Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sometimes I can't keep quiet

I don't want to take Elle to soccer practice any more. 

This past Sunday I took Elle to a birthday party.  It was awkward and uncomfortable and weird for a lot of reasons.  I suppose the worst part was about five minutes in when the mother of the birthday girl started telling a story about how she tried to cause herself to miscarry when she was pregnant (with the birthday girl herself.)  While that's a fun little story to share among family and friends it seems like an odd choice to announce stuff like that to a group of total strangers.  Especially when the attempt resulted in your child being born extremely premature and having life long effects on her health.

I think it goes without saying that leaving Elle at the party was not an option.  So I stayed and felt icky and kept an eye on all the other kids because no one else was and it seems like maybe letting a bunch of four and five years olds run around unsupervised is not the best idea in the world.  Not as bad as punching yourself in the stomach and not seeking medical attention when you start to bleed but I digress.

So after Sunday I was kind of topped off in the bad parenting department.  That will be enough for now thank you very much!

Then I took Elle to soccer on Monday.  During the game there was a random little girl running around on the field who looked like she was maybe just barely three years old.  She kept trying to pick up the ball and run away with it.  No one stepped in to take her off the field.  At one point she came over to me and told me she cut her finger.  I looked but it didn't look cut so I suggested she find her mom or dad and ask for help.  She said "My mom and dad aren't here.  Just Kristin." and she gestured across the field to a woman talking on her phone and paying no attention at all to the baby in her care who was an entire soccer field away from her talking to a stranger.  I suggested she go to Kristin for help and she wandered away from me.

I watched the little girl as she crossed the field.  Then she crossed another field.  Then another.  Then another.  Then another.  I could see her bright green shirt become a tiny dot as she walked all the way across the soccer complex.  I kept one eye on her and one on Kristin who never once looked to see where he charge had gone to.

The soccer fields we go to are at the top of a large hill and to get to the parking lot you have to walk down the hill with woods on either side of the path.  The little green dot started to head over to the path and I was just about to run over and get her when Kristin started to look around.  She looked casually at first, in no hurry.  She started to walk around the field slowly.  She looked unconcerned and didn't end her phone call.  The green dot paused by the port-a-potties.  Kirstin circled over to my side of the field and finally ended her phone call.  She looked confused.  The green dot started to move closer to the path.

Now let me clarify here that Kristin was not a young girl.  She was a woman at least the same age as me and certainly old enough to know better than to totally ignore the very young child she's supposed to be watching.  I don't know if she was a step-mother or a day care lady or an aunt or a family friend but she was doing a crap-ass job of watching the kid and it pissed me off.

Kristin called to a kid on the field "Where's your sister?"  Because of course the five year old playing soccer is going to be able to tell you the lost kid is.  The soccer player did not know of course.  The green dot started to head down the path.

"Are you looking for the little girl in green?" I called to Kristin.

"Yeah?" She looked surprised.

"She came over to me before. She said her finger was cut.  Then she walked away and now she's going down by the parking lot."

Now a flash of annoyance.  "She came to me twice for her finger too.  It wasn't cut."

"Yeaaaaah, that's not really the point. I didn't see anyone watching her and I think she was just looking for someone to help her." I replied as I watched the green dot pause again.

Kirstin started to slowly move away.  She muttered something under her breath and called for the green dot's sister to get off the field and come with her.

I should have sat back down and shut up.  I should have kept it to myself.

I should not have yelled at her back as she walked away "Maybe if you had been watching her instead of talking on your phone this wouldn't have happened!"

She didn't say anything but I know she heard me because I, um, yelled it and it saw her pause and stiffen up.

I'm not exactly sorry I said it (although I probably could have done it without yelling it at her as she walked away) and I don't think I was wrong.  I just think that the rest of this soccer season could get awkward.  Twice I week I'll have to see this woman and her non-child-watching-ass.  Oy.  The really sad thing is that this is not the first time I've yelled at another parent during a kids sports practice.  (Seriously, it's not.)  I'm just so good at making friends!

I don't want to take Elle to soccer practice anymore.


Shannon said...

Oy! I don't blame you! Sometimes it's hard to keep your mouth shut when you see people doing such a crap-ass job. I'm not even saying you should have kept your mouth shut! If it weren't for you watching, the little girl might have been seriously lost! And party-mom was definitely lacking in class there. Yikes!

Cinthia said...

My unsolicited comment is that you shouldn't feel at all bad about what you did. Maybe if you continue to show up, the crappy babysitter will do a better job of keeping an eye on the three-year old. If it had been me, I might have even taken it further and asked the coach to figure out who those people were so that they could be informed. What if the kid had gone missing? That would have been much worse. People are so careless until something bad happens. Kudos to you for speaking up.

StickyKeys said...

What is sometimes even worse is when a parent tries to OVERparent their children and make you think they are just on top of things. I was at the metro one day and a man came in with his daughter. There was a half empty starbucks cup that I immediately knew the girl was going to make a beeline for and sure enough she did. Instead of simply calling her back and telling her not to touch grody stuff he starts cursing his child out LOUDLY in front of everyone until she started to cry. I'm like dude, whenever there are kids around I do a spot check, she's a KID, calm down. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Jen, in both these situations, you did the right thing, ABSOLUTELY! The mom at the birthday party was crass, crude and rude. How awful for her child to know that she wasn't wanted. I can't even imagine that damage that is being done to her by her own mother. That mother needs a good talking to. I'd be tempted to report it to child welfare. I know they wouldn't really do anything about it, but a visit to the mom from them, might put a scare into her and know that someone is watching and listening. At the soccer field, Kristin is an idiot. Anyone could have just walked off with that little girl. I'm so glad that you were watching out for her. And what you did was completely called for. I would not be embarrassed at all. I am proud of you that you spoke up. Too bad that you can't find out the parents' name and tell them what a wonderful job Kristin is doing watching their children. About the "cut" finger, the little girl was just crying out for help, love, and attention. You go girl.... keep up the good work!!

Your MIL, Judy

Barbara said...

Good for you Jen! Seriously!