I had a Bad Parenting Moment today. Recently, a Chik-Fil-A opened near us and they have a great toddler-friendly play area. The food is okay, not overly greasy and the service is super. So, Arun and I have went a few times. Today, we went with my friend S and her daughter A for lunch. The problem started when we went into the playarea. There were several kids there who clearly did not have parents in the area supervising them, even though signs say parents should be in the play area. These kids were pretty rowdy and loud, but did not seem overly aggressive. Arun almost immediately scampered to an area of the tunnels where I could still see him, but couldn't actually get to him. The structure itself wasn't unsafe for him, but I felt nervous with him being so unreachable. However, I struggled with feeling like a Nervous Nellie and X often says I am too paranoid. And Arun was having a blast up there.
But, of course, the inevitable happened.
Arun started crying because a little girl did something to him - what it was, we'll never know, but there are no lasting injuries or any that left a mark, at least. I managed to reach him and pull him out, but it was rough going. I twisted my hamstring in the process and NewKid was probably smushed a bit.
Obviously, I made a mistake letting Arun go into the structure. I am a genius with that 20/20 hindsight shit. However, I am always conflicted with that need to protect Arun and that desire to let him explore his surroundings. I guess the key is he can't do that stuff until he can talk? Or hit back? When? It didn't help that I was PISSED OFF that parents were just letting their kids run amuck while they enjoyed a quiet Kid Free meal in the dining area.
Anyway, today was a disheartening day. I left the place feeling furious with those irresponsible parents that spoil it for everyone else, but mostly I was very angry with myself for not protecting Arun.