Sorry guys, this blog is not about my kids (exactly) but it does have to do with being a parent, unfairness, and the fact that sometimes a loud voice and a lot of persistence is just the right type of weapon you need to get the job done.
When Soren was born (homebirth) on his birth certificate we applied for a SS# but never heard back. With tax season here I called around again and found out SS never got our request. I was informed Friday to come down to the Raleigh office that day, file the application and we would have his number by this Thursday so we can get taxes done. Cool beans.
I packed Ashe and Soren up and drove to the office. I know it's cliche to say my kids were on their best behavior but seriously, they were awesome. Like so awesome I feared they may not be my kids but some replica stand ins that were secretly replaced when I wasnt looking.
While there, a little girl about 12 months old happily wobbled over to Soren and made friends with him. She was cute, happy, and well, a baby. While I sat with my boys and kept them occupied after she left I heard her give out a little shriek of happiness. It lasted less than a second long, and the kinds of shrieks Moms and Dads over the world love to hear instead of those other shrieks. Happy, quick, etc.
When this happened I noticed the security guard glanced over in my direction glaring and it looked like he was trying to say something but I couldnt hear him and I had no real reason to think he was talking to me anyway. When he looked away I assumed I misunderstood and he was talking to someone else in my general direction. I went back to keeping the boys occupied while listening for my ticket number (216) to be called.
Another couple minutes went by and the little girl shrieked one more time, quick, happy, then silent. Instantly the guard jumped up, ran over to the parents of the girl and started yelling at them to keep their kid quiet or they would be forced to leave. They left, and the rest of us in the office just stared in shock. Why were they being yelled at over a happy baby? She wasnt really loud, or having a tantrum or causing a disturbance of any kind. She was basically laughing and not even for long.
The guard then turned to me, standing on the other side of the room, and loudly apologized to me for thinking it was my kids, but that I need to know if my kids start making any noise he would remove me from the property.
I honestly was confused and pretty shocked. I had been sitting there perfectly waiting quietly with my kids and because I have kids I am now being singled out? As well as after watching the scene before me moments ago I was just floored. And of course I wasnt quiet about it. I havent yet learned to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes it's not a good thing. This time it was worth it. I've never had to really deal with true unfairness in regards to the law, but I was damned if I was going to stay quiet after watching other parents be treated so unfairly and then have it also turn on me for the simple fact that I was a Mom and had my children with me. Oh hell no.
Calmly I asked if he could clarify his stance. Did he mean he would escort me out until my kids were quiet again and then I could return? Or did he mean he would force me off the property of the office, unable to return to conduct my business? He stated the latter. If I couldnt keep my kids quiet and inline he would remove me from the property and I would not be allowed to come back. I stated back that that was unfair, I was a tax payer, this was not a private business but Social Security. I was there because I needed to be there. And no matter how good of a parent you may be, no one can guarentee a quiet child for the length of time it takes to wait in those offices. He retorted back that any good parent can keep their kids mouth shut.
At this point a few people, young, old, men, women, stood up or pointed at the guard from their seats and started telling him that he was totally wrong and being absolutely unfair. The guard tried to shout them down but they refused and kept it up. He kept yelling this is a government office and like a courthouse it must stay silent including kids!!!!
When he turned back to me to start arguing again I told him point blank I didnt want to hear it, this conversation was done, and ignored him while keeping my kids happy. About 10 minutes later he asked me what my ticket number was. I gave it to him and watched walk over and talk to someone who handles calling the numbers.
10 minutes pass and number 215 was called... then 217, 218, 219,,,, somehow 216 was skipped. I noticed people who came in a lot later than I were being seen. I cant prove my number was skipped, but there it is.
I waited until almost 4 pm when I had enough. My kids were tired, I was stressed, and I had to get home to meet Xavier from school. I got my kids packed up and as we were getting off the chairs Ashes foot accidentally hit the chair leg. Instantly the guard was yelling at me from across the room. I walked to the door ignoring the guard until I realized I couldnt leave without saying one more thing. I asked Ashe to wait one moment and walked up to the guard and very quietly said I am so sorry he felt he must have the last word and use his authority in arrogance instead of helping people like he is supposed to. I'm sorrier that he was so ignorant on what it really is like to be a parent and what kids are really like. And I walked away, ashe holding my hand, Soren clinging to my neck, ignoring the yells about how *I'm* the ignorant one.
There is just no way I could let this pass. So I started investigating. I looked up laws online, I posted in several forums seeking answers. I emailed the local news stations (not like I honestly think they would pick up the story but hey, I figured if no one can help me after this weekend at least I can say I tried all avenues. And I havent heard back from them so Im sure that was a dud). And Monday morning I called and called and called SS for over an hour until I talked to a live person and was transferred to the manager. I left a voicemail, thinking it would be ignored.
Much to my surprise (and utter happiness) I was called back within an hour. I told my story above and was given the information to also file a formal complaint with Federal Protection Services who employs the guard. Expressing concern as I have to go back on Wed to try again and did not want any more issues cropping up, he told me to call him and he would personally escort me and ensure my business is conducted safely.
Next, I called FPS and was told an investigator would call me in a day or two. 30 minutes later an investigator called me. I gave him my story. He is a father of 5 children and would be trying to apologize to me for this incident while going off about how this is beyond unacceptable in the same sentence. The end result is that I am to bring a written statement, and he will meet me at the office Wed morning, personally escort me too, take my statement, and start a full investigation.
Normally I dont complain. I get it on the basic level of common courtesy. Kids are loud and annoying in small areas. And can be too much of a distraction in certain areas like government offices. However there is a difference between understanding this line of thought,asking parents of unruly children to take them outside or somewhere else temporarily until they are calm again, and going past the line of decency to point out parents of children, treat them differently and unfairly especially in front of a large crowd of people, and purposely (though I cant prove it!!) manipulate things so they are not seen in order to prove who has more power, just because they "can". Well big guy you can't. At least you cant get away with it in the long run. I've never seen myself as an activist of any sort (I'm too lazy generally and have my hands full as it is with three kids). But if I personally see something wrong happen I'm not quiet about it. I dont ignore it. And if it's then turned on me for speaking out, well I may be female, but I have bigger balls than many men and have been known to wield them from time to time.
So it should be interesting to see what happens this Wed morning as I am escorted by not only the manager of the office, but a FPS officer with baby Soren strapped to my chest, my bright red stripe a beacon of rebellion and refusal to go down quietly. I do wonder how the scene will unfold. I wish I was able to record the guards face as I enter the office, but my hands will be filled with vast amounts of paperwork in one hand, baby in the other. But I promise you while I may keep serene and as professional as possible, I don't think I'll be able to keep the gleam of triumph out of my eyes (and ok if Im honest I might smirk a bit too. I think I earned it damnit).
I'll update on this when I can! Until then, Rebel onward!