The Lazy Life of the Stay at Home Mom

No Comments

Since so many members of our society have pointed out that stay-at-home moms are lazy leeches that suck the very life out of their husbands and do nothing but lie around on the couch all day, I figured I would provide a bit of my own personal experience on this subject. I won’t speak for the other 5.6 million Stay-at-home moms in America, since I can only speak for myself.

Let’s answer a few common questions.

What do you DO all day?

On Mondays, Saturdays and Thursdays, I teach piano lessons in my home. I only have a few students and I wouldn’t consider it to be even a part-time “job”, but it keeps me sane and provides a little bit of grocery money.  I do about 5 online radio live music shows a week, which I do get paid a little for, but this is also not a job that would compare to full time wages. I am part of a daytime play group for my daughter that meets once a week and a couple of local moms’ groups that meet for outings a few times each month at various places like public parks and zoos. I get hired to do occasional recording projects throughout the year for small ensembles and people wishing to give songs as gifts to loved ones. I’m working on a book as a ghost-writer for a man with cerebral palsy and meet with him once a week to type. I occasionally perform in Philadelphia venues where I sell CDs and iTunes downloads, but lately I just haven’t had the time or energy.

Ah yes, and I take care of my child.

 

It must be nice getting to stay home all day. 

Yes, actually it is. I mean, it’s nice that I have that option. However, we don’t just stay home all day. Children need time outdoors every day; the more the better. We spend quite a bit of time at the zoo and the local playgrounds, which is enjoyable. We also spend a lot of time going out to do grocery shopping and household errands, which is not so fun with a small child. There is also this feeling that because I don’t go to work, I need to do ALL of the housework and child care myself, which can feel a bit Cinderella-ish at times. There are some days that I’m literally on my feet cleaning and cooking all day from the moment I get up til the moment I climb back in bed. And I’m always the last to get to bed. Because of the way my schedule works, it can often feel like I haven’t had any “alone” time in days. Maybe some children are content to play quietly on their own, but not my kid. If she is awake, she follows me. Even to the bathroom. Sometimes mommy just wants to pee alone. I often don’t notice this infringement upon my freedom until going to the grocery store by myself feels like a luxury vacation. Still, this is my choice.  I like getting to raise my daughter and enjoy her childhood.

 

So, When are you going back to work?

Before my daughter was born, I spent years in college getting a degree to teach Music Education. Many years.  I transferred colleges. I changed my degree program a couple of times. I worked while in college and struggled to keep up with both classwork and employment. I understand the value of work. I know that a full time job is hard and requires dedication, commitment, self-discipline and all that other crap. I get it. But still….I would say that my life back then was easier in many ways than my life now. Back then, I only had to take care of ME. When I had to be somewhere, I only had to get MYSELF ready. I could even slack on my own self-care. There is no slacking with a child. They can’t skip meals because you’re too busy or go without a diaper change because you just don’t have time. It has to be done. And even when you fulfill all of those basic needs, they may still cry endlessly. I know, none of this answers the original question. I don’t have an answer. Maybe I’ll go back soon. Maybe later. I don’t know right now, but I’ll know when the time is right.

 

 

 

The Epic Battle with Sleep

No Comments

When I’m helping our newborn get to sleep, the routine is pretty much the same each time. After pooping, eating, and bobbling her head around for a bit while people talk and sing words to her that she doesn’t understand, she gets quite sleepy. But she doesn’t want to admit she’s sleepy.

The first stage along her routine for sleeping is denial. She tries to keep her eyes open wide, even though they are obviously looking heavier.

Then comes the stage of “Mommy I am HUNGRY! You will feed me again!” FEED ME!

This stage only results in her sucking on a breast or a bottle for a few moments and then spitting it out to bobble her head about a bit more, looking around as if she has been re-charged with her secret super-fuel.

 

But this super-fuel only lasts for a little while and then begins to wear off…

The next part of her sleep routine involves crying and moving her legs around a lot as if to say, “Mommy, I am in pain! It’s GAS! My diaper is uncomfortable! Bugs are crawling all over my skin! I’m being attacked by the cat and she has eaten one of my feet!”

But none of these things are usually ever happening. So, mommy straps baby into the baby-carrier in hopes of gently coaxing her to sleep with movement and “shhhh”ing. Baby seems to fully believe that being strapped into this contraption will help her stay awake.

