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Sunday, May 04, 2008

And the "You should have your butt kicked" Award goes to

The parents I saw at the park today.

I try to go to Mississippi every other weekend to visit my family niece and at least once a month plan something special just for Marley and me to do together. I've taken her to Chuck-E-Cheese, to see The Bee Movie, and today we went to the park. The park we went to is set up so that there is a play area for the bigger kids and one next to it for the smaller children.

The playground in the picture below is a bit different from the one we went to today but you can see how there is a scaled down version of the play area next to the larger one and most importantly you can see how high off the ground parts of the larger jungle gym get.

Marley is nearly fearless and thinks she is perfectly capable and should be able to do anything and everything anyone else does. The fact that she's barely (if even) 3 foot tall doesn't factor in a bit to her. So while I'm trying to explain to her that she isn't allowed on certain parts of the playground because they are for "big kids" only, she's pointing at the jungle gym and looking at me like uh huh, yea sure Aunt Mollie, so why is that kid who's smaller than me way up there where I want to be?

I look up and there is a toddler, maybe, maybe two years old, pacifier in mouth running full force up the highest part of this thing. There are wide open spots where a trip, wobble or just sheer bravery would immediately result in a 6+ foot plummet to the ground. I look around and the nearest parent is no less than 15 feet away.

I don't care if you're an Olympic gold medalist for long distance running. I don't care if you have broken every record there is in sprinting. There is NO WAY you're going to make it from where you are sitting your oblivious ass on the bench chatting with your buddy 5 yards away to where your child is precariously peeking over a 6 foot ledge before his head hits the ground if he falls. It's not going to happen.

See this picture...

This is Marley at the park today. This is also how high off the ground Marley got without me within ARMS REACHING distance. I don't consider myself the over protective sort. If a kid falls and are not really hurt I'm the kind of aunt, and will be the kind of parent who will do a thorough once over, make sure nothing is broken or bleeding and tell the kid.. it's OK, you're fine. I think parents who coddle and fuss over their kids for every scrape, bump and bruise they get are only setting their children up to be overly sensitive. I mean who of us hasn't had a scraped knee at some point in our lives. We were fine, and we reacted to our bo bo in a way that reflected how big of a deal our parents made out of it.

Marley fell at the park today, she was walking backwards and tumbled right over a little foot high ledge that was around the swings. I picked her up, dusted her off and checked her for injuries. There were none so I gave her a hug and very calmly told her that she was fine, everything was OK. She cried for about 30 seconds then went right back to playing. She was more concerned about getting her hands dirty from falling on the ground than she was about bonking her head.

But that doesn't mean I'm careless about her safety, nor do I believe any parent should be careless about the safety of a child, be it their own or one just in their care. A 6 foot fall for a toddler can result in serious injury, broken bones, severe lacerations, and if they land the wrong way possibly death. So what could a parent possibly be thinking, what on earth could be going on in their head to think, sure it's higher off the ground than I am tall, sure my kid is only 2, ehh I'm sure he'll be fine, I'll just go sit way over here on this bench and chat with my buddy. I'll worry if I hear a scream or something. Where is the parenting in that? Heck even if you aren't a parent, anyone over the age of 18 should have enough common sense to know it's not safe to let small children do certain things.

I didn't plan on today's post being a rant, but seeing that today just set me off. I also saw a 5yr old little girl who weighed every bit of 85-90lbs, which also really puts me in a foul mood, but that's a different lecture on bad parenting that can wait for another day.

Children are the most precious beings on this planet, it is our responsibility as adults to protect them until they are old enough to protect themselves. So for their sake if not your own, show some damn common sense people!

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