The Poor Little Babies Up North

Thursday, December 2, 2010
This has been quite an unfortunate week for me. As I shared in a previous post, I have been suffering a neck injury which I've been nursing along, only to, as Alice in Wonderland did, put my foot down a rabbit hole on Sunday, while walking back from the neighbour's house. But unlike Alice I didn't plunge into a curious underworld, but instead twisted my ankle and hobbled back to the house.

To add to all this, I woke this morning with a swollen, flaming red eye. From an infant I have been prone to these, but I have not had one for 3 years. Because of my history with corneal infections which can turn into corneal blisters, I have to go straight to my opthalmologist. I rang this morning and he agreed to see me at 11 o'clock. So while a friend minded the older three children, my little Alice and I parked on a busy street in Merivale and took a leisurely walk in the fresh air down to the prestigious, shiny, professional offices of my esteemed and venerable eye-doctor - just a stone's throw from where Alice was born two years ago at St. George's Hospital.

It always makes me smile a little when I go into my opthalmologist's waiting room, because every time I have been there, I have always been the youngest. Lots and lots of old people - I suppose getting their glaucoma checked.

 I squeezed the baby buggy around the walkers and sat down. Alice wanted to get out and sit in the chair next to me, so I lifted her out and sat her down in the chair. An elderly couple across from me were talking rather loudly about how long they had been waiting.

"We'll be getting square bottoms, sitting here."
"Yes. Next time we'll know to come later instead of on time."

A dear little old lady across from me, in her beautiful linen skirt and jacket and white lacy blouse and set hair smiled at me and Alice alot, and she tried to say hello to Alice.
Alice would keep putting her face into my neck and shyly looking back at the old lady, who thought (my little boy - until I told her the name) was very amusing. (After all, they are there to get their eyes checked)!

Then Alice saw another lady reading a magazine with a pretty baby on the cover.
"Baba!" she said, in her loud voice. Everyone smiled, and the lady gave her the magazine to keep her happy.
I do like old ladies. They seem to instinctively know what to do to amuse little children, and don't mind a bit of self-sacrificing.

Alice kept herself very happy looking at all the pretty little pictures of the pretty little baby.

 Then she started kissing the baby in the photos.
"Mmmmwah. Baba."
"Mmmmwah. Mmmmmwah. Baba!"

"The dear little pet," said the dear old lady in the nice suit across from me.
"You can tell she is loved and from a nice home. Not like those poor little babies up north. It's such a shame. They wouldn't know how to do that. They wouldn't get any of that, would they?"

I nodded and sympathised and agreed with her (you're supposed to do that with old ladies who are partially blind, aren't you), but I really did start to wonder who she was talking about? Did I miss something dreadful in the news this morning? Or maybe she was making a sweeping generalisation about all the unknown poor unfortunates who live north of Christchurch.  I don't know. I sympathised with her though. I know in general what she is talking about - and I wish I didn't.

But it did pass the waiting time quite nicely to amuse the old dears with my sweet baby girl and her kissing the photos in the magazine.


Heather L. said...

What a great story!! I love older ladies. In Scotland, one of my best friends was in her 80's. So do you guys use the term "pet" -- definitely a Scottish thing as well.

Cate said...

How lovely, but I am truly curious as to who the unloved babies up north are??

Rachel said...

Yes Heather - although I think it is dying out with a certain generation. It's not used by the younger ones, at any rate. We have a very strong Scottish heritage here in the south island of NZ. My ancestors were Scots!
I too, am curious Cate. I thought maybe I'd missed something on the news that morning. I suppose she was making a generalisation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,

Sounds alot like me here. I fell down the newly stained wood floor stairs in October and have been in a brace for that long. Still in some pain. It's a slow process. What I found interesting is that you and I seem to have a similar issue with our eyes too. I have to keep going to the opthamologist every 6 months because I keep having some kind of viral infection in my eye. Finally have it under way, but am taking eye drops to be sure they're gone.

Your story blessed my heart. Gotta love those little ones of yours. They're just so cute!

P.S., I'm having blog designing done as we speak. Can't wait to share with you when it's done!

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