It isn’t until she gets inside of it that she realizes that mommy’s seemingly evil “stay awake” device is actually a comfortable “fall asleep” device. Ah, mommy is sneaky, isn’t she little one?

 

It is at this stage in the fall-asleep routine that baby goes through all of the other stages in rapid succession, trying anything she can to make mommy believe that she is NOT sleepy and that some other issue is happening. She cries intensely, kicking her feet and screaming as if she is in pain of at least an 8 on the hospital pain scale. Then, her pain vanishes – and suddenly, she makes signs like she is ravishingly hungry, regardless of how much she has eaten- or spit up.  This stage is a lot like watching the movie “Underworld” during the points in the film where the humans turn into Werewolves.  It looks disturbingly uncomfortable and freakishly scary.

I’m just glad we’ve never had to go through this sleep routine in public. People would think I am starving the poor child.

She holds her head up, trying to keep her eyes open while mommy rocks her. Oh, evil, wicked mommy! Ignoring the cries of her little one! After about 5-10 minutes of baby giving every last effort to stay awake, she falls asleep. Of course, if mommy removes baby from the carrier, she will wake up…so in some way, baby still wins.

For some reason, people that are under a certain age do not like to sleep. When we were children, we would beg our parents to let us stay up later, even if we were exhausted. I remember the glorious day when my parents changed my bedtime from 9 to 10. It was like heaven opened up and showered me with an extra hour in the day. That’s right. Taking an hour of sleep-time and changing it to awake-time makes it seem like the day has more time! Brilliant! If we could only figure out a way to eliminate sleep altogether, we could have 24 full hours of productivity! Or watching TV, which is what I spent that extra hour from 9-10 doing during my entire childhood.

Occasionally, I would get permission to stay up much later than 10 because it was a holiday or a weekend. I remember mustering every bit of strength to stay awake as late as possible to relish in my small victory. But no matter how I tried, sleep always found me. I would try to keep my eyes open while watching the late night shows, but they would eventually become so heavy that I could no longer hold them.

This phenomenon seems to continue into our teenage years, where we want to stay out late and PARTY! Partying to me consisted of going to Wal-mart with my best friend and shopping for sexy underwear, roller skates, twinkies, and other dangerous things that our mothers didn’t want us to have. After all, Wal-mart is open 24 hours, and we needed a place that could stay awake as long as us. And we intended to be awake for a VERY long time. The description of a great night out was dragging ourselves to school the next morning and proudly declaring that we hadn’t slept at all.

We had cars, part time jobs, and the willpower needed to stay up forever. Our parents had to find us in order to make us go to sleep! Yay! Unfortunately, we soon learned that our super-fuel of cheeseburgers and Doritos would only keep us awake for so long. And though we would fight sleep with our late night runs to Wal-mart, K-mart, and any other 24-hour “mart” that wouldn’t throw us out, we always found ourselves in our beds sleeping occasionally. It was a tragedy. Sleep had won, even then, in the prime of our power against it.

It’s possible that college was created in order to make us want to sleep. It’s a huge underground conspiracy between parents. Why do you think parents want their children to go to college so badly? BUT, they make it look like they are helping us in the quest to stay awake.  They remove the obstacle of sleep-enforcing parents. They colonize us with other people that just turned 21 so that we can go out to all of the places that are open really late and are likely to keep us more awake than the flickering fluorescent lights of Wal-mart. They give us LOTS of homework, so that even if we thought about sleeping, we would stay awake to finish all of this WORK. Yay! Finally we win, right? We can stay awake forever!


Unfortunately, this whole situation is only a trick. At first, having a few adult beverages with friends seemed like a power-food that would help us to dance better, have more fun, be more confident, and stay awake all night. But after this initial burst of energy wore off, we soon discovered that we had ingested something similar to Superman’s Kryptonite.

Some students feel so sleepy that they can’t even stay awake long enough to get themselves back home. That’s why so many college students wake up in strange places after having a night out.

The idea that being around people your age all day will keep you awake is only a façade. Because in front of the rows and rows of fun people that might help you in your quest for ultimate sleeplessness is an old person. An old person that wants to teach you things. An old person that wants to teach you boring things.

