With CareerMom out of town visiting her sick brother, the boys and I were left alone last night (and tonight) to fend for ourselves. Of course, I’m completely capable of doing this, but I’ll admit that it’s much more difficult to cook a meal when you are also breaking up fights, getting various beverages, cleaning up emergency spills, mediating over toy usage and other sundry parental duties.
So I did that most venerable of single-parent traditions–we went to Chick-Fil-A. The one near us has a fairly small indoor playground, so that even if it’s raining like it was last night, the kids can still get their play on.
But even Chick-Fil-A isn’t without its problems. For one, the boys know the playground is there, so while I’m trying to order dinner and get it all to the table without dropping it, they’re doing their darndest to get to the playground. If it were just MLI, I’d be like, “See ya! Have fun! Don’t fall outta the tunnel or anything!” But since MLE is still really little, I don’t want them in there without me.
But dinner was quasi-finished within minutes, and of course, I finished whatever they didn’t (final tally: 1 grilled chicken sandwich, 1 bowl of fruit, 1 large sweet tea, 2/3 of a small order of waffle fries and about 3 nuggets). Coulda been worse I suppose. And…I wonder why I can’t drop those last five lbs…hmm.
Anyway, while we were playing, another little boy comes running in there, full of energy. He looked pretty young too, so I looked back out to see where his parent(s) were and spied his dad sitting there at a table talking on the phone.
So my boys are up tunneling around and this boy looks up at me and says, “HI!” I replied back and, trying to be polite, asked how old he was. He said he was 3 1/2, and I realized, looking at him, that he had some kind of growth issue. He was very skinny, and short for a 3 1/2 year old and his eyes weren’t quite right. But hey, I look weird in the morning before my coffee, so who am I to judge.
Well, over the course of the next fifteen minutes, this other child proceeded to drive me nuts! Have you ever been around a child who won’t stop talking to you? And they will keep asking you something over and over until you acknowledge their question? Well…this kid…times three! And add to that a strange voice that sounded something like a ventriloquist trying to do ELMO.
I kept looking out at the dad hoping he would see me talking to his kid and maybe wonder what this strange guy is talking about and come see. But nope. This is apparently one of those dads who is perfectly happy not being involved.
I finally got so annoyed, that I grabbed the boys and left.
I just don’t understand parents like this. If you’re not going to be involved with your kids; don’t have ’em! And if you do take them places, take ownership and don’t leave it up to other parents, who have their own raggamuffins to watch, to do your job for you.
The me of 10 years ago, probably would have walked over to the guy and said something, but the me of today is too afraid of losing his cool in front of his kids and getting in a fight. I can just hear the phone call now, “Hey honey…um…don’t worry, the kids are with your mother. And um, I’m in jail.”
Yeah, that wouldn’t be pretty.