“Welcome to organized chaos,” said an older gentleman who probably served in at least one major war.
He was definitely a veteran of this type of exercise. In his years he’d probably seen much worse. The look on my face must have reminded him of a soldier in his own platoon, knee deep in battle for the first time, shell shocked, overwhelmed and ready to go AWOL as soon as the General turned his back.
“Is it always this bad?” I hoped this was the worst it would get.
“This is nothing. Wait until you see the food court.”
The mall on a rainy Sunday. Events too graphic even for the History channel.
He grabbed his grandson by his arm and yelled him for jumping onto his brother’s back for the fourth time.
While the other kids sprinted, climbed, skipped, punched and screamed, my son sat by himself just a few feet away from the Permanent Roommate. He seemed just as shell shocked at the scene as his father. After getting his bearings he happily crawled into the middle of the battle field. I know I wanted to grab him and throw him back in the stroller before he was run over by grade school tanks or belly crawled onto a land mine disguised as a toddler that hadn’t napped. I could imagine what was going through the Roommate’s head considering she is way more protective. Instead we both let him wander around the indoor play area in front of the JC Penny.
This is good for him. Interacting with other kids. Learning how to assert himself into social situations and HOLY CRAP THAT KID ALMOST KICKED HIM IN THE FACE.
Breathe. Breathe. He’ll be fine. A kick to the face never hurt anyone. Unless you count Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid and…THAT KID JUST PUSHED HIM RIGHT OFF THE FAKE PIG! Which one of you people hatched this little miscreant? I’m going to shove a stroller down your ear canal for raising such a mongrel. Just got to watch to see who the little snot runs over to and…mmkkk…that guy is the size of a Escalade. No harm done, there is enough room on the faux pig for everyone to get a turn.
The little guy crawled back to safety in front of the Roommate. Nothing can happen with her so close.
Those two kids are running right towards one another. Don’t they see one other? Pull out Maverick! Pull out! Maverick! Goose can you hear….
The Permanent Roommate lifted the kid from the ground, away from the limp bodies of the fallen (and now hysterically crying) pilots.
“Let’s go get some food,” she said, buckling him into the stroller.
Playgrounds, like war, are hell. The chicken nuggets afterward, however, are delicious.
Chris Illuminati is a humor writer and the author of several books including The New Dad Dictionary: Everything He Really Needs To Know From A To Z. Check out his parenting blog here.