Queue jumping with babies

2012-03-15 12:36

Georgina Guedes

Last week I had the daunting experience of taking my six-month-old son, Henry, to the licensing department in Randburg to reapply for my driver’s licence, which got lost at some point in the fug of second-time motherhood that has preoccupied my last six months. (This was a separate incident to the wallet that was either lifted from or abandoned by me at the Norwood Mall.)

After driving unlicenced for a month or so (or three) – living in terror of getting arrested (I know this is not a true consequence) on my way to drop my daughter at playschool or (worse) to present my halfway-decent self at a client – I decided to get my crap together and get to Randburg.

This was not without its hiccups. I did whatever I could to expedite the process in advance. I went to Spec Savers for an eye test and having my photo taken in advance. I lost the eye test and had to go back. Spec Savers was out of the eye test forms. I went back again; this time taking my mother with me and making her keep the eye test forms.

My mother proved to be something of a godsend in all of this. She needed her licence renewed, and having produced her only offspring (me) years (and years – sigh) ago, is possessed of most of the mental capacity that I currently lack, so she supplied the intelligence and motivation necessary to get me through.

Even though we arrived in Randburg when the light was still gentle and the air still crisp on the appointed day, the queue was already depressingly long. We navigated a narrow staircase with Henry’s pram (no ramps or lifts in this building), and then settled down to wait. Then Henry kicked into action.

My son, bless him, is an easygoing chap. He doesn’t cry much, feeds well and sleeps just about wherever – but he took an instant and intense dislike to the licensing department. He was hungry but refused to feed, tired but refused to rest and he brought out his best shrill shrieks to let us know about the depths of his discontent.

An official appeared. His attitude had less to do with serving the public and more to do with getting the howling baby out of his workplace as quickly as possible. This was made apparent by the fact that he was willing to take me to the front of the queue, but not my mother, so that I could “at least go and sit in the car”.

Fortunately, Henry was writhing and trilling at this point, and my mother had all my documentation, so I had to keep dashing down the passage to get whatever was asked of me. Eventually, in extreme exasperation, he ushered us both through, and bustled us out of the building, impatient to have us gone, even as we tried to thank him.

In general, I’ve been treated fairly well in government or administrative queues courtesy of my state of breeding and motherhood over the past three-and-a-half years. I have been whisked to the front of two different voting lines, and have now had the pleasure of queue jumping at the licensing department.

However, without wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth (much), I would be more reassured if I felt that this was actual policy, rather than the result of sympathetic or irate individuals in each instance. Oh, and ramps or lifts at government buildings should be standard policy.

Until such time, if you take a baby with you in an attempt to be processed quickly, make it a noisy one.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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  • Jennifer - 2012-03-15 13:22

    Ach shame. You have a baby. Not planned, huh? You had no idea what it meant to have a child. Why are you dragging your child to the licensing department? Why was your mother not sitting with the child in the car or under a tree? You, with a baby, want to taken to the front of the queue, a healthy young woman. What about old people, sick people, and just plain tired people who work 12 hour days and have to work in the 2 hours it takes for them to go to the licensing department and renew their license? For goodness sake woman, don't make your problems the rest of the publics.

      MagdaKus - 2012-03-15 13:49

      Well- the grandmother was there to get her own licence, and people with young children cannot afford to organize a baby sitter for everything (the paid & unpaid sort). I don't have any kids- but have plenty of friends who do.

      skootzie - 2012-03-15 14:30

      Everything Jennifer said. And: So you have a baby, and now want special treatment? I think not. YOU had the baby, it's YOUR responsibility. I would be highly pissed off if I was forced back a spot because some woman opened her legs and popped out a kid and now gets ushered to the front of the queue, thereby making ME spend more time at the lisc. Dept. A place nobody wants to be.

      Dean - 2012-03-15 15:05

      I must agree with Jennifer, you are all for woman rights and equality. So then be treated equally all the time, not only when it soots you. It takes two to tango, where was your husband in all this , let me guess, at the golf course????

      Sinjoku - 2012-03-15 21:12

      LOL...I just started a new business I am now renting babies out for the fast track in the queue.... R20,00 per baby, R35,00 for twins.... And R 10,00 per baby sling, R 18,00 per twins sling.... Strollers start from R 50,00. Please look for my Sales rep located in the dark corner of every parking lot at every licence dep.

      Lanfear - 2012-03-16 09:18

      Fully agreed Jennifer and skootzie! @ Sinjokue - brilliant idea, lol

      Mike - 2012-03-16 10:35

      Agreed. And driving for months without a licence Georgina? That's driving without insurance too, disgraceful.

