Public Service Announcement: Pay Attention to Your Children
Or, The Story of Why I Left Chick-Fil-A Without a Brownie.
It's been one of those days. My husband has been gone all week, my back is killing me, it's crazy windy so Captain Destructo's bouncy house was blowing all over the place when we tried to jump, and I've been stripping cloth diapers for the past 6 hours. So I decided that Captain Destructo and I deserved a special treat. Chick-Fil-A for dinner it is.
I've mentioned my love for Chick-Fil-A before, but in case you missed it, let me reiterate how it is Mom Heaven. At our local restaurant, Tuesday nights are Kids Eat Free nights, so I got both of our dinners for $6. Customer service is awesome, meaning someone else carried my tray for me while I drug the high chair, giant purse and giant toddler. After scarfing down our chicken nuggets, I let Captain Destructo play in the play area.
Let me pause for a second here. When I say "let" her play, I don't mean I sat at my table and let her go into the play area by herself. She's 2. Common sense, right? Apparently not. There was a little boy who was probably 3 or so in the play area, playing with who I would assume was his older brother. His parents were nowhere to be found. Not in the play area, not (as far as I could tell) immediately outside the plexiglass. They may have gone across the street to Starbucks as far as I know. This will be important later. On with the story.
So Captain D. and I de-shoe her and make our way into the musty, slightly smelling of sour milk, play area. Little boy immediately runs up to us and pokes Captain on the back. She yells "no, my back!" which I have to say I was pretty proud of. I ignore this for the moment, until 3 seconds later when he comes back, pokes her again and yells "nanny-nanny-boo-boo!" I didn't realize that insult was still around, but I tell the kid to chill out. Nicely, I would add. "She doesn't want you to tease her, buddy," I say. Roughly 10 seconds later, he comes back and grabs at her again. "She doesn't want you to touch her either. Go play," I say in a slightly less nice voice. Of course he's back in her face immediately. She is starting to get fussy and I am starting to get irritated, so I walk to the other side of the play area to get her shoes so we can leave.
And then (voice of Sue Sylvester)....HORROR.
I sit down on a bench to put her shoes on and look up to see the Little Dude running at me with both of his hands outstretched. His hands land square in the middle of my giant, 9 months pregnant belly.
I am in complete shock for a moment and can't think of what to do next. I'm torn between getting out my hand sanitizer and squeezing it all over my belly and grabbing the kid by his collar and screaming "whose kid is this?!" into the restaurant. I settle for holding the kid's wrist, removing them from my stomach, and firmly saying "NO. We don't touch other people's bellies. There is a baby in there!" while he gives me a blank stare. I then sanitize Captain Destructo and myself and we head quickly home. I am so mad I leave without getting a brownie. That's pretty mad.
So here's my public service announcement: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS. Where this kid's parents were during the whole night, I have no idea. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they were on their phones or otherwise not paying attention. I'm assuming this because I see it all the time at playgrounds, restaurants, and libraries. I get that there are days when your kids are driving you nuts and you just want a break from them. I totally get it. Yesterday my kid's favorite game was "dump everything from the pantry onto the floor, make Mommy clean it up and then do it again." But you know what is great for taking a break? TV. Don't just dump your kid is a public place and assume that someone else will watch them. Chic-Fil-A play area is not a cage where you can throw your kid in and then let them out when you're done. Be a parent, not a zookeeper.
And, to that kid's mom, wherever you are, you owe me a brownie.