They stagger these old, boring people with slightly less old, less boring people occasionally so that students don’t catch on to the underlying conspiracy to make them sleep.

example: “No, school isn’t boring! I have this awesome foreign language teacher.”

OK, so there is one teacher that doesn’t bore you to tears….

But most of the teachers are quite boring for a person who hasn’t slept. We were able to stay up for 48+ hours to party, finish our homework in the wee hours before class in the morning, gossip with a friend about another friend, and now, in less than an hour, this teacher is sending us into a state of grogginess that cannot be fought? It seems so unfair! The odd part of all of this is that in class, we are NOT ALLOWED to sleep.

The college classroom…It is the sleepiest place on earth. The opposite of Disneyland, which is the happiest place on earth – I suppose because there is plenty of bright, whirring, spinning stuff to keep us awake. But the college classroom, with it’s plain beige paint and boringly droning professor, is a place where you are NOT allowed to sleep. We try to stay awake by rapidly opening and closing our eyes. We excuse ourselves to go to the bathroom where we can splash water on our faces. Must stay awake! We make interesting doodles all over the sides of our notebooks in an effort to entertain ourselves into wakefulness again.

But in the end, we find ourselves thinking the worst and darkest thoughts…

After all those years of wanting to stay awake, we finally reach a point where we would rather sleep than endure the torture of academic boring-ness. We find ourselves thinking of our crappy little college dorm room cots, and how comfortable they look. I would compare this to how someone must feel when being tortured and death begins to look like a viable means to an end. It is then, in the torturous caverns of the college classroom, where we start making plans to sleep. But most of this sleeping happens during the day.

In our little pre-adulthood brains, we believe that if we are awake at night we will get more accomplished. If we sleep during the day, we won’t sleep for as long, but will be equally refreshed. (We think.) So, we live the life of vampires for a bit, taking naps during the brightest times of the day and going out at night to feast our little fangs on 24 hour drive thru foods.

After 4 years of torture from the academic system, this odd theory of “day-sleeping doesn’t count”, and the growing desire to sleep, we gradually begin to shift over to sleeping at night, and by the time we graduate from college, we are seemingly normal adults who recognize the need for nighttime sleep.

But until my baby has surpassed her own 25-year epic battle with sleep, she will be sleeping in the carrier…strapped to my body.

My Ambien Blackout / A Birth Story

1 Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was lying awake last night unable to sleep and considered getting out of bed to take a sleeping pill. I’ve taken sleeping pills more often than I like lately, and it seems to have been brought on by my allergy medication, believe it or not. The allergy medicine used to make me drowsy, so I would take it before bed and would have no trouble sleeping…at least, for a few weeks. Then after a while, the medicine seemed to lose it’s ability to make me sleep, so I would sometimes take a sleeping pill. (Maybe 2 times a week.) Last night, after getting up to pop my sleeping pill at 3am because I so desperately needed sleep before my morning students, I decided to do a little Google research on sleeping pill addiction and breaking the cycle of taking them. That’s when I ran across a lot of people who had experiences on the prescription sleep aid Ambien.

I’ve taken Ambien only once in my life.

At around 9 pm on February 9th, 2011, I started having contractions. (I was pregnant and due on February 13th.) I went to bed. I slept for a while and at around 3am I woke up because the contractions were growing mildly stronger. I started timing these contractions from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next contraction like I was taught to by Dr. Google. During this time, I packed my clothes and things for the hospital while I let my husband sleep. I did my hair. I put on waterproof mascara. The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, but were not yet painful so I walked around the house and did some light cleaning. I had not yet told him that I was having contractions.  By about 4am the contractions were growing quite uncomfortable and were only 1 minute apart. Yes, 1 minute. A quick Google check told me that I should be at the hospital. Oops.  I woke up my husband and he nervously drove me to the hospital while I groaned through contractions which felt more or less like really bad cramps.