      Princess - 2012-03-16 11:05

      Are you joking? Who in God's name said she hadn't planned her baby? She has a daughter who is older and seems to have her sh*t together (please refer to her profile and career). She did not go out of her way to get special treatment, she was offered help by one of our public service officials, which I think is what she is trying to make a point of. How often don't we hear the bad and not the good. I can only hope that the same sort of treatment would be afforded to someone with a broken limb or who has a medical condition. And for those of you who don't have little ones. Go rent one! I want to see you all handle it with such ease. So much judgement, tsk tsk

  • MagdaKus - 2012-03-15 13:43

    In our country where beggars rent babies to beg with, I am surprised someone is not offering the same service outside the Traffic Dept/ Home Affairs ;-)

  • koo.doyle - 2012-03-15 14:01

    Was there no-one that could have watched your child for you? I understand the old and frail, but I agree, your child should not be the public's problem.

  • Sean - 2012-03-15 14:12

    Would you like some cheese with that wine? Join the queue like everybody else and stop using your baby as an excuse for emotional blackmail. Yes i have kids, 2 of them, so don't even go there.

  • Georgina - 2012-03-15 14:24

    Golly, you people probably resent those spaces reserved for mothers with small children outside the entrances to shopping centres as well. I think that all people who are in situations that make queuing less easy should be accommodated - aged, invalid or mothers of small children. I never resent a queue jumper if the rationale is valid. I took my child with me for various reasons, and there are many other mothers who would do the same. Mothers, the aged and people with special needs from all walks of life all make up "the public", and public organisations should have policies for dealing with all of them.

      koo.doyle - 2012-03-15 14:57

      As do the tired, and the sick of queueing make up "the public". No-one enjoys it, and I fail to see why I should have to queue for even longer to accommodate your child. You chose to have a child, and chose to bring it with you. Its a different story if you were sick, disabled, frail, sorry.

      skootzie - 2012-03-15 15:08

      "Golly, you people probably resent those spaces reserved for mothers with small children outside the entrances to shopping centres as well." - No, not really - as this doesn't directly affect me at all, I simply park somewhere else. Queuing is different, it's more "personal". If however, I was waiting for a parking spot and you got given the one I was waiting for simply because you had a "im so awesome because I had a kid" sign in your car, then yes, I would be rather resentful. "I think that all people who are in situations that make queuing less easy should be accommodated - aged, invalid or mothers of small children" - You have brought that situation upon yourself. Hire a nanny, or get someone to assist with caring for your child while you do what needs to be done. Don't make your problem, ours. The aged and invalid did not willingly get old or become invalid, you CHOSE to have a baby, therefore you can deal with the consequences of that decision. I've given up my spot for an elderly lady plenty of times, but I'll be damned if I'll give up my spot because you brought your howling kid along.

      Rehan.Harmse - 2012-03-15 15:16

      Really, think about it, in SA you will have a longer "mothers" que then the normal que and then, what then? Are you going to complain that your kid is more important and that you need to be helped first. Sorry Georgina, I can't agree, because if there is a rule/law like that, I will rather send my wife and my kids to que and believe me, I'm not the only one that will do that, there is + - 25 Million others that will also think of that.

      Rehan.Harmse - 2012-03-15 15:33

      I thought about it for 27 minutes and you know....I still feel the same about it....

      Michael Stephenson - 2012-03-15 15:43

      Children shouldn't be allowed in shopping centres. They should be kept in the basement until they old enough to behave.

      Michael Stephenson - 2012-03-15 15:51

      And since when does a mother have special needs? Do you suddenly require to be spoon fed blended vegetables? Do you wear leg braces or does having a baby suddenly make you totally incapable of normal living?? If so, next time remember, no glove no love, darling.

      celeste.rsa - 2012-03-15 21:29

      Why do moms need reserved bays anyway? You don't become disabled after having a baby. I should know, I've had a few!

      MagdaKus - 2012-03-15 21:59

      Sheesh- a lot of intolerance out there ;-) I still stand by my comment above. The problem is no one wants a screaming child- not the friends the mother is visiting, not the fellow passengers on any public transport, etc, etc. To make everyone happy, one would have to (as another reader commented) lock the child up in a basement till they grow up. Lets face it- who can afford a nanny all the time (another reader's suggestion!). To clarify I am the occasionally annoyed friend- not a mom ;-)

      skootzie - 2012-03-16 07:36

      celeste.rsa : No, but many a mom seems to think they have performed some kind of miracle. I've seen plenty of mom's park in a normal baby, remove the prame, shove baby in it and walk off. Why they need a SPECIAL bay is beyond me. Rather give that bay to someone that NEEDS it, like some poor bugger in a wheelchair, or an elderly person with a walker.

