Monday, June 27, 2011

Parking Lots

How did it get to be the end of June? I have no idea. I whined to Jeff last night that summer is almost over, which is a pretty good indication of my relationship to "the glass is half full." It takes a special and virulent strain of pessissm to turn a beautiful, late June day into dread about snowboots to be worn at least 5 months in the future. What can I say? I have a gift.

I am getting really good at my day job, which consists of being with one or mre of my children and being what I like to call a "caregiver." Today, for instance, I took Simon and Sadie to the park across the street after nap time. It was around 4:15 p.m. and the park was full of young kids and their nannies/mommies/daddies/caregivers. I was especially inspired by a group of parents who worked together to remove a condom that someone left dangling from the slide. Ours is a strong community so in mere moments someone had grabbed a wipe out of someone else's diaper bag and sanitarily removed the (unused, god, I hope it was unused) prophylactic from the tots' play area. That all happened by 4:16 p.m.

More good times were in store when a little boy about 4 years old started howling in pain as he grabbed his leg. This was not a display of tears to get attention; he seemed to be in true pain. I think he was stung by a bee, which is all dramatic enough. The even more gut wrenching part was that his caregiver/nanny was really busy sending a super important text and was unable to tear herself away from her smartphone to attend to the poor little guy. When she finally roused herself from what was no doubt a riveting conversation with another nanny similarly ignoring a child she was employed to care for, the little boy had been crying for a few minutes. I had both Sadie and Simon and was unable to do much beyond ask who was in charge of him (hey, someone has to take an oversight role), but when his nanny did reach him, she did not offer him coos of comfort and succor. Basically, she reamed him for crying and ruining her Gchat session. I have a pretty strong policy about supporting other mothers and their choices and not tearing them down. Nannies, however, are not part of that policy as it's currently outlined in my head. Sorry, but I think the least she could do is give him a hug and let him cry or have his feelings.

So, to the nanny at the park who is not concerned about bee stings, I send a shout out of gratitude because (1) you made me see how obnoxious it is to text when you could be playing with your kids; (2) you helped me get in touch with gratitude for our nanny who is compassionate and caring and would never berate my children for being so dumb as to get a bee sting in a park; and (3) you helped me feel like an awesome, attentive parent today. So, thank you.

I also happened to witness an interaction where an 7 year old girl was mad at her mother because her mother made her sit in time out after she pushed her brother. The tension was escalating at that end of the park as the little girl was getting madder and madder for being deprived of her chance to slide on the condom rack, I mean, slide. Finally, the little girl (Ava was her name), said, "why don't you shut up?" to her mother. Oh, how the sparks flew then. Mom, ripping her blue tooth out of her ear, said, "You do not talk to me like that. You are not allowed to have any ice cream tonight." The wailing and keening of the little girl bereft for her lost ice cream was sort of heartbreaking and Sadie was starting to get upset. (Sadie, our compassionate little tender heart, hates it when people cry.) Little Ava then said, about 40 times, "But Mom, you said shut up to me all the time and if it's not appropriate, why do you say it to me?" Poor Ava, that didn't go over well at all. Announcing to the park that her mother told her to shut up on several occasions did not bring back any ice cream. I would be surprised if Ava sees any ice cream before July. I don't really have a judgment about this, but I do sort of want to teach Ava that shaming her mom will not bring her any closer to the orange sherbet she so desperately craves. Someone should tell her that.

By the way, the picture above has nothing to do with our park adventures, but I thought it was time to showcase some of Simon's amazingness.

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