I’m walking into the subway station near my apartment, a reasonably rural part of Brooklyn at an off-hour for traveling into Manhattan (which exists from time to time during the week). I see a women standing in the turnstile, moving at a curiously slow pace through it. After a second or two, I see a three or four-year-old boy pop out from under the turnstile. She was helping him walk through it together.
After going through the turnstile, there is a staircase to go down to the train platform. The little boy runs to the top of the stairs and stops. He grabs the railing to wait for his mom, like he just did with the turnstile, or to possibly go down the stairs that way that toddlers do: one step at a time, cautiously.
The mother sees her train—a shuttle train that is known for coming frequently and waiting at the station a long time for passengers—on the platform. This causes the mother to run down the stairs swiftly past her son. She turns around to say, “No, I’m not picking you up,” like he can run down the stairs. Like it was his fault for being so slow. As if his response was going to be, “Sorry mother, I’ll quit dilly-dallying.”
Instead, the little boy plants his feet at the top of the stairs and begins to cry, as children do. She has to take a walk of shame past me to go back to the top of the stairs and pick him up. I’m not a parent, I don’t even have a pet, but this has nothing to do with how to raise a kid. I’ve just seen and been a child myself.