We got to Abington Hospital just before 5am and they immediately sent me to triage and hooked me up to a machine that was supposed to monitor the contractions. I told them that the contractions were 1 minute apart, with only about 15 seconds from the end of one to the start of the next. Still, they needed the machine to give them the facts. The machine wasn’t working and in order for the circular sensor to detect my contractions I needed to have it very tight and NOT MOVE. Nurses kept returning to mess with it and try to get it to work, tightening it tighter and tighter while I continued to complain of how much it was making my back hurt just to lie in that position. The elastic band they strapped around my huge belly was uncomfortable from the start, but as the contractions grew stronger and that 15 second break was sometimes as little as 5 seconds, the whole situation started to become very painful after a couple of hours. (Yes, they forced me to stay on the non-working monitor for hours.) With each contraction, it felt like a sharp knife was stabbing into my tailbone and pain was radiating up my back. I tried to hold it together, but I was becoming fatigued from the contractions and the inability to move into a comfortable position to cope with the pain.

Between nurse visits to check my cervix’s dilation and to make that stupid elastic monitor ever tighter, I could hear the triage nurses at the office area talking about how I was complaining too much and crying too much.

Eventually, the pain became nearly unbearable and I began to sob with my hands over my face during the strongest part of each contraction. They “checked” and said I was still only about 3 cm dilated. The nurses let me walk around the halls around 7 or 8am.  Finally, I was set free from that ridiculous elastic band and being forced to lie on my back. Walking didn’t take the pain away. I was still stopping with each contraction and holding onto the side railing in the hallway because the pain had become so sharp. It was difficult to stand up.

At around 9am, they checked my cervix again (during contractions, which was extremely painful). They told me that I needed to stop crying because “IT’S GOING TO GET A LOT WORSE“, said one nurse. And “IT’S DIFFICULT FOR YOUR HUSBAND TO WAIT HERE AND WATCH YOU LIKE THIS.” Really? This is difficult for my husband, who is sitting in the corner napping while I deal with the pain? I just nodded my head reluctantly, but would replay her words in my head for years after and imagine myself giving her a snappy verbal reply rather than a submissive nod.

So they GAVE ME TWO AMBIEN pills. And sent me home, telling me to try to sleep. 

I remember leaning on the valet parking stool and sobbing during contractions with fluid running down my bare leg under my maternity dress as my husband retrieved our car. The February air felt so cold as the door opened and closed, and the valet attendant asked,”Are you sure they asked you to go home?”

I don’t remember when I took the ambien pills. I may have taken them while at the hospital, or perhaps it was when we got home. I don’t remember the drive home. When we got in the house, I took off all of my clothes and ran a hot bath and got in. And cried very loudly. I had the phone in the bathtub with me, and I called my mom, or she called me, I don’t know which. I sobbed into the phone with the contractions, but was unable to talk. And I don’t remember any of this. I don’t remember going into the house. I don’t remember the bath. I have a very faint memory of trying to hand the phone to my husband and it falling on the floor, then realizing that I may of thrown the phone, but I’m not sure.

When my husband took the phone, my mom told him to take me back to the hospital. “It’s only been about 45 minutes at home”, he said. Mom said, “Take her back!” I don’t remember him getting me out of the tub or getting me dressed, but he did. I know he put socks on my feet, because I remember having them on the next day and not realizing how they got on my feet.

He took me back to the hospital, where I have a memory of crying while the valet attendant put me in a wheelchair and they wheeled me back up to triage while I screamed, “They don’t want me here! Take me home! I don’t want to be on the monitor!” I said this over and over again…and I don’t remember much else about that visit to triage. They checked my cervix and…..voila! The nurse said it was at “7 or 8″. I was quickly taken and given the epidural that I wished to have, and the pain went away! Yay! As soon as I wasn’t violently crying, I was hungry. My husband gave me a pop tart from my bag. I was starving. The nurse came in and promptly told me that I cannot eat anything. Like a prisoner, I relinquished the sugary pastry. Then I fell asleep. (11:30am)

Around 4:30pm a nurse woke me up, and informed me that they were turning down the epidural now so that I could feel the contractions. I was surprised at how quickly the medicine ‘wore off’.  After some pushing and an emergency “baby is coming any minute” call to my doctor, followed by a very serious “HOLD THE BABY IN JUST A MOMENT WHILE HE GETS HIS GLOVES ON” and an equally serious, “Baby is coming NOW!” from me, at 5:07pm, Zoey was born.

After reading about people taking Ambien both as a recreational drug and as a medication for insomnia, I’ve come to the conclusion that to take 2 pills is neither safe nor recommended. Before then, I’d never taken a sleeping pill or even heard of Ambien.

