Just Because the Plumbing's In ...

So yesterday evening Curtis and I took the boys to a nearby elementary-school playground (you could tell it was an elementary because the most shocking profanity written on the equipment was "BOOBS"). Much to my relief, it was unoccupied by anyone but us. I know it's hermity and weird, but I'm one of those "leave me alone at the playground" moms. I'm not the type to sit and chat; I just want to monitor my own kids and make sure they don't jump off of something really high and smash their little heads in, you know? Because inevitably, conversations with playground moms end up in a subtle competition about whose kid learned to talk/walk/potty train earlier/better/more efficiently. Ugh. No thanks.

Anyway, we weren't alone for long. Pretty soon a gangly teenage boy came up with a little girl about Cameron's age (which is almost 17 months - how sad is it that I had to stop and calculate that for about five minutes?) ... I assumed she was his little sister. Anyway, this little girl was running around the equipment with a ballpoint pen in her mouth. Now, I'm not one of those uber-paranoid women who freaks out over little things (like the lady who berated my parenting skills at a Chinese restaurant once for letting an almost-three-year-old Colin poke at his food with a chopstick). But ... running around a playground with a pen in her mouth? I could just see it jamming down her throat.

"Be careful with that pen, sweetie," I said kindly, within purposeful earshot of the boy, who - like most teenagers - was slouched over his cell phone texting. Luckily she dropped it, and he picked it up. Whew. Crisis averted.

Man, I was thinking. Sometimes I'd do almost anything for a break from my kids, but to send them to a playground with someone so negligent ... eep.

So you can imagine my surprise when a girl approached. Judging by her baby face, she couldn't have been much more than fourteen or fifteen, about the boy's age. (Judging by her huge exposed rack and booty-baring shorts, she had raided a stripper's closet.) I almost fell over when she held her arms out to the little girl and said, "Come with Mommy." The boy followed, and it dawned on me that he probably wasn't her older brother after all, but her father.

Wow. What kind of a future does this child - or her parents, for that matter - have?

It reminded me of a quote from my favorite show, "The Golden Girls," about teenage pregnancy: "Just because the plumbing's in doesn't mean the house is ready to occupy." So true ... and so sad.


  1. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I had not one, but TWO pregnant girls in my class whose due dates were near mine. It was a surreal experience to share those nine months with those two young girls. Unbelieveable the circumstances the girls (and their sons) had to overcome, having fallen into parenthood so accidentally early.

  2. that is sad. But it also reminds me of the time I was at the park and a little boy (8 or 9) said "wow you have three kids already?" and then asked me how old I was. he actually sighed in relief when I said 31, and then he told me I looked 20. how cute is that? he was actually worried that I had so many kids so young! And of course, he is going to do very well with the ladies if he keeps telling them they look 20.

  3. It is so sad. I lead the Parents As Teachers group at our school and it is really difficult knowing that I'm barely scraping the surface of what these girls (and the occasional boys) need to know. I'm no longer shocked when they ask questions like, "You mean the baby can actually drink from your boob?"

  4. Yes,I think sometimes children grow up happy and healthy in spite of their parents, not because of them! Parenting is difficult enough at any age, and trying to parent when you're still a kid cheats both the child and the parents.


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