Archive | September, 2008

The disabled car park police….

24 Sep

We popped into the supermarket to get a roast chook this morning. I parked in a Disabled Carpark (with the carpark label showing). When we returned to the car, an old couple were getting into their car in an adjoining disabled car park spot. They both kept glancing my way and then muttering to each other. At one point (as I was bundling BC in the car) I could see them shaking their heads in a ‘tsk tsk’ sort of way – ie that we were using the spot when we shouldn’t be. Now, normally, I am very immune to any of this sort of behaviour.

Here’s why – last Christmas at a very large shopping mall here in Melbourne, I had a go at being a disabled car park police officer. There were loads of people looking for spots and clearly, some of those using the disabled car parks were just sick of looking – thinking, I’ll only be a minute, it doesn’t matter. Because it was Christmas and I too was doing last minute shopping, my nerves were a little frazzled. So I had a go at someone who was waiting for the spot I was in. Pointing to the disabled sign, telling them to go park somewhere else. THEN had the horrible realisation that I was in fact shouting at a woman with a wheelchair in the back of her car. A woman who had far better things to do with her day then face a stupid stressed out mother of 2 accusing her of not being disabled. It was horrible. I apologised profusely to her. She was very understanding. She was lovely. We had a little chat about how misused the spots were. She told me not to worry about my outburst. But even though she was so understanding, I made a decision that day that I would never again be a member of the disabled car park police. It just got me too stressed out AND there was a bloody good chance I could get it wrong again. So these days, I never comment. I don’t say anything. I just park.

So back to today. It’s BC’s birthday (more on that in another post). I was feeling a little emotional. OK VERY emotional. So when this couple started to tsk tsk, something in me snapped. I couldn’t help it. I had almost driven off and they were still sitting in their car – craning their necks to see if there was a disabled car park sticker in the front of my car. I reversed back, wound down my window and shouted out ‘It’s my son. It’s not always the driver you know. It’s my son’.

I got about that many words out. They probably didn’t hear me. Their window was still wound up. They were looking at me like I was nuts. Which I sort of was. When I saw how they were looking at me, I drove off. I burst into tears. It was all too much. It was just a dumb overemotional moment for me because I was struggling with the realisation that my little boy turns 4 today. Struggling with what I know most 4 year olds can do. I don’t often have such moments of weakness. I am normally much more in control and definitely a cup half full sort of girl.

BUT the disabled car park police officer in them had irked me even though they hadn’t said a single bloody thing.  So I’ve made a second decision now. Not only will I never engage in policing others, but I will definitely never get upset by someone who’s decided to police me. It’s just not worth the emotional energy. And besides. It’s none of their business ;-).

Eye spy…

6 Sep

We had an appointment at the Eye Clinic this week. We’ve not had any concerns about BC’s eyesight, but it’s another of the boxes that needs to be ticked now he’s nearly four, so off we went.

They’d written on the confirmation letter to allow 2-3 hours for the appointment and they meant it. You know for sure that you’re in for a big wait when you walk into a FULL waiting room at 9am and see that there’s a playstation, table with lots of pencils and colouring in pictures, a Wiggles video and even a PAINT easel set up to entertaining the waiting masses of restless children. I’ve gotta say I was impressed that they were so well organised but I did groan a little as I knew I’d be getting to know that room pretty well!

We had our initial ‘test’ after about 45 minutes of waiting. I know it was that long because it was one and a bit rotation of a Wiggles videos (one of the really old ones where they all still have their real coloured hair and the Big Red Car is made of cardboard).

We were greeted by 2 uni students (studying opthamology I think, although I am not so great on my ologies so I may have this wrong). It was their job to do the testing.

It all started fine – look up, look down, look left, look right. No problem there.

Then phase 2. The test involved one of the students holding up various pictures of basic images (eg a car, a tree, a train etc) and asking BC to say what they were. Which is fine, except for the fact that BC can’t say most of those words. But I am decent enough at translating his attempts and he does know some of the signs so that wasn’t the problem.

The ‘problem’ was the over enthusiastic student. He held up a picture and said ‘What can you see?’. BC was working his way around the sounds in his mouth. He’s getting better and better at doing this, but it takes a while and quite a lot of concentration.

But after 5 seconds of not getting an answer the student began waving the picture around and repeating ‘What can you see, what can you see, anything? anything?’

Poor BC. He almost gave up. While meanwhile, I got the giggles. Bad mummy.

We finally got an approximated sound out which I translated as an accurate guess and on we went.

The student waved around the next picture so much that I was having some trouble figuring out what it was myself. I asked him to hold it still. He blushed, apologised and held it still but then began repeating again ‘What can you see?’ so rapidly that BC looked at me with bewilderment.

The other student caught his eye. She said slowly and clearly (and once!) ‘Do you know what it is?’. BC nodded, smiled gratefully and immediately said ‘car’ so clearly that I nearly fell off my chair. I got the feeling he wanted to get this right so he could get out of there quickly!

After a while the pictures got smaller and the student became more and more animated. Several times I reminded him to hold it still and three times I had to point out to him that his thumb was actually completely covering the image. I got the giggles even more. I had to pretend I was laughing at something the very restless Bean was doing on the floor.

We finally got through it and he passed with flying colours. The last couple of pics though were kind of hard for ME to see, so I’m thinking I might have to go a do a test for myself!

I wanted to thank the enthusiastic student for giving me such a good giggle but at the same time time I really really wanted to give him some constructive advice about his need to slow down and relax. But I didn’t. I’m really bad at offering constructive criticism (t never comes out right) and I’ve had too many moments of being the pushy parent, so I thought I’d leave it to someone else. And I figured that with his level of enthusiasm, he’d figure it out pretty soon on his own. AND if not, I was pretty sure his colleague who showed such a gentle manner with BC would offer him advice – and in a much better way than I ever would!

The rest of the appointment went fine. There was a hell of a lot more waiting around before we saw the actual eye doctor. BC had some drops put in his eyes so his pupils would dilate and then they were given a good looking over. As expected, we got the all clear.

Phew. Another box ticked, one less thing to worry about. AND another half a day over.

I probably sound silly for getting so much amusement from the eye test (or to be more accurate the eye tester). But really, when your days are often filled with appointments like this, you have to find amusement where ever you can.

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