Another Page – On Screaming Children

I was at the Rec Hall this afternoon availing myself of the free WIFI service when a very young girl let loose behind me in a total tantrum, and screamed louder and longer than I thought possible for a girl that small. The mother couldn’t control her daughter at all, and it was long past the point of reasoning with her, so they thankfully left the building. I never wanted children of my own for good reason, and I don’t tolerate the children of others very well. Still, I didn’t say anything or even make a face. I just shoved the buds a little deeper into my ear canals then packed up and left the hall shortly after. As I was walking back to the trailer, this story I wrote many years ago about my own mother’s parenting techniques came to mind. I thought I would share it with you.

Spoonful of Jam
by Susan M. Toy

We only travelled as a family unit by car to the cottage. Those trips were so routine, so familiar, that Friday afternoons were like re-enactments of a well-orchestrated play, with family members speaking rehearsed-lines, the beginning of every drive punctuated with the phrase, “Hurry up, you two! Your father’s waiting.”

Jockeying for position in the station wagon’s back seat would take place, my sister always sitting behind Dad, the driver, and me hugging the opposite door, staying as far as possible from my sister. If either wandered out of our space the other would shriek, “Mom! She’s on my side!” or “Mom! She’s bothering me!”

Mother spun around, in those pre-seatbelt-days, separating us: “You! Stay on your side! And You! Leave her alone!” We resorted to quietly making faces until I got bored and stared out the window, while my sister shouted, “Horse!” or “Cow!” with every one spotted.

All was quiet until the winding roads at Miner’s Bay caused my delicate stomach to react, on cue. I’d mumble, “Mom, I’m going to be sick…”

She would immediately shout, “Rich, pull over!” I’d already be opening the door to hang my head out. Afterwards my sister’s smirk was unbearable.

But I had the last laugh. Mom decided enough was enough and made us both eat a “spoonful of jam” before getting into the car. We didn’t know she’d laced that jam with Gravol. Today it might be considered child abuse, but during the sixties my delighted mother discovered Gravol not only settled my stomach, but also knocked us out for most of the trip.

Usually I wakened when we reached the South Lake Road. Sitting on Mom’s side of the car, the right-hand side, I was always the first to cry out, “I see the lake!” punctuating the trip’s end.

You are most welcome here! Enjoying the view with me from my trailer or verandah.



12 thoughts on “Another Page – On Screaming Children

  1. I’m on blogging low-profile right now but couldn’t resist a comment. Why do people assume having children is a must-do? Does nobody ever think, can I do this? do I want to do this? can I afford to do this? does this even interest me? can I take on the immense responsibility?

    And if I ever had kids, while I might have been pretty liberal, I would have made sure any of mine would have got off their backsides on the bus to offer seats to older people which is one thing that severely irritates me. Young fit kids hogging seats at the front of the bus while older people have to struggle to the back. One kid screamed on the bus the other day (acc to Partner) and frightened everyone, including the driver.

    C’est la vie.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a wonderful story! I have no idea what Gravol is, but I wish I’d had it to hand when my children were young and we were travelling, especially as more than one suffered from travel-sickness. The roads in the UK can be very twisty in places. I taught my children to be polite, to not leave litter anywhere, and did not tolerate tandrums. (By the way, we have six children!) They all grew up to be considerate adults. The terrible behaviour of children these days are mostly due to lack of proper parenting skills.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Why do parents these days feel like everyone should tolerate their child’s bad behavior and screams? The thing about small children – and small dogs – is that both are easily picked up and carried off where they don’t bother others. It’s not difficult at all…
    Lazy self centered parents who will pay for their refusal to teach manners, consideration for others, and good behavior when the kid get older. (And will wring hands asking, “Why?”)
    I used to get carsick every summer on road trips – hot car, no AC. Dad realized some models of cars had more swaying back seats than others. Mom found Dramamine so I was slugged out for hours. My brother just smirked and sneered and said “Hang out the window – don’t lean over here”
    Still not good on buses unless right at the front. And I cannot read in cars at all. Boats, however, are no problem.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I work in Pediatrics, have worked with children for 30 years (which is mind-boggling because it sounds like I should be super old – but I don’t feel it). The one thing that will drive me to total distraction is a little girl screaming bloody murder, with that high-pitched scream. I CANNOT tolerate that. Oh and the parents that let their children kick and hit while I am examining them and say “it’s alright, honey. She won’t hurt you” but yet I am the one getting pummeled by the 4 year old girl. I think it would help a great deal if parents wouldn’t threaten their kids by saying they are going to take them to the doctor to get a shot – that would be a start. Of course you have to look to the parents – especially the ones that look on their cellphones through the entire visit and think, hmm, this child is not getting much guidance as evidenced by the behavior of their parent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a great story! I remember traveling with my siblings. There were four of us, but it was usually me and my brother doing most of the arguing. “Mom, tell Mikey to stop putting his stuff on my side.” I don’t know how my parents survived us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My brother was considerably older than me so I was like an only child. My mother would have never tolerated temper tantrums from me though. My parents didn’t even like yelling. I had two, and sometimes had to keep them apart, but there were things I wouldn’t tolerate and they knew it. I taught 1st and 2nd grade, and I didn’t have that much trouble. That was a good many years ago, so I don’t know what goes on today.

    Liked by 1 person

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