Friday, April 16, 2010
I will no doubt be hunted down and shot or lynched or creatively done away with for positing this, but there seems to me to be more than a hint of The Simpsons' Helen Lovejoy about the Penneys padded bikini top debacle that has been raging this week.
Incase you've been living under a large rock of late, Primark in the UK have decided to withdraw a line of padded bikini tops for pre-teens which sparked an outcry from child protection agencies, who were concerned that this represented the sexualisation of young girls and would encourage unwelcome adult attention from paedophiles. The items were not available for sale in Irish stores.
Now lookit, it's not that I think the sale of these products was appropriate. But er could parents not just refuse to buy these bikini tops for their 10-year-old daughters if they felt they were unsuitable?
That would suggest that the onus is on parents to be responsible for or, y'know, raise their kids right, I guess, a notion which is maybe un-PC or a bit unfashionable. And no doubt there would be parents who'd be happy to stick their pre-pubescent daughter in a padded bikini top. Sure it'd look well for the swimsuit section of the pageant. (These people do exist. No, not just in Crazy Backwater Hicksville, USA.)
Anyways, speaking of some parents being complete loons or deciding to get technology to raise the kids (why not just nominate the XBox as the child's godmother and the telly as its godfather from birth and have done with it? I suppose then the Nintendo DS would feel left out) and what not, I have a story for you.
On Wednesday, I noticed a child of about 2 ½ years of age wandering around the car park of Lidl in Portarlington. I assumed she was just lagging behind her mother en route to the car, but when I got out of my own motor there was no-one around. An older lady was trotting towards her saying "Hi pet, where's your Mammy? Are you lost?" while another woman called across that she'd go into the shop and get them to announce a lost child. When I got into Lidl, the message was relayed between cashiers across the checkouts, and eventually a woman with her shopping up on the conyveyor belt looked around for an age and seemed, after a long while, to notice she was missing a small blonde.
Out she legged it, while a small boy who I presume was her son, himself maybe 3 or 3 ½, ran unheeded out after her and straight out into the middle of the carpark. If there had been a car coming he would have been killed stone dead. While Mammy ran off towards her daughter, who at this stage was trying to climb into a jeep with a man and his kids while the first woman cajoled her to stay with her and wait for her ma, the second woman called the little chap back onto the footpath.
Mammy scooped up her daughter, who started roaring crying about not being allowed to go with the strangers, and didn't say a word of thanks to the two women who had likely saved her kids from death by bumper or abduction.
At this stage you might be charitably thinking, as I was, that she was probably just mortified, and that it'd be tough to be out your own like that, trying to juggle doing the weekly shop with minding two small children.
Yeh. Next thing who puts in an appearance only the Da, who has apparently decided to meander out of the shop to see what the craic is.
Listen, I'm sure it's hard work for two grown adults to handle two small kids while doing the shopping (*cough*), but it was pretty clear that these children had been allowed to run riot, unsupervised, while Ma and Da got on with filling the trolley. I mean, they hadn't even missed their daughter, who had been AWOL for a while given that she'd managed to get a very long way from the front door of the shop at a slow, rolling pace.
Of course, I don't have kids so what would I know etc, and no doubt the suggestions I'm about to make will run the gamut from radical to ridiculous, but...
If your kids are likely to wander, well, maybe you should make use of the child seats in the trolley. Or use those bungee bracelet things, or those body harnesses, if they want to be on their feet. Yeh, they look a bit stupid, but at least your kid's less likely to end up under the wheels of an SUV with them than if they're free range.
Or (kompletely kerazeee idea alert) maybe one of you should stay home with them while the other half does the shopping if they're really out of control.
And hey, while you're at it, maybe try a spot of reading or painting or mála moulding or something rather than just plonking them in front of the telly or handing them the DS Light...