Monday, January 31, 2011

Toppling Toddlers

Admittedly, my daughter gets into some situations that make me question my value as a parent.  She's bumped her head crawling under, well everything!  She and I wrestle and roughhouse, much to the chagrin of my wife and mother-in-law.  She comes to my side of the bed in the middle of the night when she wakes up.  She can't put her self back to bed for some reason.  As I carry her back to her room I inevitably  (more than 50% of the time) knock her head against the door. 

I prefaced all that to say that yes, my daughter (and son, mostly at the hands of my daughter) get hurt on a regular basis.  Read my Christmas recap and you'll see even more evidence of the abuse my child takes.  In all seriousness people, do not call CPS, I don't intentionally harm nor do I neglectfully harm my child!  We went to the park yesterday.  It's usually fairly low key, maybe one or two other parents and a few other neighborhood kids.  Not yesterday though!  It was 80 degrees out and everyone took full advantage of a warm winter day!  Yes, now all of you who have twenty feet of snow outside can groan and spite me. I live in Texas for more than just great BBQ, no state income tax, and the joy of being surrounded by illegal aliens.

Note the Bad Ass Thundercats Shirt!
I'm a cool dad!

We loaded up in the wagon and headed down the street.  As we arrived at the park I'd guess there was easily 25 kids and a dozen parents.  As we made our way down the path we first encountered a band (three qualifies as a band, right?) of armed children.  They had a BB gun aimed right at us.  I stared them down as we passed poised to beat someone else's child in front of them had that trigger clicked!  A dad finally said, "you shouldn't point guns at people."  I thought, if that's your child, you're a dick because he shouldn't be allowed to have a gun at the park!  I never could place who was "responsible" for the kids nor who the gun belonged too.  At one point another child had the gun and announced to his dad (same one with the aforementioned sage advice) "Look what I found!"  His dad scolded him and said "you didn't find that so don't say that because you're not keeping it."  Guess he's off the hook.

I let my daughter just run around the five different areas and I was going to chill on the picnic benches while my son played with his assortment of chew toys.  Yes, at 6/7 months they are just like a puppy.  I'd asked my daughter if she wanted me to keep her sunglasses while she played.  Her swift answer was no.  As I'm walking to the benches, wagon in tow, she begins to cry out "Daddy, Daddy, Wait!"  A pair of mothers on the other picnic bench said, "You can't leave, where are you going?"  I don't know if they were commenting on her crying out in jest as I would or if they actually thought I was ditching my kid.  I turned around and she handed me her glasses and trotted off to the fun stuff.

I had to get up to look a few times when she was out of my sight.  Once I thought I heard her cry and it took a bit to track her down but she was fine.  Guess another little girl took a tumble. 

So my thought here is that if your kid hasn't been walking even half their age, they aren't fit to be on their own.  After that, fine they'll survive most things.  I was stretching this thought letting her roam free, but I was a 3-10 second sprint away at all times.

This little 18ish month old kid named Dominic stopped by the wagon and tried to drink my daughter's juice.  His dad followed over shortly and steered him away.  I saw him commandeer another little kid's Tomas The Tank Engine powered scooter thing.  He played with it for a few minutes before the dad finally was like "that's not ours, yada yada yada."   Later I was watching my daughter check out a set of bikes and trikes.  She mounted one of the tricycles to take it for a spin.  She doesn't have one of her own, but I guess playing around in Target and watching kids on TV has taught her a thing or two.  She was able to get those pedals going. 

Well, it turns out this trike belonged to Dominic.  They were just far enough away that I couldn't hear the exchange.  But I could see from my daughter's face that he wasn't happy.  She dismounted and just stood there.  He pushed.  She just stood her ground.  His dad came between the two of them and my daughter just walked away.  He then proceeds to mount another kids bike. So much for playground justice. I walked over to her and asked if she wanted to swing and she more than happily obliged.  No reason to dwell on the negative right kid?

We'd been out there for about 45 minutes when I loaded them up to head home.  As we rounded the corner of the fenced play ground I saw Dominic swinging with his dad.  It was one of those safety swings with the giant yellow latch that comes all the way over the kid and locks to the swing.  Yeah, well it wasn't latched.  In fact, it wasn't down, it was above his head.  Fine, my daughter has knocked her chin into it because she's just a bit small for it, but still safety features exist for a reason.  Dominic and his dad took it one step further.  Dominic was standing in the chair as his dad swung him.  We only had about 15 yards to walk before we crossed directly behind him.  Dominic swung up and flipped straight out of that chair and landed face down in the mulch legs flipping over his back.  I didn't smile nor did I feel good about it, in fact I winced and cringed.  Dominic's dad saw me witness this.  I think he even had the same thought I did roll through his head before it happened.  "You're an idiot and that kid is gonna get hurt."  Sure enough it did.  This wasn't justice, it wasn't even karma (maybe a little) it was stupid parenting. 

Keep the rough housing and areal acrobatics behind closed doors.  Far fewer judges around!

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