To begin, I don’t have kids and have not often been around them. I don’t know if I’d be any better in my interactions with them then the parents I see at the library. Yesterday, a mother was screaming, yes screaming in the library, at her four-year-old son “there is no where to play right here.” The boy was spinning around and around with an empty red basket in one hand. Who was he harming? No one. He wasn’t even in the way because he spun in a tight circle, his body gaining momentum as if he could drill a hole through the floor.
There’s a pond in the library. I don’t know what else to call it other than a pond, a body of water on the first floor beneath wide cement stairs that contains no fish, just scattered change from well wishers. The toddlers are fascinated by this. I applaud the parents who let their children touch the water. The children recognize wet. Water drips from their chubby little hands.
I abhor parents that put their child on a leash. They do this buy attaching a back pack, usually in the shape of a monkey, to the child’s back. The monkey’s tail becomes a leash about five feet in length. This contains the child. Just as I think a child should be able to play anywhere that suits their imagination and doesn’t disturb the reality of others, I don’t think children need to be contained in such a way, especially if they’re in the children’s area of the library.
It is creative chaos in the children’s section. There is more than just books. There’s a puppet house with puppets, large building blocks of wood, a canoe shaped item that the kids rock in, some PVC pipe creations ready to be reconfigured, puzzles, computers, desks and chairs. Virtually, a small bit of paradise for children to explore. Let them roam, I say. Let them laugh loudly and thwart the screaming mother’s chastisement…but then remember, I am not a mother.
I regret not having children even though there are many good reasons why I didn’t. First off, I would have to come off all my psychiatric medications. This would be traumatizing, and I suspect the trauma would have a negative effect on my fetus. Then there is the fact that I’ve never been financially stable. Nor would I want my child to inherit schizophrenia from me. I do applaud women in my same situation for going for it despite everything. I have met some of these mothers. Their babies are loved and cared for. As adults, these same babies will probably have a great deal of compassion for the downtrodden. I understand it could go another way, but for today, I am hopeful that mothers with mental illness do well by their children. I am hopeful that mother’s without mental illness do well by their children.