Friday, July 14, 2006

The Shallow End

I often say the things that people are thinking, but no one wants to admit for fear of being "not nice." Canadians especially are guilty of this. Meet any Canadian and chances are he or she will apologize for something inconsequential within the first 10 minutes. We do "nice" to a fault.

So while you may or may not want to admit it, at some point today you judged someone. You may have tried to stop yourself, because everyone knows judging people is not nice. It's even in the Bible. But you saw a mom lose her cool while her kid was throwing a shitfit, or you saw some WT chick with way too much belly fat hanging out of the belly top "she should NOT be wearing." Or you saw some dude rockin' sandals and socks. Whatever. And you judged them. We all do it.

I wrote about getting the cheap stroller stare-down a while back and someone commented that they, in return, often get "Buga-booed." It's true, I will admit that I am guilty of thinking people are assholes for driving BMWs or pushing Bugaboo strollers, but I'm trying to get over it. After a life of judging people aloud to get a laugh (if I make them laugh about that guy, no one will notice that I'm a dork!), I am slowly learning that things aren't always what they seem. But that doesn't mean I don't put on my judicial glasses when I'm in a new situation.

I am rather uncomfortable going out in public without "the buddy system" as a result. Alone and out in the open with just my child, I feel vulnerable to this sort of judging. I know I shouldn't care, but I'm a freak, so bear with me. I am also the mom who is always unprepared. I don't have photos of my kid in my wallet. I often forget to bring snacks, toys, a plastic bag for the dirty diaper, you name it. I feel like I'm crap at this whole mom thing when I realize I've forgotten an item, and whether or not people are staring at me, I feel like they are regardless.

Today is/was a scorcher, so we headed to the splash pad at Monarch Park to cool off. It's beautiful and gated and they even provide toys for people like me. Even though I've lived here for nearly a year and it's well into summer, it was my first time taking Nate there. I got him into his swim diaper (Does Nemo go on the front or the back? Shit! No plastic bag for the dirty one. Will just have to stay in my bag -- yuck. I hope no one notices.) and started to do "the scan." I noticed that most of the moms seemed friendly with one another, like they knew each other or were friends. 80% of them were smart enough to wear shorts (I was in capris, which got wet even when I rolled them up). 15% of them were un-self-conscious enough to wear bathing suits! And believe me, these were not Cindy Crawfords. I quickly scanned for the 5% that had pants too long or rolled up. From their I subtracted moms of multiple kids -- they tend to stick together and look at moms of one with that "wait'll you have two" look, or worse -- the condescending "Is this your first one?" Yup, I guess it shows. I definitely look like a novice.

That left me with three options: one attractive olive-skinned woman, also with a boy about Nate's age, wearing jersey culottes; one blonde mom with rolled up black long shorts with a boy older than Nate; and another brunette tall mom with a girl and rolled up plaid Bermuda shorts. The last one seemed to have friends there, so I chose the first mom. I introduced myself, which is rare. Most moms give you their kids names and then you're stuck referring to them as "Fynn's mom" or not at all. She was amiable and we laughed when I noticed she had Nemo on the front, opposite of what I did for Nate. "We don't know what we're doing either," she joked and then ran after her cute son.

Nate wasn't budging, so I was back to finding someone else. I made small talk with tall brunette mom #2 (TBM#2) because she was right beside me. Nate played happily with a plastic truck of some sort next to me, which was good because some kid made of with his double decker bus (not pool-friendly, but he's obsessed with it. TBM#2's friend rejoined her and TMB#2 commented on her friend's daughter's language skills. Then she leaned in to whisper, so I would not hear, "Girl's are just smarter than boys." And the two of them erupted into giggles. OK, so not hanging with her.

A mom came by to ask for her kid's truck back as they were leaving. No problem for me, but Nate obviously erupted into tears. "Let's go look for your bus," I said reassuringly. The kid who had his bus was the son of the blonde mom. He was double-fisted with vehicular items, so I thought it would be OK to ask for the bus back. The blonde mom tried to coaxe it away from her son and for a moment it seemed OK, but then he eruptedinto tears. "Sorry," I offered (how Canadian of me). "No, it's OK, we're working on this," she replied and walked away. Great. Guess I won't be hanging with her either.

Nate is very sensitive to the feelings of others. Apparently I was the same way as a child. So when he saw the boy crying because we asked for his bus back, he also started to cry and then refused to play with the offending bus for the remainder of our time there. Awesome. So not only did I ruin this mom's good time, but now I gotta stand around the splash pad holding the bus, so I look like I just didn't want her son to play with it.

On a positive note: Nate seems to be over his fear of water. He started out on the edge and ended up full on sitting in the water and walking deeper and deeper. Like his mom, it takes him a while to warm up to a new situation. He needs to observe, assess who's there, determine if there is potential for getting hurt, and THEN he is ready to get in. A little at a time. It made me happy to watch him enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood. We both got over our shyness together. I don't know if I'm ready to go there in a swimsuit and dive in, but I might be willing to invest in some board shorts so I can sit down comfortably at his level.

Crap! I'd better get those dirty diapers out of my bag!

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