      Knortjoppie - 2012-03-18 09:43

      I didn't force you to get knocked up so don't make it our problem. Why don't you get your husband to watch the little brat?

  • Ryno - 2012-03-15 14:30

    You have children , your responsibility.....We all hate to queue and my time is just as important to me like anyone elses.Welcome to the world.

  • Warmonger - 2012-03-15 14:44

    And here I was thinking I might be in the minority with my views on mothers-with-children, and que jumping. I'm sorry, but that is just NOT On! My time is just as valuable as your, and if I made the effort to be there before you then I should be served before you. And if your (or ANYONES!!) child runs amok and screams, then be prepared to have your child yelled at, by me no less. The ONLY people I make way for are those that walk with aid (stick, ring, frame, etc.), and those in wheelchairs. It wasn't their choice, kids were yours.

  • mike.louw - 2012-03-15 14:54

    What makes you think that by been another person who is overpopulating the planet you should qualify for special treatment. You had this child by choice (at least I hope so), if not then please visit the family planning clinic before it happens again. I do not see why you should be treated any differently to anyone who does not have a child. Having a little brat is a choice you make, not like us who do not have a choice when bothered by your children in confined spaces like malls, airplanes, license departments etc. People with disabilities and the aged deserve special treatment, as their afflictions are not planned for or wanted by them. Yes, you are right, I do not have any children and do not want any either. So please, stand in the line and wait your turn and try keep the brat under control!

  • Rehan.Harmse - 2012-03-15 15:04

    Shame, I feel for you. Just to bad that people like you, in a couple of years, will write an article complaining about "mothers that jump the que, because they have babies", because then your little ones are grown up and others peoples babies is not your problem....right, right....

  • Michael Stephenson - 2012-03-15 15:40

    Awesome. Next time I'm in a government department queue I'll just complain that I have a major case of the squirts. At least that's not a choice. If you were pushed in front of me when I had been there 1st I would have a major problem with that. We all got lives to live lady, just because you squeezed out a tot doesn't mean your time is any more valuable than mine.

  • Deon - 2012-03-15 15:43

    And then you have the guts to brag about this. Just because you opened your legs and popped a brat nine months later does NOT give you special rights. Breeding is a choice and does not qualify you for special treatment over others who choose not to.

  • liezl.frauendorf - 2012-03-15 15:54

    I am sorry but no sympathy! You decided to have the baby and keep it so deal with it..... No special treatment needed

  • Barrie - 2012-03-15 15:54

    Agree with most of the comments, no special treatment if you decide to bring your kids along to government departments etc, thats what family, friends, partners & creche are there for. Only time I think special treatment is necessary is for the elderly, disabled and pregnant mothers.

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-03-15 16:28

    Good grief - what a sense of humour failure! And the point made about the need for ramps or lifts is very valid as I had to visit the place on crutches and it was no fun at all.

      skootzie - 2012-03-16 07:03

      There is nothing humorous about the author's desire for special treatment simply because she brought her baby (a most unpredictable creature) to the bloody licensing department. The epitome of QUEUING. Her time is not any more valuable than ours. Her life is no more inconvenienced than ours.

  • Jo - 2012-03-15 17:56

    "Until such time, if you take a baby with you in an attempt to be processed quickly, make it a noisy one" That's unfair. You're encouraging people to take their screaming children as blackmail to get to the front of the queue. What about all the poor people who have to listen to this. Queuing is bad enough as it is.

  • Sam - 2012-03-15 18:23

    Why is it that perfectly sane women somehow feel that they have become sacred just because they have a kid? Deal with it, and don't make this someone else's problem. Do you also take your child with you to clients, incidentally? Mmm... I thought not.

  • Vaal-Donkie - 2012-03-15 18:34

    I always say "excuse me, I'mn a doctor" if I want to jump queues.

