Some people have suggested on social media that those behind these acts of harassment are possibly jealous stallholders or business rivals. I don’t think so; in all my years of trading at markets I’ve always found my fellow stallholders to be among my staunchest supporters.
For as long as these bullies remain anonymous, I can only speculate on their psychological makeup (let’s face it; calling the police because you don’t like seeing a kid obviously having a great time with his mom at work is pretty hardcore).
I know nothing about the person who spent A MONTH gathering signatures for a petition at Orange Grove Market.
But I know this much about the people behind the two occasions specific to Concord Hospital Market:
The woman who threatened to report me for child abuse last year, according to an email from the head of marketing at the hospital, was not a part of the hospital community; she was there for training for the day, from another hospital >>
In this latest incident where the police were called, I’m told it WAS a hospital staffer, BUT one who doesn’t usually work on Thursdays (market day), so it was her first encounter with Noah.
In other words, NEITHER of these people are part of the market community.
They chose to judge my situation based on a fleeting, one-off observation (OMG child in cot while mom is cooking , therefore this woman needs to go to prison).
They showed their bigotry when they opted to remain ignorant rather than educate themselves on the facts.
The hospital market regulars have seen and interacted with Noah for years and they’re not the ones calling the cops.
These are some of the patrons of Concord Hospital Market – doctors, nurses and other hospital staff. I posted this picture on Instagram months ago (for a laugh) with a caption that said something like – “You know you’re at Concord Hospital Market when…” –
They’re healthcare professionals who, more than probably any other segment of society, would know if Noah was in distress.
On top of all this, should he get attacked by tigers or other imaginary creatures, we are in the grounds of a HOSPITAL.
Given all the facts, are you honestly that concerned about my child’s welfare that you would call the police?
Or are you so malicious that you actually hope I’d get arrested and have my child removed from my care?
Every time this story blows up online, there’s the occasional comment that aligns with the psyche of these bullies.
Some examples of the points they bring up (these are from actual Facebook comments over the last few days; I’m labelling them as trolls since it’d be unkind to post their real names) –
TROLL – This has nothing to do with his Down Syndrome; maybe he was too close to the cooking area.
- You obviously have never seen Noah at the market or you would know his cot is OUTSIDE the tent, facing the side where the customers are served, ie. where no cooking is done.
Remember, the police did their due diligence, checked out everything and found I did NOTHING WRONG.
Also, making vague accusations based on non-existent facts is really unbecoming of someone employed in academia.
- Does it have anything to do with his Down Syndrome? I don’t know since these instigators are anonymous. I’ll tell you this much though – many current and former stallholders have personally contacted me to say –
- they raised their kids at the markets
- the kids loved it
- the public loved it
- nobody ever complained
The only point of difference – Noah has Down Syndrome. I don’t care whether you think his disability means he needs extra attention; it is still discrimination.
TROLL – 5 year old kids, even with a mental age of 18 months, need more stimulation than being in a cot all day.
- He’s NOT in his cot all day; he gets offered plenty of breaks which he usually REJECTS since he prefers to absorb his environment and interact with the public from his cot.
- You’re generalising based on never having spent one single minute with my child, compared to me, his mom and his greatest advocate. YOU SANCTIMONIOUS TWAT.
(I promise you this next one was a real comment, albeit paraphrased since this woman, a teacher at an elite private school, ended up deleting everything she said.)
TROLL – Why doesn’t she send him to childcare? All working parents send their kids to childcare. I have to pay $140 per day for childcare. As a single mum she gets more benefits than all of us.
- Let me get this straight; your employer won’t allow you to bring your kid to work, therefore nobody is allowed to take their kid to work. Right.
- Why do you hold such resentment towards single moms, especially ones working to break out of the cycle of welfare dependency?
- Since when was childcare the only non-criminal option for working parents?
As society grapples with issues regarding workplace flexibility and parents re-entering the workforce, these elitist trolls remain hellbent on maintaining the status quo. Why?
The market regulars accept Noah and engage with him; some like to tell me about their own experiences of living with disability.
One woman lost her Down Syndrome baby many years ago, so she brings small gifts for him.
Another has mosaic Down Syndrome and similarly feels connected to Noah.
Yet another can’t stop regaling me with the latest exploits of his teenage grandson, who has Down Syndrome.
These older folks remember the days when people with disability were kept out of sight of the general public; they think it’s wonderful that I bring Noah with me.
Here’s an idea – next time, before you gripe about why Noah isn’t in childcare instead of being out with me, maybe ask yourself whether some people might think that’s your sugar-coated, guilt-free way of saying he should be in institutionalised care.