Archive for May, 2010

The Purple Monster…

Posted in Mommy stuff with tags , , on May 1, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Last Sunday, I started my two-week stint as a single Mom. I wasn’t excited about the prospect of being the only parent on duty, of getting up every day at the crack of dawn and answering the nagging question “Where’s Daddy?”

On the flip side, I WAS excited about spending more one-on-one time with my little girl. As a full-time working Mom, a lot of my time with her is spent getting her fed, dressed and ushered to and from school with short breaks from our routine on the weekend and weeknights.

As luck would have it, my daughter had a birthday party to attend the first morning, right after my husband left. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and Ellie and I were both looking forward to the Sunday morning festivities at a new party place we’d both never been.  The party was for one of Ellie’s good friends in preschool and Ellie  had been talking about it incessantly all week. Not only was she excited to celebrate her friend’s birthday with her but she had also caught wind of the fact that a certain purple dinosaur was to make a special appearance.

I was excited, too. Not only to watch Ellie have a great day, but, also to connect with the other parents and catch up with them while the kids jumped and frolicked on the big inflatable  slides and in the bouncey house.

Upon entering, Ellie squealed with joy seeing her other little friends. And, she was quick to bestow the birthday girl with her birthday present.

After a quick signing of a waiver basically acknowledging that there are risks to playing on big inflatable bouncey thingies and that you as the parent assume them all, you’re off to have some fun! (And hopefully don’t end up retrieving your kid out of the bouncey house cuz she got kicked in the head.)

We followed the pack of three-year-olds and their parents into the room of inflatables–big inflatables–loud inflatables. Turns out they were all being run on what sounded like large generators. Upon entering, Ellie became afraid. She turned to me and said “It’s smelly in here.” It’s true my child, it smells like a big rubber in this room.  I tried to tell her that she’d get used to the smell but it was really bothering her. She then commented that it was “sooooo loud”. By now she was clinging to me while the rest of the kids ripped off their shoes and socks and one by one made their way into the bouncey house. I pointed to Ellie’s friends to show her how they weren’t afraid and were actually having a lot of fun. I proceeded with “Come on, sweetie. Let’s take your shoes off.” Which she let me do, begrudgingly. I guess I thought if I just acted normally that she’d catch on and stop clinging to me like a cat whose paws had unexpectedly come in contact with water.

I thought (hoped) I was making progress and then HE made his appearance. The big purple dinosaur entered the room and made his way in our direction and waved directly at Ellie.  He didn’t actually look anything like the Barney on television. He was purple and I guess he was a dinosaur but he sure didn’t look like any character I’d seen before.

Despite Ellie’s exclamations from the week leading up to the party regarding how she was going to give Barney a “big hug and a kiss”, when she actually saw this big purple character, she pretty much lost her mind — and I don’t mean in a good way. Her already trepidatious state turned quickly to one of terror. She was screaming and clinging to me like I’d never seen. If she could have, I think she would have crawled back into my womb. She was that afraid.

I quickly carried her out of the room–shoeless– and back to the front lobby where the employees were working behind a welcome desk. I explained what happened and they said that it sometimes takes kids a little while to get comfortable. So, I thought we’d wait a few minutes and try again.  In the meantime, several more of Ellie’s friends arrived which I thought would be incentive for her to go back into the play area.  So, we tried one more time and again, major FREAK OUT. I had just enough time to sneak back in, grab her sneakers, and get out quickly.

By now, Ellie was telling me that she wanted to go home. I couldn’t believe it. We had only been there for 10 minutes. She had been looking forward to the party all week.  This was her best little friend in school. I was really eager to catch up with some of the other Moms.

But, let’s face it, when your kid looks like this:

Barney is scary!

You hit the road. And, as a sensitive person myself, I could really empathize with her fear. I wanted her to know that I would never make her stay anywhere that she wasn’t comfortable — even if it seemed like it should be fun for her.  At first I wasn’t sure if leaving was the right answer. What if we got in the car and she changed her mind? What if I wasn’t giving her enough time to acclimate?

Ultimately, I made what I thought was the best decision. And that was to leave. Over the course of the day, we discussed Barney no less than 100 times. (Apparently, she’s inherited my tendency to obsess about things too.) “Barney won’t hurt you?” “Barney is scary.” “Where’s Barney?” And on and on and on. And, it wasn’t until many hours later that she finally asked to go to the party and I had to explain that the party was over.

In the end, I was able to distract her from the purple monster by taking her to the local park where she could swing, slide, and be confidently far away from all scary sounds, smells and monsters.  And, soon enough, my happy little girl was back.

Glee from being free of Barney