WebRx says:  The risk of next-day psychomotor impairment, including impaired driving, is increased if Ambien is taken with less than a full night of sleep remaining (7- to 8 hours); if a higher than the recommended dose is taken; if co-administered with other CNS depressants; or if coadministered with other drugs that increase the blood levels of zolpidem.

Should I be concerned that I was given TWICE the dosage of Ambien on an empty stomach, followed by an epidural, allowed to sleep for 5 hours, gave birth, then was handed a newborn baby in this somewhat delirious state?

WebRx also lists Ambien as a “Category C” drug for pregnant women…meaning that it probably won’t kill your baby…but it could, maybe.

Web Rx: Pregnancy Category C

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Ambien in pregnant women.

Studies in children to assess the effects of prenatal exposure to zolpidem have not been conducted; however, cases of severe neonatal respiratory depression have been reported when zolpidem was used at the end of pregnancy, especially when taken with other CNS-depressants.

Administration of zolpidem to pregnant rats and rabbits resulted in adverse effects on offspring development at doses greater than the Ambien maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 10 mg/day.

Should I be concerned that I took 20mg of Ambien?

Web Rx says THIS under “Labor and Delivery”:   Ambien has no established use in labor and delivery.

After reading so many blog posts on BabyCenter about women who are given Ambien during labor, I saw that the women who were in early labor with contractions that were 5-10 minutes apart were able to sleep, but women who were in a lot of pain  could not sleep but just became erratic and loopy. It doesn’t seem like a good drug choice if the contractions are intense.

I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I wasn’t in that 3% of the population that gets diarrhea as an Ambien side effect.

Here are some funny Ambien Walrus images that I didn’t draw but enjoy:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Feelings On Spanking

No Comments

Today started with my sister sending me an IM on Facebook about her wedding planning. Wedding planning for most is tedious and slightly annoying, so I wasn’t surprised by what she is going through. I am surprised however, that I am so JEALOUS she is getting a wedding shower when I didn’t. Or that she is getting help with her wedding, since I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I want my family to help her. It’s the right thing to do. I just wish they had treated me differently when I was in that place in my life. I may have been a little sad about it at the time, but it’s surprising that it makes me more sad now that I’m seeing the contrast as my sister goes through her life with a much different upbringing than what I experienced. I’m working on my feelings of jealousy.

One of the major differences…is our father. We have the same dad, but by the time she was 10, Mom had remarried and while our Dad was still a visitor in her life, he didn’t have the same presence as he did with me.

Which makes me remember the spanking.

I’m usually a very private person, my blog posts I keep fairly public-safe and as commercially acceptable as possible, but this morning I am compelled to dig a little bit deeper. To be a little more truthful. To share things in words that I’ve been hiding within songs and chord progressions for 20 years. Maybe others have the same experience, and my sharing will help you find ways to cope. Or maybe, like me, you’re a parent now and have a spirited child but a resistance to ever spank.

I’ve spanked Zoey before. She can be a very compliant and agreeable 2 year old sometimes, but will often challenge boundaries by directly disobeying as I say “No” as sternly as possible. The first spanking was for playing in the toilet. Both hands splashing in the toilet water. I knew I’d closed the lid…and I told her to “stop”. I removed her from the bathroom and cleaned her up. I kept the toilet lid down from them on, but she opened it. I closed the bathroom door, but sometimes people would forget, and she would be found splashing in the toilet again. Several times I had changed her clothes and cleaned her up after her play in the toilet, and told her quite sternly not to do it anymore. She refused to stop…then, one day when I walked in on her splashing in the toilet water, I felt in that moment that what she was doing could be putting her in contact with E-coli and a host of other horrible bacteria and germs, and I spanked her. I gave her butt a single swat. The overwhelming waves of personal guilt followed next. The words of Dr. Sears rang through my head, “How does being spanked make you feel?”…In my head I answered, “Unloved. Inferior. Helpless. Sad.” No parent wants their child to feel these things, and so I felt a lump in my throat and a huge burden of guilt for the swat on her butt, which did make her stop playing in the toilet. And she doesn’t play in the toilet now.

Since then, my occasionally defiant 2 year old has been spanked only for things where I’ve tried every other method and nothing has worked. Still, every time I feel immense guilt. And recently, if a spank must be deployed, I immediately think of my father, hitting me.

