Continuing my crush on Boaganette, this is a great piece that rang very true.
riffing off it…
Today we took the little dude to Te Papa (side note – what’s with giant squid? Can there be a small placard about the evils of bycatch please? Is anyone else saddened by the thought of this creature that was just swimming along then got caught up and is now on display at a museum for people to gawk at? Further side note – the discovery centre in the Tangata o le Moana exhibit is a bit noble-savage-y and ugh, cringe. Te Papa you are a free indoor space but I think you need to be updated).
The little dude is extremely keen to explore everything and gets bored in our house, so it’s great to take him to a kid-friendly museum, and we do it fairly regularly. One of his current hobbies is climbing stairs. There is a stretch of stairs from level 4 up to level 5 that is pretty quiet (it’s not the busy main staircase), and I was letting him practice going up and down, he was having a great time. A few people gave me huffy “you’re in the way” vibes. At the top of the stairs we got to the art gallery part. There’s a kids area with a magnetic wall and he is pretty enamoured by it. As I entered the gallery, the little dude was walking ahead by about half a metre and the attendant anxiously warned me that I would need to keep a close eye and make sure he didn’t touch the art (well of course!!).
We took the lift back down to the first floor. The little dude had wanted to explore while we were waiting for the lift, so we almost missed it, and I was very apologetic getting in, and conscious that we were taking up heaps of space in a crowded box. As I got off, I overheard one of the fellow occupants saying to her companion “what a little cutie! So smiley! It’s so nice seeing toddlers, always brightens my day.”
I forget that some people like kids. I genuinely forget. I am always acutely aware of the potential to annoy people and get in their way, and the frowns are so frequent and make me feel so gnawed at. And I got home and I read Boaganette and I thought, yeah, totally, ugh.
Before I had kids, I was never one of those adults who frowned. I was always stoked to see kids. Once, flying from Wellington to Auckland alone, I was seated next to a woman and her 2-almost-3 year old son. He was in the middle, I was in the window seat, she was in the aisle seat. He was a first language te reo speaker, and too young to realise that not everyone was able to respond to him when he initiated conversation. Now my reo is not great but it’s about an ok level for a conversation with a three year old. I had a great flight, chatting to him, enjoying his company. Somewhat strangely, I thought at the time, his mum fell asleep. In retrospect and from the perspective of a fellow mum, she must have been over the moon at her good luck of seat mate and good on her for taking the chance for a break. I remember telling him that we were “kei roto i nga kapua”, and he just repeated that for the rest of the flight alternating incredulity and excitement. “Kei roto i nga kapua!” – so thrilled because actually yeah, being in the clouds is amazing and aeroplanes are super cool. And he reminded me how cool it was. And my day was better for it.
So, a resolution – I’m going to be less apologetic when taking the little dude out. I don’t want him to feel like he’s an imposition and isn’t allowed to be in public. He’s an awesome person and random strangers should be honoured that he smiles at them. And yeah, he’s a bit disruptive, but geez he’s only 14 months, give him a chance!