

Brother Tobias said...

Not to mention the noxious long can you hold your breath when the person walking in front is smoking, eating chips or has a flatulence problem? Or all three in Maidstone. I feel like walking with a bag on my head. (The SS says I should).

Steve said...

MH: the more the merrier - I'll keep the hooligans at bay, you grab the choc!

Brother T: cigarette fumes make me, well, fume too. I hate walking behind someone when they're spouting great plumes of smoke around them... but especially when the fag is hanging uselessly in their fingers at about the height of my son's head when he passes them by in his pushchair.

Anonymous said...

Awww! Wonderful Steve,

You are a great father! Nothing makes a parent feel more protective than spending close time with your little ones.

You are wise to be paranoid...many dangers do lurk out there. It is foolish not to expect them.

Sirens and flashing lights are an excellent idea...and maybe get an airbag installed in his pushchair.

Steve said...

Sweet Cheeks, a pushchair air bag?! What a brilliant idea! I wonder if it's been patented yet? I could steal a march on someone here. Or rather we could. Want to go 50/50?

The Sagittarian said...

Poor Tom! I hope by now he is feeling better and less itchy n scratchy.

I agree completely with your senitments and you will no doubt be thrilled to know that this feeling can obviously last for many years. I am the same even now with my girls (often to their amusement and/or disgust).

Steve said...

Hi Amanda, I'm sure Tom will be pleased to know that I'll still be following him around with an airbag and can of hypoallergenic dysinfecting spray when he's 18...! ;-)