My relationship with Dad was a complicated one. I loved him, and I always felt that he loved me while growing up. When I was little he was by far my favorite parent, which I have to remind myself of when I start pouting to myself about not being the favorite child between my sister and I….because I too have had feelings of a “favorite”, so whether it’s Karma or just the balance of life, it is the way things are. I loved my Dad, But when he was angry, he couldn’t control himself.

This is where I usually delete everything I’ve written and write about something less controversial.

I’ve been spanked for as far back as I remember, and the spankings stopped when I was about 20. Yes, 20. The difference in the spanking “style” is what stands out to me most. I would be slapped 10, 20, sometimes 30 times in a spanking “session”, as I cried and covered my face and tried to move further away. Then the spankings became because I was crying. So I would have to hold my cries in, and endure a few more slaps until it would stop. At the beginning of spankings I began trying to not cry, but then they just got harder and more painful, because a spanking apparently can’t stop without some tears having been shed. Usually I was spanked because my room was messy. Sometimes it was for a bad teenage attitude. But for the most part, I can’t remember why. They were the normal, day-to-day offenses.

When a grown man hits a teenage girl in the face as hard as he can, it leaves a mark. Every time.

I had only one teacher when I was growing up that pulled me aside to ask questions about the marks he saw on me. I was relieved that it didn’t become more of an issue at the time, but it also instilled in me a belief that the people surrounding me do not care about me, or what I was going through. Whether that was true or not, the underlying feeling I had during that time in my life was that Nobody cares about you. You are worthless.

And then, the bruise would heal, the hand prints all over my thighs would fade away, our family would dutifully go to church where people would praise me for my supposedly “angelic” voice, and my family could pretend that everything was right behind our front door, and I would become “normal” again. Whatever that is.

Whenever I start talking like this, people try to silence me. And it usually works. I consider that I’m oftentimes wrong, and question my judgement. I am told that my words will hurt my father or prevent him from getting a job, and that I should stay quiet about it. For some reason, erasing true stories from the world doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

I don’t consider myself an emotionally damaged person because of these weekly beatings in my childhood. I don’t have huge issues with trust like some people do, and I don’t feel that my entire childhood has been destroyed because of it. There are many facets to a person’s childhood, and the relationship with parents is just one parameter of that experience. It hasn’t destroyed me. What it has destroyed is my relationship with my parents.

And this is why I have overwhelming pangs of guilt when my resources for teaching have run dry and I have to administer a spank for my child. I fear destroying our relationship, and our bond. But the spanking “style” is different. I don’t spank in anger, possibly due to the help of St. John’s Wort and the occasional sip of wine from the refrigerator. I don’t scream that she is worthless, useless, lazy, or any other words that would tear down herself esteem and make her feel inferior. The spank alone gives enough emotions to deal with.

I think I’ll go have a little sip of that wine right now.

Playground Etiquette

No Comments

In the past, I’ve used this blog for rants, reviews, and other things that are not pertinent to my music whatsoever. Today, I will continue with that trend and post another blog entry that has nothing to do with music.

I went to the playground today with Zoey. We have been at this playground many times before. Sometimes there are a lot of toddlers there. Sometimes there are bigger kids 7-10 year olds) there. The playground is set up in such a way that everything is connected by “bridges” and the East side of this structure is clearly for smaller kids and the West half of the (huge) structure is taller and more suitable to bigger kids.

I’m a hover parent. Some say this is a bad thing, but Zoey is only 2, and sometimes I do have to catch her to keep her from falling off of things or banging her head into stuff. I feel that it also helps to have me there to teach her about proper playground etiquette, like “Wait until the other kid gets off the slide before going down”, “We don’t walk up the slide backwards because others could come down and hurt you,” and “Sit on your bottom to go down the slide so you don’t hurt your hands/face/head.” Apparently not every parent took the time to teach their kids the correct way to play on the equipment…

So Zoey and I are at the playground today and she is sliding down the small kid’s slide when a boy of about 6-7 years old decides to try to climb up the slide while she’s getting off of it. If the kid was 2 or 3, I would be more sympathetic. But a 7 year old boy? (eye roll) The mom laughed uncomfortably while looking at me, and saying in a rather babyish voice, “Now Charlie (I don’t remember his actual name), that’s not the right way….” more laughing. She continued this uncomfortable laughing and it was clear that she wanted me to say something to her – – like we were going to be friends or something. I. don’t. think. so. lady. I encouraged Zoey to try out the tunnel slide again to nudge her away from this boy and his mom.

