Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where is your mom at?
This morning we had playgroup at the park & it was a super nice morning for it too. Logan & I had just been at the gym where I walked on the treadmill for an hour with photographer friend (who woke up feeling gross being 12 weeks pregnant herself & decided lifting was out of the picture), so I was already tired before we got there. The park that we met at is one of the newest parks in town & really quite fun - for older kids. It can be a pain if you have a younger one because it's very difficult to keep track of them there. I've had many heart attacks because Logan has run off somewhere & hid or played in some part of the structure where I couldn't see him. Being the slow, waddling whale that I feel like, it was even more difficult to keep up with him.

When we first got there, Logan was content to eat his snacks & sit on the rocking bench "ride". I was talking with some of the other playgroup moms for a bit while we all sat there & enjoyed each other's company. Soon enough we were interrupted by a very annoying & obviously starved for attention boy (who was about 5 or 6 years old, maybe? I don't know). He got on the swing with us, which was fine because there was plenty of room (there are actually 2 benches attached to a rocking swing thing - it's difficult to explain), but he would interrupt our conversations & wanted us to follow him around the park so he could show us the "gold" in the rocky hill. I told him that Logan wanted to stay there & eat his snacks & I had to stay there with him because I was his mom. This kid didn't give up.

He kept wanting me to play with him, away from Logan. He would run over to the rocks with the "gold" & talk about them from across the playground. At one point he hit his head (I don't know how, because I wasn't watching him) & he came running over to me rather than his mom. I felt like we had just picked up a lost puppy dog & it was all because I humored this kid with conversation when he came to share the ride. We soon relocated to a regular park bench to watch our kids & this kid followed us there, actually taking up the spot of one of my friends. We all began to ask him where his mom was. We had been asking him every now & then, but we didn't get a response. Finally, he pointed to the picnic pavilion where a woman was sitting alone, far away from her son. The other moms & myself began to look at each other & roll our eyes because we knew we had just been "suckered" into being a babysitter for this kid while his mom paid no attention to him at all, or even cared that he was talking to strangers (let alone bothering them) for long periods of time. He ran off from her unsupervised & tagged along with us even though he was uninvited.

We continued to play with our kids on the playground. I followed Logan around as best as I could & he had fun sliding down the slides. At one point, this kid lured him away from the playgroup & over to some large rocks. I could still see Logan from a distance, but in the blink of an eye, he was gone. I figured he was on the other side of the rocks & waddled over there to check. He wasn't there. No, he was running across the soccer field with this kid on the other side of the playground. I yelled to Logan to run back over & that he wasn't supposed to play on the field. He came running back with this lost kid behind him. The kid pipes up about them playing over there, to which I quickly cut him off mid-sentence. "Logan isn't supposed to play over there. He's supposed to stay on the playground where I can see him."

I was shocked that his mom didn't care at all that her son was out of sight & running off far, far away hanging out with strangers. He could have easily been abducted. She would have never known until it was too late. Fortunately, he left shortly there after explaining that he had a dental appointment. "I said good-bye", he told us sternly because once again, he was interrupting our conversation & we didn't immediately respond to him. "Oh, have fun. Bye!", we said relieved that he wouldn't be bothering us anymore.

On on hand, this kid was annoying - like a pesky mosquito. On the other hand, I felt bad for him because he clearly didn't get the social interaction that he desperately needed or the basic discipline & instruction about "stranger danger" & polite communication skills from his own mom. The experience made me so glad that Logan, while having his moments, is a well behaved little kid. Sometimes it takes days like today to remind me of that.


erica said...

Really makes you want to bitchslap parents like that, doesn't it?

We seem to be stuck with viciously aggressive children at our parks, who vary in age from about 15mths to around 8 years old. They slap, punch, bite, and push each other for no reason (they do not know each other it seems, it's just random) and we have actually had kids attempt to push Kira off the swings or the play gyms, telling her "That's mine!!" Their parents aren't even watching or paying attention.

Why don't these people teach their kids about stranger danger? Someone could SO easily pick them up and wander off with them.

Alicia Seevers said...

Unlike you and I, those types of people let there kids run loose and their children will never get abducted. However, if we did the same thing something would happen to our kid for sure. Come to California, we are loaded with those types of Moms!

Dawn B said...

I first kept thinking that maybe this mom was having a really hard time in her life. Like, did she just lose a family member or a job.. something that would make you sit there in a daze while your child ran off like that. But then I also realized, there a people out there who also just don't care. I would never say that she doesn't love her son, but she seems to be pretty clueless.
Scary stuff.