“He is a really messed up father”, “His parental rights should be revoked”, “He should never ever have another child”, and “I wonder if his wife knows how bad he is” – these are things I read in the eyes of a few mothers looking at me and Maxim in the park today. Of course, I gave them a reason to hate to me – not that they needed one though – but they were overreacting too.
Maxim and I went for our usual walk in the park. And our usual walk in the park these days involves a few minutes on the swings. The swings in the park were specifically designed for small kids. The problem though is that they were designed by some engineering school drop-out. There are a few design decisions that make me – and other parents – wonder: “What was this guy thinking?”.
And it were a couple of those brain damaged engineering decisions that caused our small accident today.
Putting Maxim in the swings is easy, it’s taking him out that is not trivial. There is a plastic safety bar that connects two ropes at the front and goes between kid’s legs into the seat. (If you need a picture, than look for yellow plastic in the middle of this image.) It prevents the little creature from falling forward. In order to pick up Maxim, I have to push this safety bar up. But it doesn’t stay there on its own. Maybe for only a second. Than it falls down along the ropes until it hits the seat. That is the first problematic area.
But it would have been so bad, if the seat wasn’t made of slippery plastic. With the safety bar up, nothing stops Maxim from slipping out of the seat and onto the ground. Luckily we didn’t have this today.
While I was pushing the safety bar up and trying to fixate it up there to stay for three or four seconds, Maxim slipped out of the seat. But he did it carefully and slowly. I managed to catch him by the hand exactly at the moment when his feet touched the ground. He looked puzzled and even a little confused – trying to decide if he wants to cry or not. This is, of course, the best moment to pick him up and confort him, before he would think that the whole white world in general hates him and his father in particular.
So I rush my other hand to pick him up. And the damn safety bar accelerates down like it has a rocket engine attached to it. It hits Maxim in the face, slightly to the left of his nose. Before you point your guns at me and start making those clicky noises, I have to say that the safety bar is made from plastic and thus is very very easy. And somewhat soft even. So it was not painful by any means.
But it was scary. Considering that by the time it Maxim he was already considering the pros and cons for a good cry, the safety bar wiped out all reasons for adult behavior. Maxim started crying, shouting, and complaining in his baby language. A tear of desperation streamed down his cheek. His bottom lip was sticking out in the most miserable way. He gave me one of those looks that I wish he never gave me.
I had to do something. What could I do? I already picked him up and was walking around saying stupid little funny things trying to comfort him. He was still crying. Of course he was – not only he was scared, but everyone in the whole park stopped doing what they were doing and turned our way to see what was happening.
I decided that a soother is also called a pacifier sometimes and that it was a great time for some pacification. I opened the bag with all the accessories and … there was no soother. I checked everything around – nope. I checked all the secret pockets – nope. Then I found the case where the backup soother has always been – it was empty. Damn!
I had to admit to myself, Maxim, and all those Looking Mothers that I didn’t have a soother with me. They were already wispering things like “What kind of a father would take his kid out without a soother?” and “Poor kid. We should probably report this incident of child abuse to the authorities.”. I think I looked so bad myself that Maxim stopped crying. He was satisfied.
With the silence – not counting the Evil Mothers’ wispering – I managed to get myself together and get as far away from that place as I could.
Three minutes later I was calm, Maxim was calm, and we were looking at each other with joy and happiness in our eyes. He wasn’t scared anymore. Noone was hurt. And I wasn’t worrying about the whole situation and about me being a bad father, because if I know one thing, than it is this –
These Things Happen And There Is Nothing You Can Do To Avoid Them All!