…it’s when I try to have any social life. When I venture beyond the grocery store, pharmacy, park shuffle of regular routine. This is when it happens. My husband works a lot and most nights, so my dates are usually a 6 and 3 year old for fun stuff.
Now, I believe in letting my kids feel independent and explore their surroundings without me hovering. But, that is for our yard. Which is large, so they can feel like they are on a hike in the backyard without a helicopter parent on them. I allow them to play without KNOWN direct supervision. They frolic in their imaginary world, I keep the front door open and my computer faces out so I can monitor.
Much like my dad would “give in” when we wanted to go trick or treating with just our friends.
“Ok have fun”.
We trundled off in the kind of costumes that would now probably go up in flames on the dark residential street. When we turned around my dad and his friend George ( another dad) would duck behind the car. We liked the balance of faux independence.
This parenting theory of mine has been GREATLY challenged by my 3 year old boy. Last week we ran into a friend of Vivien’s from school and her mom at an outdoor mall. While the mom and I talked the three kids ran around and around…as in a circle. Suddenly, the circle broke off and in a flash they vanished. I mean not a trace. The other mom went in one direction, I in the other. Time moves very slowly when you can’t find your children in a public place, but I think it was 5 minutes before I saw them again. She had found them in the The Gap. The girls listened to us to stay in on the lawn while Rex went charging off again. I picked him up and got down to his level.
“Rex, you cannot run away so far that mommy can’t see you.” He started to laugh.
“It’s not funny” I started to cry, which made Vivien start to cry. ” You can run around me, but not away from me.” Now I’m consoling Vivien and I’m thinking the other mom thinks I’m a basket case. Whatever.
Cut, to last weekend. I have become so incredibly unhip. So, once in a while if I can be exposed to something cool and current that doesn’t involve a porta potty I’m all over it.
Transmission LA was that occasion. Our friends who operate the famous Kogi bbqtrucks (delish) were parking their trucks at this art event at the Geffen at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Because we were “on a list” The kids and I were able to bypass the long line, have tacos in our hand and then sit at the outdoor rainbow dining tables in short order.
I gorged myself on the food. Viv ate hers and Rex would not sit down or eat. But, again I could see him rant around in a space that was free of cars.
Then we went into the exhibit. It was a big white space with large rooms where one could interact with the art. Ah, perfect for kids! The colored wheels were my favorite. I still had to remind them to not touch, but that’s cool. When we looked at another site with neon posts. I asked Vivien, what do you think the artist is trying to say here? Neither of us had an answer, but we both dug it.Later, she got it and came up with a theory about the artist’s intent on another exhibit (there were butterflies), but we were all a bit stymied by the cartoon of Popeye by Takeshi Murata being so downtrodden by losing his job, the death of Olive Oyl and Pee Wee that he hung himself and then drown off in a gold car to Rush’s ” Tom Sawyer”. Rex asked, “what is happening to Popeye?” I said, the artist has a comedic ironic take on an icon. I thought, is Popeye in the public domain? No copyright issues?
Vivien enjoyed the music coordinated with flashes of light over a Mercedes Benz ( yes, they sponsored ) Then we went through a tunnel of light and came in to a room that looked like a cartoon. It was overwhelming to the senses and made us feel like we were in a cartoon. Sidebar, if you ever considered doing psychedelic drugs, skip it and pop into this room. I could see Viv..
He was just here…Now, he was gone.
“Vivien, where is Rex?” We ran out the door he had gone before. Not there. I looked up and down. I ran to the security guard. “I’ve lost my son. He is 3 years old. Grey shirt, dark blonde hair.” The lady immediately started talking to her counterparts on the radio which made me feel better. They will find him. This place is lousy with security. But, then would if one of these hipsters in a Fu Manchu stache is a bad person. No one would hear screams in this noisy place. I ran out thinking, “he would want to go through the tunnel again. I ran into the neon post room. That security guard didn’t have a radio.
“My son is missing.” I gave a description again and ran with with Vivien trailing. Down one tunnel, then another. Pushing people out of the way, “I’m sorry, please let me by my son is missing.” I pleaded.
Then we went into another tunnel of light.
A guy in a blazer, “are you looking for your son?
“He went that way” Pointing into the cartoon room. I really hoped it was my kid as their were other kids. We walked out of the tunnel and there was Rex in the middle of the cartoon room starting to cry. The female security guard who had gotten on the radio was with him.
Vivien and I dropped to the floor and embraced him. “were you scared Rex?”
“Mommy, where were you?”
“Sweetie, I’m here, please stay by mommy. Please. Let’s go home.”
“I don’t want to go home.”
“then you have to hold my hand”
I wish I had riches. I would have a manny who always trailed him in public places.
The security guard lady had found him running back into the room and had grabbed his hand. “Some man told me ‘don’t treat that child like that.’ I said, His mommy is looking for him.” She told me this twice so I think she felt a little insecure about her move.
“Thank you for doing that. You did the right thing. I’m glad you grabbed his hand.” Nice a stranger is in to kids rights, but you know anarchy stops being cool when people are looting? Sometimes you want the fuzz.
We wondered outside after a little running around more modern art that we didn’t understand. The DJ Diplo was playing ( briefly thought they meant Duplo the lego like toy, yes, that’s why I need to get out) . Strange things the kids today are doing. They stand up right by the DJ, like a band. I thought that odd. We found my friends and I told them “Rex was missing for 6 minutes.” Was it? Was it three, four? I don’t know, too long. I thanked them for hipping me up and then exited.
There were porta potties, but I waited till I got home. I had been traumatized enough.
Not that I’m getting one, but I now understand the people with leashes. My daughter was not a bolter. Rex is. I still want to take them out and do cool things, but I have to be far more vigilant with this guy.