I have always hated those women who brandish their pushchairs like some sort of weapon. Now though, I appear to have become one. A few weeks ago, Rich and I took Rosa and my stepdaughter Scarlett to Oxford accompanied by Auntie Kay and her two little girls. We had a fab time at the Pitt Rivers Museum (although this is possibly the world’s worst museum for pushchair users…next time I’ll take the sling) and the girls really enjoyed the special kids activities that had been laid on for half term. We took the train, as Scarlett had especially wanted to travel that way and it’s actually quicker to get to Oxford by train than by car from where we live.
We arrived in Oxford with three very hungry little girls (Rosa doesn’t count) in tow, and ended up going to Pizza Hut as it was en route to the museum and it was raining cats and dogs. We will never go to Pizza Hut again! After queuing on the street for several minutes, a really stroppy girl, who had irritatingly kept shouting “Can you shut the door, please!” whilst we were queuing out of the door with four small children, finally served us. I would have loved to shut the bloody door and be in the warmth, but there were too many people queuing and I couldn’t fit my pushchair inside. After asking if we’d booked (snigger, this was Pizza Hut for god’s sake, at lunchtime) she asked, “How many?” We said that we were seven in total. She then said, with a look of absolute disgust on her face, ” AND a pushchair?”. Yes, you dark-rooted, bottle blonde oik with a complete lack of understanding of the meaning of customer service. A pushchair. Because heaven forbid that people might have the audacity to bring a pushchair into a restaurant that has a kids’ menu. I was by this stage, fuming, and whispering murderously to Rich, “Let’s go, now!” But it was too late and our party was on the way to our table.
Then on the way back, the train was a nightmare. I followed a wheelchair user and the Train Manager down the train as a ramp was being produced that I thought might be handy. The Train Manager said, ” Ohhh, I’ve got several pushchairs on board today”, implying that he might not be able to accommodate us. Jeez, I bet he wouldn’t have said that to the wheelchair user. On that day, I couldn’t fold the pushchair up, because it was very wet and also as we were on a day trip there was a lot of stuff attached to it. Anyhow, there was space and all was well. But twice on that day we were made to feel like a great inconvenience because we had a pushchair with us. I find this really annoying. Parents of young children, who are not exactly a tiny minority group, are going to use pushchairs. Public transport, restaurants and attractions really should be able to cope with parents, children and their pushchairs! Unless the message is that young kids aren’t welcome in those places, of course. Now, not only do I understand the mums angrily wielding their pushchairs, but I’ve joined ’em.