I wasn’t even paying attention to the small family of young monsters that were playing around the tunnel slide until the blonde boy (about 6 years old) let out a scream and threw a cry-fit while tugging all over his dad’s clothes. One of the boys said, “Did I kick him?” The dad said, “No, his sister shoved him because it wasn’t his turn.” Evidently, in that family it is ok to shove if someone tries to take something that is rightfully yours. Then I looked over to take in the whole scene…..and…it…was…..so…stupid.

The dad was holding back the whining, crying blonde kid while the daughter was climbing up the top of the tunnel slide. Not inside the slide, mind you…which would still be incorrect but slightly less dangerous….but on TOP of the tunnel itself. It looked like he had 3 kids, all somewhere between 5 and 8 years old, and was having them take turns to climb up the slide that was obviously designed for toddlers on the small side of the playground. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I was not in the mood to deal with stupid parenting today. I said to one of the other moms (loudly), “Gee, I wish there was a sign that tells people how to go down the tunnel slide….but it seems pretty self-explanatory to me….” The dad heard me, and said, “Gabby…maybe we shouldn’t climb up the slide…ummm,…” He sounded like he was afraid to tell his kids not to climb up the slide, because they probably wouldn’t listen to him anyway. And to credit, he’s probably right. He probably let them climb up the slide like that for years…how can they understand a sudden change in rules?

I said, (loudly again so that he could hear, even though he was avoiding eye contact with me), “I can’t have my toddler walking around near the slide where other kids may fall on her….looks like we have to go.” The dad started to mutter something about, “Kids, maybe we shouldn’t climb on the slide….” MAYBE? Why does he even bother standing there? I picked up Zoey, “I’m sorry sweety, we’re going to have to go now because the other kids are not well-behaved.”

I carried her out to the car…she cried a little on the way. We were at the playground for more than 30 minutes, so I think it was fair even though I hated making her leave when she was doing everything right. I reassured her that she was very polite, but the other kids were dangerous. As I looked back from the car, I saw the little monster children still climbing up the tunnel slide on the toddler side of the playground. I held all of my anger and frustration in as I slowly drove away from the park.

Maybe I was mean. Maybe I wasn’t seen as the “cool mom” at the playground today. But the way *I* see it, my #1 priority is making sure my kid doesn’t get hurt. Period. My #2 priority is making sure my kid doesn’t hurt other kids, especially those that are younger than her. Being ‘cool’ with the other parents on the playground falls in pretty low on the list of things that are expected of me at the playground.

As I was driving home, I was thinking, “What would I have done if one of those kids HAD fallen on her???” I guess it depends on the severity of her injuries…but considering how high that tunnel slide is (when you are standing on the TOP of it), and how big those kids were in comparison to Zoey, if one had fallen on her I would probably have to take her in to the pediatrician just to make sure she was ok, at the least.

The more I thought about it, the more I considered what the “procedure” was for this kind of thing. I guess if my child were seriously injured by another kid on the playground, I would first call the pediatrician or paramedics, then call the police to file a report against the other parent. Notice I said PARENT, because it is the parent’s responsibility to control the kids until they are 18. Then I guess I would call a lawyer to file a lawsuit. I hear you thinking, “Really? She would sue someone for hurting her kid?” You bet your sweet little baby’s bottom I would. I’m not talking about little accidents….those things happen. But if I’m standing there telling you quite openly that I think your kid is going to fall off the tunnel slide onto smaller kids and you fail to get your undisciplined heathens to use the equipment properly and someone does get hurt…..you’ll be seeing me again at the court house.  I think they call it “negligence”, or something like that. I hope you did’t have a job working with children or handicapped people….because you’ll likely have to find another job too.  You’re welcome.

Luckily, that scenario will probably never play itself out – because my job is to keep my kid safe, even if it means offending other parents in the process.  And I’m not one of those parents that stands by idly and ‘begs’ my kid to do the right thing. If anything, THAT is the most pathetic and un-cool thing I’ve seen all day.