  • Olga Da Polga - 2012-03-15 23:46

    I can't decide if the people who have commented on this article are:\r\n\r\nA. Sorely lacking in a sense of irony\r\nB. Misogynists\r\nC. Unbelievably stupid\r\nD. All of the above or\r\nE. Taking the piss\r\n\r\nTo those of who wouldn't allow a young mom with an unhappy baby to go ahead of you, I pity you the day you do have 'the squirts', a gammy leg, a 12-hour day behind you, or some other ailment, because the young mom will be the only person kind enough to let you queue-jump. \r\n\r\nAnd, for the record, people don't expect special privileges because they have babies. But they do expect a bit of human decency. The lot of you should be utterly ashamed of yourselves.

      skootzie - 2012-03-16 06:59

      So let me get this straight. Mom A brings her baby to the Licensing Department, a place where she KNOWS she is going to have to queue, probably for a while as well. And now everyone else (who have been waiting much longer than she has) must make like the Red Sea and part for her self-glorified holiness? LOL! I think not. SHE brought the child with her, SHE can deal with the consequences. If you want to talk about human decency, how about the human decency to NOT subject those around you to your problems? How about the decency to NOT subject your child to that type of environment? How about having the decency to use a little common sense? She knew she was going to have to queue, she could have made a plan. Her mother could have gone to the department one day, and she another (with her mother looking after the baby during that time). Husband? Boyfriend? Baby-Loving Friend? A one day nanny? A creche? A basement? There are many alternatives that a mother can use, but expecting special treatment just because her life is inconvenienced by her screaming offspring? HAH! If that is the case, then I expect to be placed at the front of the queue because my employer would be inconvenienced by my absence from work. Mkay? Good.

      koo.doyle - 2012-03-16 07:18

      Human decency would be to not bring a screaming child with you to a government department. We all agreed that disabled, ill, aged should be given preferential treatment. Having a child is a choice. Up yours for saying we should be ashamed of ourselves.

  • Nico - 2012-03-16 02:23

    Your choice, your problem...please plan better.

  • Silvana - 2012-03-16 06:59

    Now here's a business opportunity. Rent-A-Baby so you can jump queues. Lady it's about time you get your act together. We all know how long it takes to get through the queues in government departments. So taking a baby with you is ludicrous. You have a mother who sounds competent; spoil her and leave your baby with her.

  • Estelle - 2012-03-16 07:53

    Oh my goodness, are the parking bays reserved for mothers not enough. If you know that you have to go to a place which could be time consuming for ALL, why not leave the child in someone's care. No you would prefer to play the role of a distressed mother, struggling with an irritable child, forcing the other irritated people around you to allow you to be assisted first in order for them to get some peace and quietness. Many woman are mothers and have all been in similar situations. They however have not used their children as disguises to get preferential treatment. Next time, join the queues without your child and enjoy the privilege of being less superior than others.

  • Shade - 2012-03-16 08:25

    wait I have a positive solution make more till points available upgrade the systems and software and give more people jobs. There are a lots of jobs needed so that everyone doesn't have to wait forever in line for service! How about that!

  • anna.skeenkuhni - 2012-03-17 12:02

    I can't believe these comments. Do people in SA think you should always leave your baby at home? I took my son everywhere with me from birth onwards. I cettainly wouldn't leave him with an uneducated domestic worker for hours on end! If i have to queue somewhere he comes to unless his granny can watch him. Try to be more supoortive of mothers, families, in general. Human kindness and decency aremalways welcome. And i often let the aged or infirm go ahead of me in queues. There but for the grace of god...

      Sam - 2012-03-18 10:25

      'And i often let the aged or infirm go ahead of me in queues. There but for the grace of god... ' So you'd rather not get old then?

  • Phoenix - 2012-03-18 12:24

    Simple solution: government departments should not allow children and babies in queues.

  • Phoenix - 2012-03-18 12:25

    "courtesy of my state of breeding" ... "now had the pleasure of queue jumping" Seriously???

  • Jamie - 2012-03-21 09:57

    All these people complaining about queue jumping would be the same people complaining about listening to a screaming baby for 2 hours! Get over it! It took her 5 minutes to get out and let you wait in peace.

  • Michael - 2012-03-21 12:20

    I should respect your opinion but quite frankly I don't. The rest of us common folk have to stand in Queues to get our license replaced if we lose it, which is what I'm convinced of, based on your apt description of your scurrying around and not being able to manage without your mommy to hold onto an eye test that you had previously lost. 70% of our population is still marginalised and they have to stand in queues for hours just to get their government grants just so that they can survive, some miss the cut off then have to walk home, often many kilometers, to return the next day. Many of them have children that they have to take along. I know I have to respect your opinion but I don't, you're a self centred middle aged brat.

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