On Saturday evening we went to a birthday party. It was a child’s first birthday, and the party started at 6.30 pm.
The timing was really weird, but we had to attend. We arrived at 6.45 pm. No one else arrived until after 7 pm.
V was quite happy playing with the balloons. But me… I was totally out of my comfort zone. LagosDad and I didn’t know anyone apart from the hosts – and they were, of course, busy. The hosts and all their guests belong to a different community and don’t speak English very well.
The ladies were all dressed up. Hair done. FULLY made-up. High heels. Tight, tight dresses. One or two of them backless.
All the ladies sat on one end of the table and the men at the other.
I was a bit bewildered, but I dealt with it.
What horrified me was…
A lady came in with her 3 year old son. She sat down opposite me and her son sat next to her. He was excited about all the balloons everywhere and said something like, ‘WOW!’
His mother said to him, ‘Lower your voice!’ His enthusiasm for the balloons didn’t lessen, and again, she said to him, ‘Lower your voice!’ The third time, she threatened to beat him.
A little while later, she was feeding him and he knocked over his glass of juice by mistake. She smacked his hand so hard, her ring flew off!
She then realised that the spilled drink was dripping off the table onto her handbag (which was on the floor).
She slapped him across the face.
She then looked at me, saw me watching her, and said, ‘He just won’t sit still!’
I replied, ‘He’s three. He’s not meant to sit still.’
I don’t think she understood me very well.
The worst part is that when she slapped him, he didn’t cry.
He didn’t flinch.
How often is this child being slapped at home?!
He was a little terror, I was watching him play with some of the other children. I have to admit, he was very rough. LagosDad even commented on that – and he never says anything.
But surely slapping the child at every opportunity is not going to make him behave any better?
I really wish there was something I could do!