A Walk in the Park: 16 Nannies, 25 babies, a Dozen Mommies and One Registered Sex Offender

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A comfy spot for a perv

 

I find myself at the park on Beverly Boulevard near Larchmont Village. I’ve never been there before, though I’ve driven by a thousand times, barely registering the balloons on the picnic tables, families celebrating birthdays. Maybe I’m just trying to get close to where the mom people and kids go. There are strollers, sippy cups, nannies and a playground lousy with toddlers.

Spreading out my towel on the grass, I survey the scene for a second, and wonder if this is home, or the future, or an oasis of simple pleasures I don’t yet understand or some kind of grape juice-stained, soul-crushing daily drudgery that I will never, ever embrace or even hack. I look for signs, read the mom faces. I give up, deciding I have four and a half more months to figure it out. I return some text messages. I download a meditation podcast on my iPhone, doze off. 

I come to. A woman is screaming at an old man in a straw hat and faded plaid shirt. “Don’t talk to these kids. Get out of here. You are disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

She is pointing at his face and there is a gaggle of silent moms behind her, arms crossed, chinos in a bunch, angry, but none call 911. I don’t know what the story is with these moms and this old man. I want to help, but I feel detached, like I’m observing the whole thing in a mom exhibit somewhere.

The old man turns on the bench, which is oriented toward the playground, turns sideways, head on his shoulder and stares at me. I am way too old for you, pal. Maybe he’s trying to get a gander at my tiny, nakes fetus. Creepy.

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14 Responses to “A Walk in the Park: 16 Nannies, 25 babies, a Dozen Mommies and One Registered Sex Offender”

  1. Mary
    May 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I agree with Katherine. Some people are just too whiny and judgemental about the littlest things. Don’t get me wrong, I worry about my kids I don’t even let them walk to school until now (my son is in junior).
    Katherine’s story reminds me of my favorite story about my son when he’s 3: He’s doing wooden puzzles and loved it. One of his puzzles was the map of the U.S. so I thought I’d start teaching him about capitals. So I asked him, “what’s the capital of California?”. And he answered “C”. I was confused for a bit and asked him, what do you mean “C”. He said, well the word California starts with a capital C so the answer is C. That’s my favorite story!
    As far as left over names: Liam

  2. Ashlie1028
    May 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Teresa,
    I have to agree with Katherine because she speaks the truth. I don’t want to sit here and lie to you saying motherhood will never make you want to just take a large sleeping pill and be out for a few days. That’s where Katherine’s comment comes in. You will almost instantly realize that being a mother is the most exhausting, scary, and at times unappreciated times of your life. However, it will be THE MOST rewarding experience ever. At first you may feel like it’s too much for you to handle and you might even feel like an unfit mother, but that is normal. Every baby is different and once you get the hang of your baby’s routine and habits, it will all come to you a lot easier. You will be amazed at how natural the maternal instinct is. From the very first moment you hold your son, your main priority in life will be to keep that baby healthy and safe. I never understood when people said “I would give my life for my kids” until I had my son. I could never wrap my mind around someone willing to die for someone else. So whenever he drives you crazy, and cries non stop, just remember to seek the funny and happy moments of the day. And no matter how beat and irritated you may be by the end of the day, when you put him down for bed just take a minute to watch his peaceful little adorable face as he sleep and believe me… all the bad moments of that day will instantly vanish.

  3. Jen
    May 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Oh man name picking for lil dudes is super hard. I have one, Ben, and one on the way, Sam. Both will have the full version although we rarely hear Benjamin unless he is super busted. I have yet to share the name with the inlaws or friends, smug or not, because I dont want to hear their comments. My mother in law told me OK well you give me a list of 10 names including the name you will choose and I will tell you what I think of each name… Uh, no.

    I say if you like it and want it name nap it. My Mom says she really wanted to name my sister Scout but people made faces and she still wishes she would have 30 years later.

    This list of names from the SSA helped me. I went to the top 100 its prety much all the “regular” names plus the popular ones. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

    Good Luck! I can’t wait to hear your decision.. OH and my left overs..

    Levi (in laws freaked when I brought this up for my son telling me it would mark him a jew)
    Vaughn, dunno just liked it
    Oliver
    August or Gus (were goin August on the middle this time)
    Max, but I heard you guys talking about it and ruling it out
    Charlie, but Charles as the full name.
    I also like Finn but didnt know what to do about the full name

    • Jen
      May 18, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

      oh man.. did I ever put this in the wrong post :) sorry Im due in a week or two.. super beat :)

  4. David
    May 16, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    It’s funny, I’m curious if the creepy feeling you got was more by your own thought or the old man? Either way I think this is you best blog post so far. It feels like it’s the first time you have really let your self let go and truly experience the moment. Life really isn’t about the beauty or the joy or the hope or anything like that. Life is EVERYTHING that happens.

  5. Mareike Kuypers
    May 15, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Katherine,
    Yikes!! I was referring to my own comments.

