Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If Your Child Gets Stuck in a Baby Swing . . .'s what you do. Ignore the yelling of strangers, codependent teens climbing the wrought iron fence between the park and the pool. Even when they gasp, cover their mouths, point, and yell, "Call the fire department!", remember your calm old friend Diane. She told her daughter that since she climbed up the tree, she could also climb down. You're not too far away to see what's going on. You saw this coming. Your 7-y-o dear daughter is not going to die. She may be really really stuck, as the smoking stranger insists, but that doesn't really change anything, now does it? Let him try to dump your darling, 80-lb daughter out of the baby swing on her head by trying to turn the whole thing upside down!

You got up on top of that graffitied multi-slide playground hunk of plastic and metal in order to see something, and see something you SHOULD. Your 12-y-o daughter is competing in the very first swim meet of her life, and you are not about to miss it just because your darling 7-y-o wanted to swing like a baby. You won't actually see her swim because you can only glimpse, over the sea of swimmers and their families and their canopies, a tiny patch of pool, just the last two lanes, in the middle of their race. But you don't know that yet, and you don't want to feel guilty later, so you just keep those numb feet planted right next to the curly slide, and lean on that heavy-duty plastic.

And besides, who wants to get any closer to the drama, and risk getting kicked?
Be sure to tell that darling 7-y-o to calm down, and that you're not coming down to help while she's kicking and screaming. And when her 9-y-o sister whispers that this is embarrassing and that people are taking pictures, just keep your focus on that oldest sister, the one blissfully unaware that this drama is unfolding just yards away from her, but who is probably sadly aware that no one she loves is watching her swim. Even in that crowd of crocodiles and piranhas and all their families, how can she not notice that she does not feel the gaze of her family, or hear their voices cheering her on?

But when you are good and sure that you have done all you could do to see her swim, and to let the 7-y-o feel the weight of her consequences, go straight over to her and squat right under that baby swing, and pull with all your might on that swing, while the kindly stranger and your older child also pull with all of theirs (him on the 7-y-o, and sister on the swing), and that darling 7-y-o pushes her feet on your thighs, until you feel your heart skip a beat, and the stranger says, "Wiggle!", and you ALL do, and she finally slips free.

Then go home and do nothing, because nothing is what you will get done around the house, because your darling 7-y-o daughter will be asking you and telling you all about that dramatic event all evening long. She will say, "I'm never going to the park again!" and you will try to reassure her that you understand she's afraid of getting stuck again, but then you'll give in to the temptation to tell her that you just don't believe that she'll never go there again.


charrette said...

How did you even live through this?

Oh, and thank you for stopping by my blog. I do think we have a lot in common. More than you listed, even.

Kazzy said...

Hi there, friend. So excited about your son's mission call! Sorry I haven't stopped by here for awhile. I must admit this post was quite entertaining (sorry to be entertained at your expense!)

Cookie said...

How did I live through it? By praying silently, and anticipating the blogging ;)

and y'all please feel free to enjoy the entertainment . . . it's already been paid for anyhow!

charrette said...

I love the honesty in that: "praying silently, and anticipating the blogging"...

I can't tell you how often I do that. It really does help. Suddenly it's a story and you can either appreciate the entertainment value...or at least pretend it's not real life!

One of my current mantras is "Choose to be amused."
There are times when we do have a choice, and the humor helps.