Monday, June 2, 2008

Out and about with my 'only, spoiled child'

We went out to the monthly Hall Markets

Holy Cow they are great! I found about 25 different things I want to buy. I guess I will just have to spread that purchasing power out over the next few months. I did buy some lovely wooden cars - only 5 bucks! and a little wooden iron - again, 5 bucks! and some wooden blocks - a whopping 6 bucks!!

There was also a wonderful wool stall. I can't seem to find the card now but exceptionally beautiful raw wools. I am salivating just thinking about all the knitting potential to behold.

There was some very groovy little rides there for children as well. And then the bubster wanted to go on the jumping castle too. Why not, what the hell. So we payed up and off he went.

I got to chatting with the spry, elderly couple who ran the jumping castles. They wanted to know where I was from (the American accent and all, still have it after all these years) I explained. They told me about themselves. He was one of the children sent from Britain on those transport ships, where they sent children away to Australia. Will look that up so I can pin the resource. Certainly, no stranger to grief and difficulty in life.

The topic of family size arose. Casually, I'm asked, "Is he your only?" Sometimes I respond to this question by offering, "Not by design", then see where the chips fall. Always I take a deep breath before deciding which way to go. This time I felt a need for privacy so I just simply, tentatively, non-robustly said, "Yes..........", offering no eye contact. That seems to be the only way I can lie to that question, by avoiding eye contact. I'm surprised by how few people notice that subtlety.

She responded with a chin wag and smile, "Oh, spoiled then." It seemed a forgone conclusion that he would be, no other option it seems. She seems a lovely lady, a grandmotherly type, and in all other aspects an interesting conversationalist, but unbeknown to her, that comment always makes me prickle. So I prickled. Yet I chose to leave it unacknowledged. She, as it turns out, has 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. She was fairly beaming with pride. As one would. I would if I was her.

Because I'm a bereaved parent, I never ever ask the family size question. Never. If I see a family with one child only, I never assume it is by choice. Never. I'd never call an only child spoiled. If I see a couple without children, I don't assume that is the way they want it to be. I'd never give 'how to get pregnant' advice or share a proverbial story like some I've heard: "All he had to do was undue his belt buckle and I was pregnant! Ha Ha!" Just wouldn't do that.

And amongst those things I would never do, I also would never assume that while someone has 5 children, it doesn't mean there haven't been some buried along the way. Often times, the more children a family has, the more chances for loss. Her pride could stem from that.

Yet, I just wasn't going to explore any of that yesterday.

Instead I watched my "only, highly spoiled" son bounce on the jumping castle and ride the rides and grin with joy at receiving another toy (and another). I laughed when he broke out his harmonica to have a play. I watched him eat a fancy cupcake. I payed 5 bucks for him to go into the petting zoo so he could kiss the cow. He had strawberry ice cream too. Pretty lavish day all and all. It wasn't all spoiling, he did eat lunch I brought from home rather than a hotdog. And on the way home he made the comment that "there should be other 'chuldwen' (children) in this car but they are no longer part of life. They 'die-dead' (Died)

Not exactly the words of a spoiled brat.


Kerrie said...

Oh Karin...

That question just irks me, know how it gets to you too. It's seemingly innocuous and inconsequential, an ice breaker even but so, so loaded for bereaved parents.

I, too, used to get it often when Matilda was younger...the assumption used to rile me no end. Here I was, on my own, doing my utmost to bring up my daughter to be a compassionate, kind, thoughtful caring child and so often an assumed comment could bring me undone. For me it was an immediate conversation stopper. Occasionally I used to ask them what they meant by that comment but mostly it was easier to walk away.

Magnus is hardly "spoiled"...I'm not sure you can "spoil" a child they have best before dates..?? A time they need to be used by before they go "off"..?? He is thoughtful, sweet, compassionate and kind. You and Keiron are doing an amazing job at raising him and including his siblings in his life.

Many (((((hugs))))) mate...

Jaded Girl said...


I thank you so much for writing to me and for reaching out to me in my pain. Thank you for the TAC encouragement, I am so glad that you were a success.

I want to say how deeply sorry I am for the losses of your precious babies. (I went to your other site and read your story). It's unbeleivable to think that some of us just have to endure more pain and sadness than others.

I am so HAPPY that you have your son with you, but I know we NEVER forget the children that could have been.

(i am the writer from,you don't allow anonymous comments so i signed in w/my old account.)

kate said...

Hi Karin,

I didn't realize you had a blog until i saw your comment at CLC's. I must say Magnus is looking so big these days, it is amazing! And what a beautiful, and sad story. I would say he is not spoiled at all.

I am not sure you have an invite to my blog, i will check & if not i will send you one.

Lissy said...

There sure should be other "chuldwen" in the car with you. (Sharp intake of breath!) Isn't Magnus amazing & loving.
Your wonderful comments make me regret the big whiney post I just blogged about camping with my kids.
Those markets sound AWESOME. There are some at a school around here that I used to go to a lot before David got sick but they're only on once a month & I can't quite work out when they are now that I'm out of the loop, but I MUST find out. They don't sound as funky as yours though.
In Kangaroo Valley we found this amazing shop that sold beautiful wooden things - the most amazing dolls houses & toys...big sigh...
I'm glad you were able to find some joy at the markets despite the comments that were made...I don't think Magnus could ever be a spoilt brat!
Much love to you all. Hope it's a bit warmer down there than it is here...brrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

Thanks for the insights and perspective. Reading your blog is always such an amazing experience. You are an exceptional writer with a special story to share.

I used to live in Hall many moons ago. I loved the markets. The town was a little haven for me at a mixed up time in life.