If you enjoyed my Crazy World Part 1, you should like this. It’s a bit wordy so I added some pictures.
So, we get through the mega queue and made it to the entrance of the Natural History Museum without me coming to blows with the Perfects family behind me. (you will have to read part 1 to know about the Perfects, I can’t go through it again it’s just too emotionally painful for me to repeat).
Anyway, 25,000 people filter through the entrance around me unhindered and the nice security man picks ME out to check my rucksack and then metal detect me! I also get pulled out for ‘special’ checks at airports. Why does this happen? Is it my frizzy hair and small stature that raises concerns, or, do I just know full well it is going to happen, so I try extra hard to blend in and look as inconspicuous as possible, that it screams out “search me I am hiding something”!? Well, I suppose they are only doing their job.
Once inside it was packed so tight, we could barely move, let alone see anything. 10 minutes in and I said to SJ, that’s it, I am going, this is a waste of time. Now bearing in mind it was his idea and he desperately needed to go to this museum urgently, I expected him to put up a bit of resistance, but what he said next was jaw dropping. “OK mummy, let's go then. I am coming here with the school anyway in a few weeks and that’s a weekday, so it will be much quieter then”. So, that was £30 for train tickets, hour and a quarter queuing with Mr & Mrs Perfect and a high profile security check, all for nothing!! I asked him why he didn’t tell me he was going to be coming with the school and he said it was in a school letter that I hadn’t bothered to read (whoops). The reason he wanted to go to the NH museum with me, is so he could check it out in advance and impress his friends with his pre-acquired knowledge!
Anyway we hastily make a retreat out of the Natural History Museum, pausing only to queue for 10 mins to buy a small plastic dinosaur! We then went to Costa for a coffee and a sarnie; I suggested a pub lunch but SJ shamed me by saying “pubs are not the best places for children and you and Daddy always want to go to the pub” (whoops)! We saw great intolerance in Costa, a middle aged posh couple sat next to SJ and I, were having a discussion about how disgusting it was that a young woman sitting opposite, who sounded German and was probably a tourist, was openly breast feeding her baby. The posh couple were saying “It might be the norm in her country but it isn’t acceptable here, I don’t want my cake now Jeffery, I feel sick, the management should do something, why can’t she do it somewhere private like the toilet”. This conversation had some regular tutts thrown in as well. Well, that last comment did it, my mouth engaged and I said “why don’t you go and eat your lunch in the toilet, you won’t be able to see her from there”. SJ looked up from his iphone and said what’s going on? I said nice and loud, “this lady doesn’t think that lady over there should feed her baby in the coffee shop”. He so didn’t get the issue at all, but he then said to the posh lady “well it will die if she doesn’t feed it”! Kids are so funny sometimes?
Now the London Underground is a fabulous place for people watching. Ladies with blue hair, old blokes in vests and shorts in the middle of winter, people who stink, people who are drunk, they are all there, going about their daily business. In fact, instead of the London Underground perhaps it would be better called The London Gallery of the Unwashed and Unusual.
Well, anyway, immediately opposite SJ, sat there in all her glory, was the most obvious transgender person I have ever seen. Short skirt, pink blouse, a mega statement with the red lipstick which clashed with the blouse, blue sparkly high heel shoes and a silver bag. However, the unshaven face and hairy uncovered legs were a bit of a giveaway. Brilliant and fair play to her. She looked like she couldn’t’ care less about people staring, and oh god were they staring? I genuinely felt huge admiration for her being who she wanted to be. Looking around at people’s faces I began to realise that perhaps most of the other commuters didn’t share my admiration. I then did a rapid risk assessment and decided to give SJ a quick dig in the ribs and quietly said, don’t stare. This back fired as he said loudly I’m not staring, even though he was! I felt very embarrassed.
This is the conversation SJ and I had at home later that evening….
Me:- Why were you looking at the lady opposite you today on the tube?
SJ:- Well I couldn’t work out if it was lady or man, she looked like a man.
Me:- Yes I think it was a man who wanted to wear lady’s clothes
Me:- Well why not? Maybe he feels like he wants to be a woman even though he is a man.
SJ:- Oh, I never thought about that.
Me:- Well Sonny, a lot of people don’t understand it, so they stare and sometimes say nasty things, yet what other people wear doesn’t affect their lives at all does it?
SJ:- No mummy, I suppose it’s like one day I might wear a green t shirt another day I might fancy wearing red, so why can’t someone fancy wearing a dress, even if they are a man?
Me:- Exactly, so never stare and make people feel awkward if you ever see anything unusual, or, if you ever have friends making fun of people because they’re a bit different you can put them right.
SJ:- Yes I will Mummy, I don’t think most of my friends even know that men can be ladies and ladies can be men if they want.
I got a feeling they soon will!!!
I leave you with parenting advice although; as I have a busy life outside of being a mum and I am not sure I spend enough hours with SJ to qualify as a parent advice giver!! Never mind I will anyway.
To start with, I totally respect people who want to protect their children from life’s controversy and negatives until they reach a certain age. There is no definitive or correct way to raise kids. However, I give this advice (wanted or not) based on my own beliefs and experience. Educating your children is not just about sending them to school and uni; that is actually quite a small part. It’s about talking to them about the world happenings, discussing controversial subjects and helping then see what’s around them. Point out the good the bad and the ugly and talk about why things might be like they are. Not only is it as important as spending time with them doing their maths homework, it can be a lot more fun.
Great example….When SJ was 7 I watched the Tottenham riots on the news with him. (I have never protected him from bad or sad stuff because life is more than Tooth Fairies and Santa). I explained that this is where I grew up and I also talked about why the riots were happening. We then went on to the looting and how people can feel marginalised and desperate to make a point, whilst enforcing how wrong it is to behave in this way. It was a mini sociology lecture. SJ looked at the cars and shops burning and people throwing bricks at the police, it was a horrendous sight, then he said to me, “that must have been a very dangerous place for you to play out mummy!” Priceless, clever old mummy had given him lots of useful information but I hadn’t told him it wasn’t permanently like this! Before anyone asks, no, he didn’t seem to suffer any psychological damage or have nightmares after watching it.
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