Herr Meow is very fond of the slides at the park. As a matter of fact I am shocked to see how at such a young age, he is fearless in his approach and enjoyment of them –something I attribute to that insouciant recklessness of men and their testosterone.
As far as I am concerned, I don’t think there is such a thing as a "correct" way to go down a slide after children are of a certain age and mobility (although I found a correct way to go down a water slide and a correct way to slide into a base). I know that some parents like to teach their kids to slide stomach-down and feet-first because if they try to do it like big kids (feet-first, sitting up), they are not as stable on account of their big heads and tenuous neck control. However, ever since we’ve been going to the park, Herr Meow prefers to do it big-kid style. I will not lie: a couple of times he did lose his balance and conked himself on the side of the head a little, but he was more shaken than hurt and he wanted to go back down ASAP anyway. And I was right there, to prevent any horrible accident where somehow he’d end up going over the edge on account of his huge melon.
I am not sure if at this point you think me a horribly irresponsible parent, or if you’re nodding your head in agreement. I’m kinda hoping you’re doing the latter, but one parent…. nay, a MOMZILLA, bitchily made sure that everyone knew that SHE had written the book on how to slide down a slide.
The park on Friday afternoon is kind of a mob scene: loads of parents who normally don’t spend much time with their kids are trying to show the world that they do know the children by their first name, and they are eager to hobnob with the parents who are there all the time. There is still a small amount of nannies doing the rounds and reminding us all that there is no evil parent like the I-see-them-on-Saturday-or-maybe-Sunday-only parent (which is something for another day); but for the main part the parents that hang out on Friday afternoons tend to be a mixture of genuinely nice everyday people, and territorial look-at-me types.
Enter Momzilla, stage right. She is of a certain age– the kind of age that the careless observer who suffers from foot-in-mouth disease could earnestly call the grandmother.
She is busily supervising a toddler –a very cute girl, but who looks like she’s resenting a little the lack of freedom. She is also seemingly supervising a couple of older, lanky, tomboyish girls who are trying their damnedest to run younger kids off the slides. She is intent on teaching her toddler how to go down the slide, but in doing so she is chiding the other mothers and nannies who are also putting their kids on the slide. I am absorbed in Herr Meow’s happy face: he’s climbed all the way up to get to the slide and has a big grin on his face, ready to go down.
He motions me to help him get in position and I wedge myself near the top. He sits his bottom down and slides feet first and happy, giggling and squealing as he hits the smooth curve near the floor.
The Momzilla has watched this, as her child was tentatively at the top of the other slide (these being twin slides) but had not slid down. She positions the child in the above-mentioned position and loudly proclaims, "THIS IS THE WAY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO GO DOWN THE SLIDE."
The nanny whose charge –a gorgeous, porcelain-eyed two year old who was playing hide and seek with me and my son– had been going down the slide big-boy style, suddenly switches him around and nods. Two other mothers follow suit, humming yesses and nodding sheepishly. I feel a cold reptilian eye on me, but when I look up she is smiling her tight lizard smile, beaming down on her converts. And her children, presumably.
A little later, Herr Meow makes it back up to the top of the slide. He means to go down, but there is an aggressive young lady swinging off the top bar like an undernourished gorilla. She makes Herr Meow nervous, and he decides to go down the other set of stairs.
"Now girls, you’re scaring the little ones away," our dear Momzilla lamely chides.
She smiles her tight lizard smile. I don’t smile back, but instead grab Meow père et fils, and off we go.