Baby’s been sick a little so I ended up taking Maggie out by herself today. She’d wanted to go to Adventure Science Center which she calls the Indoor Playground, but naps ran late so we decided to go to this new arcade near the house called Tito’s which also has a children’s play place and is also called by Maggie an indoor playground.
Tito’s is pretty small in footprint, with the playground area taking up I’d guess about a third of the floor space and going up several kid-floors. There’re two slide exits and one side exit and there’s only one space you can stand to view all possible exits which exists in the loudest area in the place. You also can’t see your kid about 80% of the play structure, and you can’t really hear because there’s an arcade going full blast around you.
Still, I thought I could stand in one area, see both major exits, yadda yadda… Maggie went in and disappeared. Then it was like a clown car of kids unloaded as a steady stream of kids, I stopped counting around 18, came in the place and went right in after her.
Still, I thought just stand in point X, there can’t be any other exits can there?
At 11 minutes I was wandering around calling her name. I mean I’d been doing that for a few minutes before just because I was I was worried but I know at 11 minutes my phone warned me I had 25% power left and promptly died.
All I can figure at this point was I went left when Maggie went right and we managed to miss each other by circling around a video game. I was in fairly ready panic mode at this point because well, really had not had a proper chance to verify there was no other way out and Maggie still struggles with street addresses and phone numbers.
I saw her finally – she’d found someone to ask to find me. This had to have been in the first 20 seconds of her asking because there was no way I’d been out of sight of either of the exits from the play area for longer than that.
She’d gotten wedged in somewhere way up in the playset when a hoard of kids came up and blocked the thing. Had evidently been screaming for me scared to go to some point in it but really, I was too far away for the noise that was coming around and every single kid in that thing was screaming at some point.
So she came out, we decided to go elsewhere for a bit, I didn’t want a repeat of this. Went to Baskin Robbins, got an ice cream, was trying to figure a way to get out of going back to Titos without someone else to take point. We ended up playing skeeball, she didn’t want to go back in the structure because she’d gotten scared by something. We decided to go home, grab a charger, and go to a park behind New Song.
I grabbed a bench, there were kids there, Maggie ran up to a group of four girls who were between 8 and 12 I’m guessing. I heard her loudly proclaim she was Maggie, and she was four. This is usually the way in which things work.
The kids were on the other side of the playground from where I was sitting (small playground, I could throw a ball to the other side.) Things seemed to be going ok. I wanted to let her run around a bit because the Tito’s experience was about a total of 15 minutes before we left.
I thought something was wrong at one point when I heard Maggie say something (I think about the sign language hand gesture for “love”,) and heard “who cares”. But things didn’t seem particularly bad. I then heard two of the kids talking about my shirt and how I looked retarded in it. It was a Hello Kitty/Grumpy Cat mashup, whatever, I don’t care what anyone thinks and kids can be foul mouthed brats and still be ok.
I knew something was up when the four older kids just ran from Maggie about 10 minutes later. That’s not 10yo behavior, pack running from a 4yo… that’s weird.
I called Maggie over, two of the kids had switched into speaking Spanish, which I am somewhat capable of understanding in conversational tones at normal speeds believe it or not. I picked up enough to hear what seemed to be more disparaging comments and told Maggie I was pretty sure they were being mean to her.
Maggie thought it was her fault. I asked what had been said and she said they had called her ugly and ran from her. They’d taught her a hand gesture that somewhat of an insult some places, and told her how to say “nut up” which I have yet to figure out what the context was.
By the time I’d gotten enough info from her to get right good and mad I’d also gotten to the point where I just wanted to get her out of that situation (actually in retrospect I think I was already in the car.) I’d lost her an hour before and brought her to a park where four much older girls decided to be mean as a pack to a four year old.
The woman I’m assuming was in charge of them was on the phone from the time we got there to after we left. One of her charges was about three and was chasing a five year old with a stick at full run.
I took Maggie home, we had a little conversation about how if she felt some older kids were being mean to let me know. She mentioned the thing about how we don’t really need to hear every mean thing she thinks a friend did to her (she’s four, it’s always a list of personal offenses,) and I tried to drill it in that these were not friends.
Each case I was about 20 feet away today and Maggie needed me and I didn’t know it.