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Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Prince, Public Toilets and other Peoples’ Children

03 January 2013 – I know the title of today’s instalment sounds like I’ve been up to some nefarious activity but it’s the easiest way to explain recent events at Freeport at Talke.

During a pre-Christmas shopping trip I was mooching through the shopping mall when the call of nature struck me. The public lavatories are situated upstairs so I stepped onto the escalator and was travelling upwards when I noticed a small boy beside me holding the hem of my jacket. I looked around to see his mother at the bottom looking up with smiling encouragement for her son. We reached the top and he released his grip on my jacket and calmly walked over to a man, who I presumed to be his father. No nod of recognition came from the man as he took the boys hand and led him into the cafe.

Either I have a trusting demeanour or these were parents without the cotton-wool 427px-Prince_Albert-1842mentality of child-raising.

I followed another father and son into the public convenience, and they secured themselves behind a cubicle door; pity it didn’t hold the boys conversation inside. At first myself and the other patrons heard – “Are you having a wee too, daddy?”  This was followed by “Daddy, why do you have a big earring in your willy?” Needless to say, there were a few of us taking longer to wash our hands at the basins, eager to catch a glimpse of the father that we now knew had a Prince Albert nestling inside his Y fronts.

A few minutes later I’m sat in the café enjoying a cuppa when at the table next to ours a small girl, aged around three or four turns to her mother and says, “I need toilet.” Her mother takes her by the hand and leads her a few paces from the table, points in the direction of the public facilities, approximately seventy-five yards away around a slight bend in the corridor and lets the child wander off on her own while she sits back down to continue drinking her coffee and munching on a cupcake.

I wasn’t the only person there that looked suitably shocked.

As the child returned  safe and sound; although can we be sure she washed her hands? I switched on my iPod and left as Nina Simone sang Strange Fruit. As I descended the escalator I thought to myself, strange parenting.

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