Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Morning outing

One of the biggest differences between London and New Mexico is that here in London, people stare at me and even comment when I'm going around, just being myself. For example, today I decided to go get a toolbox and a construction worklight, as anyone with no good place to store their jewelry tools, and who is also planning to photograph items in a lightbox, would do. These things are both sold at hardware stores, so I went to the hardware store with one son toddling beside me, and the other in a front carrier. My infant son is already a little too tall for the front carrier; his head tends to loll back when he's in it, which he doesn't seem to mind at all. He promptly falls asleep whenever I take him anywhere.

Anyway, so I went to the hardware store and managed to find a really nice rolling toolbox and a halogen worklight. The only problem was that I didn't think I'd find a toolbox with wheels because there weren't any on the hardware store's website, so I'd brought a shopping trolly (no, not a shopping cart, though the Brits call those trollies too, this one was a canvas bag on wheels with a retractable handle). I thus had to hold both the handle of the shopping trolley and the handle of the toolbox in one hand while holding my son's hand with the other.

If I had walked across a parking lot in New Mexico like this, people wouldn't have said anything. Maybe someone would offer to help, but here, people just stare. The occasional person would talk to me or honk their horn to point out that my infant son was asleep with his head back, which I already *knew*. I don't neglect my kids. I take them everywhere, as should be obvious given I am walking with them across a parking lot with a rolling toolbox and a shopping trolly on our way to the underground station. I don't see anyone else spending quality time with their children this way, and if I did, I would keep any comments that came to mind to myself, thankyouverymuch.

It was slow going, as my toddler son isn't even two yet. Being an insomniac prepared me for motherhood, though. Taking two hours to go down the street to the hardware store and back still feels like getting something done. And now, I will go back to being a hermit, because that way I can be myself without the real time commentary from others. I'm off to either work on this science fiction novel or make jewelry... depends on whether the dining room table's free.


  1. Diane B. - Boulder USAFebruary 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I loved reading this... the visual that came to mind made me laugh and was a great beginning to my day. It reminded me of when I flew from Georgia to New Mexico with my little ones in tow. The two older toddlers were in harnesses on leashes (they hadn't been popularized yet) and the baby was in my arms. I also had a huge carry-on. We changed planes in Dallas, where they have looong concourses, and people stared at me like they wanted to call a child protective service. I wish they had -- I might have gotten some help!! Take care... miss all of you. -Diane B.

  2. It's a shame people were content to stare instead of help. What else were you supposed to do without a car and two young children to watch?
    I was lucky when we were living in Korea. Koreans simply adore young children and try to help out young mothers if they really seem to be struggling. I remember having Peyton strapped in a front carrier and taking a couple of bags of heavy groceries home a few times a week via public transportation. People were usually kind enough to give me a seat but it was still a time-consuming chore just to buy some things at the corner market.
    Kudos for your determination to get something done.
    Hugs from Taiwan. - Sandra M.

  3. Hi Diane - Mom told me about Alan. Hope things are going okay! *hugs* to you.

    And Sandra - Yeah, I'm mainly struck by how little effort it takes to be considered a weirdo here :-) Not sure that people are any less diverse than back home, but there seems to be more effort put into not showing it in certain ways. Hope you guys are doing well! Hugs to you too.

  4. The whispering and pointing was out in force when I was pregnant with number 4, and I was dragging my other 3 around...the oldest being 4.

    Now...I just get disdainful looks, but that's mostly in Santa Fe.

  5. Yeah, I've heard others in the ward talk about how rude people can be about that kind of thing. Here in London, we're one of the largest families in the ward, and we're just amateur parents compared to you!