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Maybe She Was the Nanny?

Whenever I find myself wondering what in the world I'm going to write for Parenting.com this week, all I need to do is take a trip to a playground and VOILA: instant blog fodder. Playground parents NEVER disappoint!

We were at the fancy schmancy outdoor shopping mall today, killing time in the play area before our appointment to yank my two-year-old's toenails out, I mean, get his hair cut. Note to Jackson: getting your hair cut DOES NOT HURT. I'd appreciate it if you kept the public wailing to below CPS detection levels. And look at me, digressing ALREADY.

I suppose I could have taken him to the children's barber in the fancy outdoor shopping mall but $25 plus tip to cut a two-year-old's hair? I think not. The play area, however, is free and we availed ourselves of the various toys and slides while we waited. It was 80 degrees out and I worked on my tan (there are only so many opportunities for browning oneself in the Pacific Northwest) while Jack summoned all his toddler courage to climb to the top of the slide all by himself. Molly jabbered to herself in the stroller and I had one of those, "This mom gig ain't all that bad!" moments. And I might have yawned, because, well, let's just say I wasn't having one of those moments at 5:30 this morning when Molly decided she was awake for the day.

Another mom saw me yawn and said, "Time for coffee, huh?"

I let out one of my socially awkward sounds-like-I'm-being-strangled chuckles, but inwardly I was all, "Human contact at the playground! Amazing!" Seriously, that's enough to make me ask a mom out on a playdate.

I didn't, because this mom was wearing a very pretty sundress with a matching headband and matching sandals and expensive sunglasses and not for the first time did I wish I'd paid a little more attention to my wardrobe on my outings to the fancy shopping mall.

Then the mom said, "Are you going to be here a little while?"

I didn't know what to say to that. Yes? Sort of? Why? I went with, "For a few more minutes" which was truly unfortunate, because the mom then asked me if I would watch her son -- that big blond boy over there -- while she went to get herself a coffee.

It was the kind of situation where you say "Sure?" before you really understand what you've gotten yourself into, and by the time you've figured it out the other person has disappeared. Supposedly to buy herself a coffee (and, to be fair, she did offer to buy me one) but for all I knew she was hopping into her sporty white convertible and hightailing it to Mexico.

The Mexico scenario was only one of the many Worst Cases I imagined while I kept one eye on Jack and one eye on the five- or six-year-old blond boy who was obviously a little disturbed about the sudden vanishing of his stylish mother and the fact that he was now left in the care of a slovenly and sleep-deprived woman wearing the flip flops she bought in college. I mean, what if he fell (he seemed like a brave and daring little boy) and hurt himself? What if he hurt someone ELSE? What if MY kid toppled off the slide and in the resulting chaos (because there WOULD be chaos) the other little boy was snatched by some Random and Untraceable Fancy Outdoor Shopping Mall Predator? GAK.

I watched the two boys, I listened to Molly and every few minutes I jerked my head around to see if the stylish mom was anywhere near.

In the meantime I watched a woman allow her toddler son and just-walking daughter to sit and do nothing at the top of the dual slide for a good five minutes, admonishing the boy's efforts to the get the girl to slide down because "She'll go at her OWN PACE, let her go at her OWN PACE!" Of course, her own pace meant the bazillion children standing behind these two thumb twiddlers meant THEY couldn't go down the slide and SERIOUSLY, PLAYGROUND PARENTS, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?

Stylish Mom finally returned with her Triple Grande Decaf Soy Iced Raspberry Mocha With Fat Free Whip and freed me from my morbid daydreams. And seconds after that my kids and I were OUTTA THERE. We had a date to sob all over the nice lady who cuts toddlers' hair.

So... that was kinda weird, right? It's not just me? She left her [WAY adorable] kid with me for a good ten or fifteen minutes while she wandered around the corner to Starbucks, totally out of eyesight, to buy herself a COFFEE. I mean, I'm a very nice and lovely person and YOU know I can be trusted, but SHE DOESN'T. Unless she reads this website, in which case: awkward!

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