With my premier blog, I’d like to share a recent experience at the McDonald’s Playland. You will come to know my five year old well. She is the middle child, and what politically correct parents will call “spirited” (aka bat shit crazy).
After a lovely lunch of pink slime dressed as chicken, Rosalie and I ventured into the PlayPlace room. Right away, I see we are going to be lawbreakers. “Children Must Wear Socks!” proclaims a sign on the door, adding that they can be purchased at the counter for $1. Fuck that noise. I’ve actually been trying to get Rosalie to wear socks for the past month, for the sole reason that her shoes smell like a Port-A-Potty if she doesn’t. Pardon the pun.
Rosalie immediately takes her (stinky) shoes off and runs to the climber, pausing for a moment to make eye contact with me at the foot of the slide. I shake my head, mentally telling her, “No, you abso-fucking-lutely may not go UP the slide, that travesty is reserved for hoosiers” (St. Louis slang for anyone who acts in an unbecoming manner). She rolls her eyes but moves up the climber from the proper direction, immediately making friends with 3 little girls. I identify their mothers, and sigh inwardly. They’re at least 10 years younger than me & dressed in the Hot Stay At Home Mom uniform of tight stretch pants and fluorescent shirts that showcase their perky boobs and imply that they have just come from yoga or Pilates. Their nails are immaculate, ponytails the perfect height and they have purchased socks from the counter. Ah well. I immerse myself in the land of Facebook while snuggling my newborn, who probably should not be out in public yet, but that is just how we roll.
It soon becomes apparent that Yoga Mom’s daughter has pulled a Cliven Bundy and is organizing a standoff in the climber. Yoga Mom 2’s perfect blond twins give up easily and come down. They wave a cheery goodbye to YM 1, very obviously silently congratulating herself on having children who listen. That’s not a good girlfriend! I want to tell her this but instead avoid eye contact, because as I’ve mentioned I have a spirited child myself and I am all too familiar with the shame of having an audience while trying to discipline. I mentally encourage her to yell at the kid (Olivia) and silently reassure her that I won’t judge her for it at all.
Instead, Olivia’s mom spends over an hour trying to cajole, bribe and sweetly talk her down. I know it was over an hour because after 20 incredulous minutes I set the timer on my iPhone just for kicks. She promised Barbies, a trip to the firehouse and an array of sweets.
I was in the unfortunate position right next to her when her exasperation kicked in and she finally said, “I just don’t know what else to do!” And because she had addressed me, I felt obligated to answer with, “I’d tell her the cops are going to arrest her if she doesn’t get her ass down here right now. I’ll yell it up there if you want.” She backed away, horrified and continued with her own method.
Eventually Olivia did come down, and was promptly promised a Barbie.
It took me back to many memories of yelling at Rosalie in the car when she had pulled a similar stunt, the times when I had to worry if my discipline was being caught on tape in the mall parking lot, the times when my heart was crushed having to get up and walk away from an activity that I really wanted to do too! because I wanted Ro to know that she couldn’t act that way, especially in public. I remember crying in my room while she cried in hers, doubting myself as a human and a mother.
Some of that guilt melted away that day when I told Ro it was time to go. “Five more minutes!” She said, and gaily ran away. However, seven minutes later she put her shoes on and we left. I have plenty of mark in the Parenting Fail Column and I cherish every one in the Parenting Success, no matter how small.
I hope you enjoyed reading my take on what most people would consider a completely boring afternoon. In the future I plan to cover divorce (I’ve had one), baby daddies (I have two), public vs. private school, and parenting a teenager, toddler and newborn at the same time and why my life turned out that way, instead of the boy and girl that my teenage self imagined would be two years apart. Shit happens, ya know? I also want to spend some time on my journey with my newborn son, who will be having surgery to correct hypospadias. I am having a hard time finding parental stories about the whole process, and since it is a common birth defect I hope I can help someone else with our story.
That’s all for today! I thank you for reading, and caution you to go ahead and fuck off if you can’t take a joke. Peace.