  6. Christine M
    May 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    Katherine, I did not think your story inappropriate, in fact, as a mom of a 3 yr old I can totally relate. It was a pretty cute story actually. IMO

    Teresa,

    Ever hear that phrase that god doesn’t give you more than you can handle? It’s pretty true when it comes to kids I think. My 3 yr old will need open heart surgery when she’s 4 for a couple holes in her heart. All you need to hope for is a happy healthy baby and the rest will happen naturally. Even making friends with the other moms in preschool/daycare/elementary school. That’s a test unto itself for me so far…(we also have a 6 yr old)

  7. Katherine
    May 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    Was my comment inappropriate? I hope not, I love being a Mom. But I do think that what I have found to stay sane has been to find the humor in it and not take it or myself so seriously.

  8. MizLottie
    May 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    I love you Teresa! I miss you, BB and Adam. Hope BB is doing well, I miss him and his perfectly-timed drops, he was a genius at them.

    Didn’t that remind you of the movie “Little Children”?

  9. Mareike Kuypers
    May 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    I love reading your blog. I hope comments aren’t making you rethink this idea.

  10. The Caleb
    May 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    That’s the last time I ask some snot-nosed kids if my butt looks big in this straw hat.

  11. Katherine
    May 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Oh and just a note for all those judge-y Mom’s out there, I was sitting “inside” his room, not outside with his door closed. I am not a monster after all. sigh.

  12. Katherine
    May 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Mareike,

    I couldn’t agree more.

    As I was reading the post, I was so saddened to think that the first reaction is that he was some sort of perv. An old man sitting on a bench in a lovely park, watching children experiences the joys of early life.

    I don’t get perv, I get what you mentioned, nostalgia…that at the end of our lives maybe we get the time to sit and bask in the unencumbered life of a child.

    It really breaks my heart that our culture has gotten to this point. If the scene had been an old couple or old woman sitting there, no issue.
    ——-
    T. as for the worry about joy or drudgery. Listen there is a lot of drudgery in being a Mom, do not let anyone (especially those Jesus Child sires) tell you any differently. BUT! There is drudgery in all tasks, but few tasks give you daily bits of light. The trick is to look for them, in the midst of the piled up laundry, and the endless string of diaper changes and breast/bottle feedings. There are moments. Stunning, shocking moments brief and ephemeral, that you MUST notice. Because they are the secret to being a happy mother. And as your child grows into a toddler, and becomes defiant, petulant, whiny and generally a pain in the ass (yes I said it!), there are going to be moments everyday that are frankly hysterical! You have to see them, you have to look for them, be open to them happening, oh my god it is just the best. It is lame, unsophisticated humor, but it is core and human. Even just typing this I am laughing about two different things I saw my kid do.

    Here is my favorite story of the week.
    Boy, he is 3. He wanted something his sister had, and went to take it. Big no-no around here. Sharing is key and ask before you take. So I explained that she was playing with it and he would have to wait. Well the sky fell down and the seas crashed the shores. He threw the armful of letters he was holding on the ground.

    Tantrums…sigh part of life. But we have a policy, you can have a tantrum if you need to but in your room where you are not disturbing everyone else. (I know I am horrible.) So I ask him if he can pull it together, sobbing he says no. So we walk to his room, I pick up my phone on the way. All of sudden he (still sobbing) says I have to pee!. (we are nearly through the training stage, but at times he forgets…times like this in fact when he is distracted) I say, Good job remembering! and we go into the bathroom.

    So he like his Dad is a pee standing up kid (not in the sink like your old friend over there – what is that, btw?) So there he is standing in front of the commode, holding the willy, sobbing. And with each sob comes the stream, breath in stop, sob out stream, breath in stop, sob out stream. LMFAO! But I hold it together and do not laugh out loud in front of him.

    He finishes, flushes, washes hands, turns otu the light…crying the entire time. So, you still need to have a fuss in your room or are you good to go back and play. No, Mom I really still need to fuss. Uhmm okay.

    So off to his room we go, he sits on his bed. I sit in the chair by the door, checking my email on my phone for the 10 minutes it takes for his fuss to finally dissipate. Then we go back outside and he apologizes to his sister. And our day goes on. Without recognizing the silly, idiotic and bizareness in those events…that basically just turns into 25 minutes of hell.

    Whew that was long, sorry. Hope you at least got a smile.

  13. Mareike Kuypers
    May 15, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Teresa,
    You are so sweet. You can think and worry all you want about whether or not you will embrace being a mom but I have every confidence that 4 1/2 months from now you will fall utterly and deeply in love with little Shane or James or… You aren’t a kid who thought it might be fun to have a baby. I happen to know you are a mature woman of the age of 29 (I’ve heard it for years so it must be true:)) who has known for a long time that she wanted a child.
    As for the old man; perhaps (as the moms were suggesting) he’s a pedophile who should have been reported but perhaps he’s a lonely old man who goes to watch kids play in the park to remember a happier time in his life. (I believe in being guarded but don’t want to be suspicious of everyone.)
    Heh, I’m happy to be a punching bag if anything I say offends.
    Take care.

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