Saturday, March 10, 2012

Grandma, What Big Teeth You have!

Wolf as Grandma by Mona Besharati
Wolf as Grandma, a photo by Mona Besharati on Flickr.

Out running errands this afternoon I found myself in step behind a young woman and her little daughter. A tiny, sweet-face child of about three with dark tumbling curls. She was clutching a banana. Childbirth had left mom rather chunky, but she was nonetheless dressed in the current popular fashion of clothing that looks like it was painted on. Never mind that it emphasized all her bulges, leaving nothing much to the imagination. She was impatient with the child, urging her roughly to hurry up, refusing to open the banana for the little girl, saying it was easy, she could do it herself. And I thought how often I use a knife to make a nick in the banana skin to make it easier to open!. The mother continued complaining at the little girl, saying she should have waited 'til they got to Target where the banana would have been cheaper. The little girl kept pleading for her mother to open the banana, and her mother continued to churlishly refuse. I would have offered to open it for the little one but that probably wouldn't have gone over too well with mom, so I passed them on the sidewalk and kept going.....

But they stayed in my head. I found myself wondering how the woman felt when she was pregnant. Was she excited? Was she in awe of the fact that a little stranger was growing and developing inside her? Was it impossible to imagine what the child would be like? Did she wonder if it would be a boy or a girl? Did she daydream for hours about names, about how she would play with her child, teach her songs, read to her, dress her in pretty clothes, put ribbons in her hair?

What happened between then and now? What happened to turn her sweet-faced little girl from a miracle into an irritation? What happened to make her refuse to open a banana, expecting the little girl, with her tiny bird-like bones, to do it herself?


A little nine year old girl's death was in the news recently. Her grandmother is being charged with her murder She died from extreme dehydration after being punished for eating chocolate by being made to run continuously for several hours. By her grandmother. If I was to be thusly punished for eating chocolate when I shouldn't, I'd have had to "put my affairs in order" a long time ago. Grandmama will cool her heels in prison for a long time but that poor little girl's life is over. All because she ate some chocolate she wasn't supposed to. That and the small matter of having a witch for a grandmother.

Anyone who has had children knows that the little darlings can push you to the brink of insanity. I'm just wondering what happens in your head to push you over that brink?

10 comments:

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It sounds a bit like the little boy I passed in a car park with his mother , who had just slapped his head sideways , nearly lifting him off his feet , while yelling obscenities .... however exasperating children can be ( and indeed they can ...) , they're entitled to respect and care .
Maybe it's easy to see the easy solution , while standing on the outside ? But opening the banana would have taken a second , leaving the rest of the time to enjoy each other's company and having a consistent and fair sweets policy should have avoided the child's "misdemeanour" and tragic end .

Ali Honey said...

2 very sad stories.
Both very negative. Children who repeatedly get treated in a negative way , must suffer in the long term and have a jaundiced view on life.

Thimbleanna said...

Ooooh, that just drives me crazy when I see/hear stuff like that. Too bad there's not some way that people could be tested for parenting fitness before they have babies. When I see terrible parents, I often wonder what their parents did to turn them into such shrews. So sad.

Stomper Girl said...

So sad. Not to say I've never groused at my kids but I don't think I've ever acted like they've ruined my life.

Friko said...

I don't know what happens in anybody's head when they actually contemplate murder. Hitting out in the heat of the moment, yes, I might be able to do that myself. Never a child, though.

I hate people, mothers, father, grandmas or whoever, who ill-treat little children. It's so often nothing but spite and the reasons are found in other areas of their lives. I'm afraid I can never stay out of it and have received a torrent of abuse for it in the past.

I don't bloody care. (heavens, I'm getting worked up when I think about it)

Isabelle said...

How horrible. Oh dear.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The case you mention broke my heart. There was also an evil stepmother involved in the abuse of that little girl. As for the dreadful lack of mothering skills or possibly love you witnessed, I cannot fathom how it is that some people who would give anything for a child can't have them while others pop them out thoughtlessly and regard them as nothing more than irritations. It's so sad. It sounds as if the loutish woman was punishing her daughter for being born. It may indeed take all kinds, but some kinds shouldn't be allowed.

StitchinByTheLake said...

We talked about this very thing in Bible study last night - what is our responsibility in such situations? I have no idea, wish I did. I've been told that people who abuse children were likely abused when they were young. I don't get that at all - seems like it should be the opposite. blessings, marlene

jkhenson said...

I saw your post about writing, visit from family and chocolate chip cookies, but when I went to comment, it was gone. I love your writing. You are truly gifted! I get sad, also, as I have moved away from my family. I wonder if my girls will live close to me? Now you've got me worried! :) Thank goodness you made the cookies with oatmeal and had them with milk-you are a healthy eater, then! :) I will remember the oatmeal next time I bake! :)

Anonymous said...

I think it wise, when pondering what pushes people to unreasonable extremes when dealing with children, to consider the overwhelming effects substance abuse, whether it be in the form of illicit drugs, or in the form of "legal" pharmaceuticals, has had, directly and indirectly, on our country and its population. This was not as prevalent "back in the day" when the hike to school was "uphill both ways." It is much more common today, and the effects are widespread--broken marriages, broken families, unwanted children, stressed out schoolteachers dealing with kids that don't have stable environments at home, overflowing jails...the list goes on... Drugs mess with people's lives, sure, but more accutely they affect a person's ability to reason, to deal with emotions, and the ability to "step back and assess" any given situation. They may even feel ashamed for acting the way they do, but are literally incapable of changing under "normal" circumstance. When I see someone treat a child in this way, I think how much they must dislike themselves, even subconciously. I consider what must have happened to them that made them consider themselves unlovable, and thereby made them incapable of loving. I know a woman that treats her child very poorly. She presents herself as strong--tough even. She would have you believe that she is very self-confident, but really she suffers from narcissism, a result of being treated so poorly herself as a child that she pretends to the world that she considers herself worthy in an attempt to convince herself of that fact.

To sum it up, when I see someone behave in this way, it occurs to me how spiritually sick they truly are. It's actually as very sad and unfortunate for them as it is for the child they affect.