Moments of embarrassment all part of the parenthood ride

Professor Robert Kelly's children enter the room as he's being interviewed live on BBC News.
BBC NEWS

Professor Robert Kelly's children enter the room as he's being interviewed live on BBC News.

COLD COFFEE: You have to feel for Professor Robert Kelly, who was widely upstaged by his trio of family members during a live broadcast this week on BBC.

There he was, dressed in a suit – well, at least the top half above the desk was – giving a live interview on some dry, albeit no doubt fascinating topic, of tensions between North and South Korea.

Then Little Miss Sass Queen walks in, hair in pigtails, swagger on point, standing out like a beacon of toddlerhood rebellion in her bright yellow sweater and adorable glasses.

Professor Robert Kelly's wife reaches desperately for the door after removing their children from the room.
BBC NEWS

Professor Robert Kelly's wife reaches desperately for the door after removing their children from the room.

The palpable shock on Professor Kelly's face, that has now been witnessed by millions of people across the world thanks to the internet, just worsened as Sass Queen's little bro slid on in to see what all the fuss was about, gliding around in his walker.

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In the week that was dominated by a focus around International Women's Day, it was clear in just a few short seconds of this video clip that it is actually small humans that run the world.

When Kelly's wife rushes in to shot, in a move likened to Kramer from Seinfeld, I think a lot of mums and dads felt a lump form in their throat.

We've all been there. It is a true badge of parenthood or for those who care for children, that kids will, at some stage, do exactly the wrong things at exactly the wrong time.

My gut instincts when I saw their mum was to completely and utterly empathise with her.

The devastated look on her face spoke volumes for others who have been in similar positions with their tribe – a moment's inattention, then, disaster.

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My other thought when I saw the video was "Oh god, that poor woman. I bet she just dared to go wees for 30 seconds".  

Multitasking goes to a whole other level when you're responsible for little ones. I have been known some days to hang on rather than go to the loo all day until my husband gets home, just because of the sheer effort it takes to steal 30 seconds of time to yourself.

I could just imagine her saying "Mummy really needs to go to the toilet, oooh look who's on TV, it's daddy! Yep, just look at the TV while mummy goes in here for a second…" then all hell breaks loose.

Since watching the video a few more times (not going to lie, I have watched it a lot), it becomes evident that the family was most probably watching dad on the TV, when old Sass Queen thinks "Hey! I know where dad is, this is my time to shine!", while mum is busy being proud watching her hubby on the world stage.

Baby-on-wheels would have followed his sister because that's what younger siblings do, and the delay on live TV would have provided the perfect amount of time between action and reaction for poor mum.

I can't imagine what the conversation at the dinner table would have been like in that house that night, but I hope they can see the absolute hilarity in the situation, rather than a lot of the banal overreactions by those who seem set on criticising other people's parenting styles.

The point is, these things happen, and it's only once they are on the world stage that it allows many of us to take a big deep breath out and say "Ahh, it's not just me".

That's the backbone of a lot of parenting, I believe. Finding solace in the fact that a lot of what we go through, no matter how alienating it makes us feel, is actually a shared experience among many, many others.

It is a real shame that, like with most things that reach peak level of viral internet status, the original amusement level of the item has been overtaken by those commenting on inter-racial relationships and whether or not the mum was too rough with her kids during their withdrawal.

It's not about that, and I think that probably reflects a lot on what our communities have come to nowadays, especially online.

So while we might not all feature on the heights of live BBC TV – and that's probably a good thing – these moments of embarrassment are part of the very weird and wonderful ride of trying to be in control of the uncontrollable.

And if nothing else, make really good fodder for the traditional 21st birthday ridiculing. 

 - Stuff

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