To the woman in the supermarket
Firstly I’d like to apologise.
When you shared your thoughts on my son’s nappy to my husband while you both waited in the queue to pay for your respective shopping trips, he was very upset and swore at you. A lot. I’m sorry for that. Having never been on the receiving end of his rather snappy temper beyond the off gruff word, I can only imagine it was rather unsettling for you.
However, I’d also like to say it’s a good thing I wasn’t there because you would’ve heard a lot worse and I’d probably still be giving you a dressing down now.
For some bizarre reason you thought it necessary to tell my husband that my son was ‘too big for nappies’.
Let’s back up.
For weeks now my son has been obsessed with a lovely book called The Smartest Giant in Town. He wants it read every night, sometimes twice, and he regales others with the story on a daily basis. At one point in the story, the giant’s trousers fall down after he has gifted a number of clothing items, including his belt, to animals in need. This makes my son laugh hysterically and he has taken to tugging his trousers down over his bum and calling out with glee and a South London accent ‘my trousers a falling down’! At this point my husband or I usually grin and tell him to stop being a numpty and pull up his trousers.
You though took one of these moments as anopportunity to criticise.
What made you decide to air that thought out loud? On what planet is your opinion even relevant? And exactly what outcome did you expect?
Let’s start with the simple fact that my son is 4 years old. He is still at nursery and I don’t think, based on conversations with other mums that it is that unusual for a boy to not yet be fully potty trained.
Let’s also add to that the fact that my son has communication difficulties; he didn’t actually start talking until he was 3 and a half and though his development in many areas has been remarkable, it took a long time to get him communicating with others in a meaningful way. We tried signing but it didn’t help and until he started talking (late, according to the books and health visitor) he rarely demanded anything from us at all or responded to our questions. This has hindered potty training and made it a more challenging task than I ever envisioned.
And finally, we had just had another baby and following advice, we elected to hold off rather than push potty training immediately after her arrival (a month before his fourth birthday) as it would likely have been a bit too much all at once, he’s still adjusting to being a big brother and we are still adjusting to life as a family of four.
But putting aside the facts - how did you know when you questioned his use of nappies that my son didn’t have a bladder or bowel disorder that meant he needed to still be in nappies? Or that perhaps he’d had an accident while out that day and the nappy was a last resort. Or perhaps he had a dodgy tummy and it was a precaution.
There are many reasons an older child might be wearing a nappy, or even an adult - do you make a habit of noticing this and asking people about their personal needs? Do you criticise women buying Tena products and tell them ‘they’re too old or too young’?! Of course not. You only feel the need to say something like this to a parent, like a lot of trolls who make it their mission in life to criticise the parenting choices of others you waded in with your unwanted, unnecessary, unsolicited opinion.
When my husband initially told you to fuck off and retorted our son was only 4, you began to try and make excuses ‘oh well he’s quite tall’ as if that somehow made up for your ill advised comment. A comment designed to embarrass my husband and humiliate my son.
Thankfully it appears my little man was blissfully unaware of your ignorance (although I was briefly concerned when the next day before nursery he said no to nappies or pants...).
In future may I suggest you keep thoughts like this in your head and check yourself. I tell my students to THINK before they speak, is it: truthful, helpful, inspiring, necessary or kind? I feel you need this lesson more than them.
Very lastly...I forgive you, the optimist in me is sure you’re sorry and you’ll change your critical ways...if only to avoid retorts from husbands like mine.