Friday, August 27, 2010

Be wary of mothers who travel in groups

Well, Uncle Kevin came to visit last night and left again later this morning. He was travelling through the area and wanted to stop in briefly to meet Emily.

We decided we would take Chloe to the park in order to give Julie some time to nap. When we got to the swings (Chloe's favourite), there was a mother pushing her daughter, and several other mothers with children of their own sitting in the grass nearby. Now, I find that there are a couple of reactions I sometimes get from mothers and mothers groups when I'm out doing activities with Chloe. Either they're overly sweet and empathetic because they think I'm the equivalent of a latte-sipping metrosexual on a backwoods camping trip, or they're downright hostile because somehow I'm trampling on their sacred territory. 

Well, this time it felt like the latter. Kevin and I were having fun pushing Chloe back and forth on the swing, him at the front and me at the back. Chloe was having a blast laughing and going nice and high, and I could tell that this was somewhat disconcerting for at least some of the mothers (boy would you look at that father, not taking his job seriously enough). At any rate, Kevin went to get some change for the bus, and I was happily pushing Chloe when out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the children heading right for the swing. I didn't know whether to try to stop her or the swing and before I could do either, she'd been clocked right in the forehead with the full force of Chloe and the swing. It turns out that she was alright, but pretty upset. Mom came right away then and took her daughter with quite a scowl on her face (the mother, I mean). I felt absolutely awful and apologized for not being able to stop the swing in time (I said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't see her in time"). She mumbled something to the effect that "it's o.k.," but it wasn't very sincere, and she certainly didn't apologize for not keeping track of her kid (who appeared to be about three years old).

Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't help but think that had I been another mother,we both would have been apologizing profusely.  But in this case, it was just me apologizing, while she and the other mothers were quiet and noticeably annoyed. The mother of that child should have apologized, because Chloe sure felt awful, and I had to spend several minute assuring her that it wasn't her fault that the other little girl had been hurt. Maybe a mother would have seen the girl sooner, I don't know. But I can say one thing - if I had let my little girl run right in front of a swing and she'd gotten hit - I would have been blaming myself, and apologizing for the upset I'd caused everyone. Tomorrow I'll provide an example of the sweet and presumptuous.

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