Monday, December 19, 2011

Watch your own kid! (March 3, 2010)

Watch your own kid! 

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged or kept up w/my Facebook page but I have undoubtedly been a bit busy.  With Christmas, the New Year and a new baby, things have been a bit hectic.  I will update my blog with all the good news of our newest addition in the next few days.  As for today’s blog, I thought that this subject that I am going to address needed top priority.   

Since we are in the throws of winter and outdoor activity has pretty much ceased to exist for most toddlers in the colder states, going to an indoor play ground to burn off toddler energy is usually at the top of a mommies “to do” list.  I know that these places are usually crawling with germs but that’s why they’ve invented hand sanitizer.  I also know that the indoor playgrounds this time of year are generally filled to the brim with wild, crazy kids, but what’s a mommy to do?  

When walking into the Polaris Mall and seeing the playground, my son got ecstatic!  When I saw the playground, ecstatic was not my first felt emotion.  I saw that the playground was exceptionally busy, which I knew it would be, but since we had purposely made the trek to the mall for my son to play, play is what he would do.  

My mom had graciously joined us on this outing to the mall and between her and I, Sam was showing us the entire playground.  While out on the playground with Sam I started to observe the parents and their unruly children that were wild in front of me.  I guess I should restate that I observed the lack of parenting going on at the playground. 

First observation was a very young girl, barely one year old, struggling to her feet and trying to crawl up the slide the wrong way, while much bigger, older children were not even paying attention to the small child at the end of the slide and continued to trample over her.  I stopped my son from coming down the slide while I gently removed her from the bottom of the slide.  I had to do this several times until she decided to crawl away.  (This is how young this child was, she could walk but crawling was easier for her)  Taking notice of how young she was I started scanning the playground for a watchful mother, I never did find one. 

Once I felt that Sam was safe and having fun I rejoined my mother who was watching my daughter in her infant carrier.  While I was sitting there talking to my mom and watching Sam out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the same little girl heading for the exit of the playground that led out to the mall.  I jumped up and ran half way across the playground to stop her.  As I ran out to get her I noticed 5 or 6 mothers and fathers right by the exit just sitting on their rears texting on their phones or checking the internet, not even noticing this little girl escaping to the mall.  I took her by her hand and led her back into the playground as I tried to find her mother or father.  I asked 3 or 4 mothers if they had seen an adult with this child, every one of them looked at me as if they were deer caught in headlights.  As I stood there with this child I looked over at my mom who had a look of disbelief on her face at the fact this girl had not been scooped up by a parent.  I walked with this child looking for any sign of a parent for probably 3-5 minutes until a very large lady came over and took her daughter back all the while shaking her head and laughing at her friend as she sat back down and reported to her friend, with chuckles, that her little girl was just about to wonder out to the mall.  No thank you from this lady what-so-ever!  Not that I would have let Sam out of my sight for even a minute, but if I were in that situation and a stranger had him by the hand I would have thanked that stranger for keeping my son inside the playground as apposed to letting him escape.  During the time it took to find her mommy I was happy that my mom had come along as was watching Sam from her seat next to my daughter Mary. 

After the little girl was “safely” back with her mommy, Sam and I went on playing on the slide until he started to get out of control and unruly like the other kids around him.  Once I saw his behavior starting to change I scooped him up off the slide, put his socks back on and escorted him to the stroller where my mom put his shoes back on. After I hooked Mary’s infant carrier back in place on the stroller I reached down to the storage basket underneath to get my keys.  As I was grabbing my keys I saw over my shoulder a crying little girl about Sam’s age; she too was outside the play area and crying for her daddy. 

Since there were only about 5 daddies in the whole play area I figured finding her daddy wouldn’t be too difficult.  I asked her if she knew what her daddy looked like, she said yes.  I told her take my hand and show me who her daddy was as we walked around the circle.  The first two daddies said no, she’s not mine with very heavy hearts.  The third gentleman I approached was a bit older and I asked if he was her grandpa by chance.  He heard me asking this to the little girl and shook his head no and said to me “You must be the child retriever today” I said to him “Someone has to be”.  Finally the fourth guy I came to I didn’t even have to ask if he was her daddy because she leaped into his lap put her crying head on his shoulder and shrieked “DADDY!”  He just said “Hey doll, what’s wrong?”  I told him that she was out wondering in the mall looking for him.  He then said “O my goodness, I didn’t even know, thank you!”  At this time I was so frustrated with the lack of parenting I had just witnessed all I could do was smile and leave.

Once I had rejoined my mom at the stroller and we started to walk away from the playground of hell, we started not just discussing but complaining about what horrible parents there were in that play area.  Not only did I just rescue two children from being lost but God forbid kidnapped!  Both of those parents are lucky, very lucky that their kids weren’t just snatched away and gone for good.  It’s frightening to think how trusting those children were with a stranger.

I don’t know when it started that parents just stopped parenting.  Have people just started having kids to have kids because that’s the thing to do?  If you don’t want to parent then don’t have kids.  I am thankful my mother was there to help look after my two kids while I looked after someone else’s kids otherwise those kids could have been lost because God knows the other mommies and daddies sitting by the exit of the play area showed no willingness to help, they just continued to text and search the internet while their kids ran wild and crazy and unsupervised.  I am thankful that my son didn’t get hit, trampled or jumped on while having fun in the play area.

So to those of you, who are on the receiving end of my rant, please remember that you are parents and your children need discipline and attention while around other children.  A mall play area is not a daycare; there are not trained adults there to supervise your children.  If you are likeminded as me and can’t stand the non-parenting going on then you feel my pain!  I only wish that I had the words at the time to express my concern to these parents who let their children wander off by themselves but as some of you know you don’t think of the good things to say until it’s too late.   

Thanks for reading

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