Last weekend we went on a little outing to the Science Factory, which was super fun and entertaining and funny until everything went terribly wrong and I left feeling furious.
So how did that happen?
The Science Factory is a delightful local place where families go to let their kids run around and play with the displays and experiment with science a little. When we went, we had the added bonus of seeing a reptile display (and the very entertaining family of handlers whose obsession with snakes and lizards can only be described as ... all-encompassing).
The very last thing we looked at was a display that had some kind of wind-up tool that you would whirl around to see how fast you can burn calories (I think). Little did we know that this particular display had a knack for chomping up little fingers that found their way into its path. And Lil O learned this the hard way.
It is one of the things I like least in life, or in parenting especially, when you go from a super high to a super low. It is hard to switch gears so quickly, and you don't want to switch gears. You want to keep the fun part going. You don't want the bummer part to be real. So I feel very tempted to ignore it or move quickly past it.
But when your child is hurt, everything comes to a screeching halt.
O screamed and *PAUSED* takeabigbreath and SCREAAAAAMed some more. It was intense. I grabbed her and rushed her into the bathroom and we washed off her scraped little finger as I tried to figure out what had just happened.
When we came back out, Jake had gone over to the desk to ask for a band-aid, which they gave us. Okay. But this didn't seem like enough. I couldn't understand why they were standing there letting other patrons in while they could see my child crying.
"Do you want to talk to them?" Jake was sort of cringing. I sort of was too. I hate being "that mom." But WTF...you just can't go around hurting my kid with your calorie machines!
I went over and fumbled some words at them. The front desk lady had me fill out an accident report. Okay. We put exactly three things down on the paper. Not enough.
I didn't really know what to do next. I still don't. I told them that they really need to rethink putting that display out there for kids, because the little warning sign is too small, written in absurd font, and oh yeah...MY KID CAN'T READ. Grrr.
Later, of course, I thought of more things to say ("I am a lawyer goddammit! And that should make you more concerned than you are currently acting!!"). And I felt a bit embarrassed that I didn't do or say more. I didn't exactly turn on the mama bear instincts. Or the lawyer ones, I guess. But I am not certain it would have done any good. I could have made a scene, threatened them, probably freaked Olivia out. Not exactly my style.
But that doesn't stop me from feeling that parental self-doubt. Or regret. Guilt, perhaps? There's always guilt.
I guess at the end of the day I just want her to know that I will be there for her; that if the mama bear was needed, I would do it. (I pity the children's museum that ever does real harm to my child. I will RAIN down on that place like a hurricane of fists and subpoenas.)
But I didn't think it was necessary in this instance, and ultimately I think we will get to a better result by acting rationally. That's the goal anyways, I still need to give them a call back. And I'm planning* to be perfectly reasonable.
*provided they do what I ask