Thursday, October 09, 2003

That's Not My Job

Due to poor nap scheduling, I didn't get much work done today. Just returned some e-mails after lunch.

At 3:00, I got the shoes on the kids, packed up some apple chunks and graham crackers, and walked up Fort Washington Avenue to Javitts playground.

Today, we had trouble with Samuel. Samuel is a wild boy, who needs someone constantly telling him not to bounce his ball off other kids' faces. He needs someone smacking him on the back of the head when he screams "POOP." Instead his baby-sitter sits with her arms crossed half way across the playground. About as far from the kid as she can get without leaving the city all together.

Since Samuel is almost six and quite loud, naturally all the four and five year olds think he's the best. And now there is a small gang of boys armed with pointed sticks running up the slide backwards. Toddlers tossed aside. Their mothers gathering up the crying tots. It was all very Lord of the Flies.

I tried to get the boys to play a nice game on the tire swing, and tame the wild Samuel, but I failed. I couldn't mind someone else's kid when Ian kept escaping from the playground. I would turn my back to Ian for a second. Off he raced to the exit with his chubby cheeks jiggling. It was too hard to contain Ian and make sure that my older kid wasn't impaling others with his pointed stick. So we left.

I bribed the kids out of the playground with ice-cream from the Mister Softee truck. The white shark for Jonah. Ice cream sandwich for Ian and me. We found a nice bench in the Cloisters garden overlooking the heather garden for the treat, where I calmed down. It was actually a nice day. Hey, look at the flowers. Let's take off the sweaters.

Caroline stopped by with her three boys. We chatted about moving to the suburbs, while the kids drew on the sidewalk with chalk.

5:00 we walked back to the apartment, which is pretty late for us. I usually have dinner going by then. It's all about getting the kids to get by 7:00. Worrying about dinner ingredients, I ran into Jessica who handed me a Chinese takeout menu.

Like any good New York mother, I ordered chicken and broccolli on the cell phone while walking back home.

There are certain parts of raising kids that I love. Walking around the park. Treating them to ice-cream. Reading stories. But there's also aspects of the job that I didn't sign on for. Like watching other people's kids at the playground. And figuring out a four square dinner day after day.

Also putting valves in sippy cups, keeping track of milk consumption, watching the Wiggles, wiping bums, rinsing out shampoo, shopping at Target, transporting to pre-school, buckling car seats, curbing tantrums. Sometime I feel like saying, That's not my job. If I could delegate those jobs to a lacky or a graduate student, I would. But then I would miss out on ice cream in the park, too.

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