Sunday, January 25, 2009

In a heart beat....! exactly 1:52 pm...I nearly ended the lives of two little boys riding a bike in the streets in my neighborhood. I know what the time was because I looked at my watch to see exactly when my life and the lives of those children had almost been changed forever. It was so damn close I very nearly rediscovered my lunch from the shock.

I have often wondered through the years just how mothers can allow such small children free reign in the streets of Bahrain. I noticed this odd phenomenon when I first arrived on these shores 22 years ago...the astounding number of very small children that just run, from early morning until mahgreb, in the streets...without supervision of any kind. We are talking 3 and 4 year olds...I wouldnt allow my 3 and 4 year olds to be on a separate floor from me in our two floor govt house years back...much less let them play outside...I dont get this blase' approach to childcare over here that completely lacks that "OMG wheres my child?" awareness that I felt a million times every day of their young lives (and still do even though they are mostly grown). It just doesnt seem to be apparent here. (for some)

I realize that mothers love their children here no less than anywhere else in the world...Im not saying there is no love...Im saying there just doesnt seem to be concern...which is a very different thing.

I often read of children dying through "accidents" and when I read how they died the first thing Im thinking is..."where were the parents....the mom?". Those two little boys that drowned last year is case in point. They were 7 and 8 if I recall and drowned while swimming alone...the parents and the whole neighborhood was up in arms blaming sand robbers for making pits in the beach that its believed the boys fell into and drowned. I understand her anguish and loss but I want to know...why were a 7 and 8 year old allowed to swim alone in the first place? And apparently it was common practice for them to do it wasnt a one off that we can excuse the mom and say she really didnt know what they were up to. I just dont get it.

I do realize that even with the closest of supervision accidents can and do happen with small having said can we even for a moment allow them to walk blind into the jaws of danger by opening the front door and letting them face the dangers alone....I just dont get it.

The mother of those two little boys I nearly ran over would have cried for the rest of her life if the worst had happened...and for sure she would have blamed me and maybe even cursed me for the breaking of her I would blame myself no doubt...but would she ever consider that there is some blame on her part as well? Why would she allow her 2 very small children to play in a busy street without her there watching over them...why allow them to worry about their own safety when they cant even wipe their own noses when needed?

I almost ran over and possibly killed two little boys yesterday that had no business being where they were...and yet as I drove away, heart pounding in my throat, sweat dripping from my brow, and my lunch deciding whether it was staying put or not...all I could think about was this...

This time they were lucky.

I just dont get it.


Sabra said...

How about why no one seat-belts their children in cars, CR? Or child safety seats? [What are those?!?] Kids run freely in the malls - no where near their mothers and the maids/nannies. I agree with you - I wouldn't let my child out of my sight until he was about ten! And, even then I was reluctant. I'm sure he was the ONLY kid in junior high school that had an "after-school companion" [we didn't call her the babysitter]. You didn't hit them, and that's the important thing.

Terri's Space said...

You really can't win for losing with some (I want to say these) people. On one hand...they're quick to blame others for their misfortune...but on the other hand...according to their's God's will. So.... I don't even try to understand it...because you can not apply common sense to it.

I would have NEVER let my son go swimming alone...and 3 and 4 year olds out side playing alone. Sounds pretty stupid...and a kidnappers dream. Not that I'm one to believe a child kidnapper is on every corner...but damn people you're entrusted with these young peoples your job as a parent. Being a parent is more than just popping out a baby and feeding it.

Aynur said...

I could never do that with my kids - my oldest is almost 4 but there is no way I would let her play outside by herself. A kid that age doesn't understand not to run in front of a car, or to stay out of the middle of the road, etc.

Terri's Space said...

Coolred....I just thought of a time when I had a close call with a kid on a bike in the scared the shit out of me...I got out of the car...yelled at his ass and told him to watch where he was going and that really I don't give a shit about you...I just don't want to endure the psychological trauma I'm going to have if I were to have hit you. He was all scared...I was irate. Looking back's funny. But you can ruin your life if you hit one of these untrained little freaks.

Suroor said...

What a terrifying experience!

Coolred, I think many mums are too tired of so many kids. I mean Khaleeji families have way too many kids to look after despite the fact that they have maids. They are into their hair all the time and I think because many mums are uneducated and lost to luxury they can't engage their children in meaningful activities at home. Outside play means the hijab-observing and lazy mums will not accompany them. Seriously, how many abaya clad mums do we see flying after their fast bike-riding kids? It is something deeply cultural and sad that it is no one seems to learn any useful lessons from children lost to accidents. In the end maids are blamed for allowing the child to get run over by a speeding car. No one remembers how rowdy Khaleeji children are, not to forget how insolent as well.

coolred38 said...

I agree with eveyones comments and would like to add this....Ive lost count of the number of times I have nearly ran over an adult Bahraini who blithely steps out into the street without bothering to look in either direction if they assume you WILL stop for them. If the adults havent can we expect children to learn?

chiara said...

My understanding is that it is a point of pride not to look before crossing or not to seem to be looking--some combination of social custom; fatalism; sign of trust in Allah; learned ability to read the traffic conditions while still far back enough; and to see peripherally without turning the head; pride and primacy of the elderly; and lack of awareness of Elmer the Safety Elephant, and his "Stop, look both ways..."

Om Lujain© said...

Those parents are simply uneducated... and sadly don't feel the need to actually take care of their kids. (These kind of parents can be found all over the globe.. I have seen the in other countries.. believe u me! And I have stood there in shock)

I used to get annoyed when I was younger and my mom didn't allow me to go play with my other friends.. (all there parents let them play on their own). My mom wanted to be by our side all the time, we were not allowed on sleep overs. We were to hold her hand when out doors. We were not allowed to venture off into the mall on our own. And she is Saudi.

Anyway.. I understand what you mean.. as I have seen little kids in the malls without any supervision.. at times I stand there trying to get eye contact with their parents so I can give them a dirty look.. and NOTHING.. nobody in site.. that kid could have been kidnapped in a heartbeat.. and the parents wouldn't have known until it was far too late!

The car seat issue is a whole other thing... people think I am crazy for having a car seat for my little girl.. and ask me why I don't just hold her in my lap! AS IF! When I asked some parents why they allow there kids to jump around in the car (I am talking about kids as young as 1 here), and why they don't get them buckled in a Car seat/booster.. whatever.. they just tell me that Enshallah nothing will happen! And if something happens.. it was Gods will! I am Muslim, and I believe that a death that occurs in such a situation is simply bloody MURDER!

lol.. ok.. lemme stop now.. i can keep on going forever! arghhh!

Nocturnal Queen said...

I totally agree.

Two young children (somewhere in the 8-10 age range) nearly drowned when they were walking on or near a dam in my area. They were alone and, if I remember correctly, the parents have been charged with neglect.

My kids are 11 and almost 9. I've given them a little more freedom to go outside without me, but they can't leave the yard and I'm constantly checking on them. Even at their age, I'm still nervous when they're outside without me. Sometimes I don't let them go out at all. I guess I can be overprotective. But there are crazy people out there who will snatch a child in a second. Not to mention the speeders in our neighborhood.

coolred38 said...

Funny thing about the Bahrainis I have nearly run over...even when I honk at them to get their attention...or release some frustration (lol) they still wont look at me..WTF!!!

My children range in age from 21 to 11...I still check on them constantly to know where they are and what they are up to...(not so much the 21 year old...shes starting to get