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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Doldrums of the Mall

I have never wanted to be one of those moms that spends her days walking the mall and sitting on the sidelines, bored, watching her children wallow in other children’s germs and filth. Before I ever dreamed I would have a child of my own, I would walk past the play structures in the mall and shudder at the thought of all the germs, viruses and disgusting filth the mini-humans were covering themselves with.
Add it to the list. The list of things I swore I would never do. And now do regularly and without even the slightest shudder.
Dub and I have been frequenting the mall on a weekly basis as of late. Nearing the one year mark, the 5-6 steps at a time and finally doing a solid proper crawl, he is mobile and the mall play structure is right up his alley. Living in the rainy NW, there is a absolute need for these parks. Sometimes I have considered it my safety plan; on those days when the walls are closing in on us and the beast has unleashed himself, it is cheap, ok free if I don't get a coffee or smoothie, highly accessible and I know I won’t physically harm him in public. Sometimes it is just better to leave the house for the sake of safety and sanity.

On our most recent outing leaving the house was the safety plan. The beast was in rare form and while I dreaded actually folding him into the car seat, I decided it was well worth the effort.
Upon arriving at the mall he smiled with delight and graciously oogled back at all the little grandma’s who oogled him saying “oh, he’s so tiny to be walking, how handsome, etc.” He eats it up.
We entered the play area and there were surprising few children there. Dub actually crawled away from me. On purpose. I had time to tweet, facebook and check my email from my phone. Sure, it was one tweet, one status update and deleting FW:FW:FW’s that I don’t have time to read, but still. This was a first. This was HUGE for me and gave me just a tiny taste of the good life. One day, one day, I struggle to say it out loud so as not to jinx it, but one day I might be able to write an email and possibly even a blog post. Gasp.
My thoughts of the good life to come were interrupted by his screams. A little boy about 4 years old had crouched down in front of him and put his face only inches in front of Dub’s. This was not an acceptable social move (which is surprising as Dub is a total stalker with no sense of personal space or boundaries) and Dub quickly realized that I was not right next to him. I saved him from the more experienced stalker and we went back to our normal routine of my being within arms reach while he continued to explore the area.
I noticed a few things during this trip. I guess I had time to observe as Dub is actually crawling and climbing on his own and this also gives me a little more freedom than I am used to.
There were mostly males watching their children play. First of all, I commend all of these men. Thank you for getting your children out of the house and for being involved. I love it. That said, I can’t help but be a little creeped out, hoping none of them are pedophiles. That said, I sure hope it is not a sign of the weak economy that has forced these dads to be involved. I hope all of them are gainfully employed (or their wives are and they are happy to be stay-at-home-papas) and are simply committed to bonding with their children, making time for their children to wallow in filth with mine.
I then observed all of the parents with more than one child. For each of them, there was one point in their stay wherein they panicked, unable to spot one of their children. This supports my theory that the children should never outnumber the parents. Divide and conquer, they have power in numbers and that is a scary thing. I also happen to believe that pets should never outnumber the humans that are able to feed and provide routine care for them (that means if you have 4 young children that are too young to provide routine care for the cats, you should not have more than 2 cats, provided you have a 2 parent family).
I also noted that kids kick each other in the face. It happens. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. It takes a lot of self control not to kick someone in the face. I don’t really expect a 3 year old not to kick someone in the face when they are trying to take over the boat.  I am not saying it is good manners, but I get it.
I also came to realize that my son will likely be the one more interested in escaping the safety of the play area than actually playing in the play area for the rest of his playing life. I spent most of my time plucking him from the entry/exit and placing him at the farthest point from the entry/exit.
But the safety plan worked.  He ate up the old ladies, wiggled his bum off, actually ate a decent lunch (lentil stew from white bean hummus) and napped like the angel baby he is.



I'm just and average mama who's not afraid to say all the things you know you are thinking.  Or just not smart enough to keep my mouth shut.

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1 comment :

  1. I agree about needing some freedom!! Tj will be 7 months in two more days!! I am lucky to update my status maybe three times a week when my husband is home! Divde and conquer is a wonderful way to put it. I also wanted to add that they need time and if you have to many children one or maybe even all of them will feel left out or ignored by you at some point during the day!! There just isn't enough of you to go around. My husband and I decided before we ever decided to have my son that we only wanted two children. I want a close relationship with them and for them to have everything they need and everything I want for them. Two just seemed like the best choice for our family plus I couldn't handle more than two I am a clean freak and a control freak. Working on those things!!! I love the story thanks for sharing!!


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