February 6, 2008

Wednesday's Walk

Contributions to Kid-kind
Last Wednesday, I took Lucian to the U of A to participate in a Tweety Language Development Lab study. Lucian participated in the 19 and 20 months study. There is also a Baby Pictures link.

He did really well in the study. I love participating in their studies because I think it's so important that they do the work they do to further the education and understanding of issues like autism, learning disabilities, and speech development. It's just one small way I feel like we can contribute to society and it brings me peace knowing we might be helping in some small way.

Primal Defense Mechanism
After our time at the lab, since we were so close, we headed over to a near-by playground. I happen to spot it near 4th Avenue (where we were headed anyhow) and saw some brightly colored and modern-looking playground stuff. Plus there looked to be a mother and daughter playing at the swings, so I thought maybe I might feel safer with another parent around.

So, I unloaded him and got him in the stroller along with the diaper bag and we headed for the area where the other kid and Mom were hanging out. Once I got there, I couldn't really tell if it was the girl's Mom or her babysitter, but it didn't matter, it was company.

I have to say that this quickly turned into an unpleasant experience. Long story short, the lady and her kid were done playing and decided to leave. Then there were too many homeless people hanging around and some icky lookin guy decided he was going to walk his dog near my stroller and diaper bag. I got all panic-stricken and had to rush over to the stroller and get the diaper bag out for fear he would somehow run off with it right there in broad day light. The guy probably got offended, but truthfully, I don't give a shit. In the midst of going over to the diaper bag, which was about 10 feet away, I had to leave Lucian unattended to for 30 seconds in which time he took a spill on the climbing thing he was on and then I felt horrible about it. I have decided that am just way too paranoid to be at a playground by myself.

Have you even watched birds while they peck at crumbs on the ground? You know how they twitch and jerk their heads around because their eyes are on the sides of their heads and they are constantly fending off predators or looking for food? You know how if you try to go up to a bird, they freak out and fly away? Well, that's how I felt at the play ground. I was all twitchy and I kept turning my head this way and that because I thought someone was coming near us. I was making myself dizzy with how much I was looking around constantly on the defense of my child. I swear, it's like this primal defense mechanism kicks in. I truly consider myself to be a very kind and caring and compassionate person. I don't like violence and I really don't stand for it, but I swear, something just comes over me now that I've never experienced before. I get this feeling that if ever I were in some kind of confrontation with someone, like a crazy person at a playground, and they were after my kid, I would seriously do some damage to a person in defense of my child if I felt they were trying to harm him. I just think there is something about motherhood, you get these chemicals in your body you didn't have there before and your child becomes so precious to you that you feel like an angry cougar ready to pounce. I don't like this feeling but yet, somehow, it just seems normal in the grand scheme of things kind of like watching the National Geographic or something like that.

I just HATE this feeling of helplessness when it comes to taking my kid to the park to play. Public parks and playgrounds should be safe places for moms and kids, but they just aren't. They are havens for weirdos. I hate being there alone and no matter how nice and clean the park looks, there are always questionable people hanging around and it makes me so nervous. I just won't go anymore unless Hubby is with me or a group of other mothers and kids. I need to find me one of those play date group things. I am so inexperienced when it comes to hanging with other mothers and little kids. I've done it a few times and I always feel like a goof. I only have a couple of other mommy friends that I've hung with comfortably, but they all work FT. I need to find some SAHM friends to hang out with. I so could have called this one Mom that has offered to meet me, but did I have her phone number with me at the time, nope. (Sorry Stacy) I'd like to think I'm more organized than that but I guess I'm not. I did plug her number in my cell phone finally, so maybe this week I will give her a call. I have no idea why I have such a problem doing this. Normally, I am so outgoing and can make a friend in the grocery store. I don't get me sometimes. There is always some excuse for not getting out and then when the mood strikes me, it rains. (Hint: it doesn't rain a lot in Tucson) When I finally DO get out, then it dawns on me that I could have planned a play date! Duh!

Head Out to the Hippie District
So, after the whole playground mental disaster, we made like a baby and headed out, got back in the car and drove to Fourth Avenue. I like to call Fourth Avenue The Hippie District. If you've even been there, you would know why. I wish I had some pics to share of it because it's a very interesting looking place. Lots of interestingly decorated building and murals on the sides. It is not uncommon to see lots of creative fashion sense, piercings of all kinds, tattoos and college kids roaming around. Probably because you can buy it all in the little shoppes that sell their wares on the strip. There are a couple of bars, tattoo and piercing parlors and retro clothing shoppes. Sometimes there are 'live' musicians playing on the sidewalk. Just about every store you pass smells like they are covering up the smell of pot with the smell of incense. There are several head shops on the strip. Don't ask me how I know that, just take my word for it. I'm not THAT liberal (anymore) but I like to window shop, ok. If you hear a bong percolating in the background, it's certainly not mine, but there is a hookah lounge that looks interesting. There is even a place to buy hydroponic herbs. Yeah, and Dave's not home either, wink wink. Herbs, riiiiiiight.....next to the oregano.....wow, this spaghetti is reeeeely good, what's in this stuff?

Herbs. Just lots of herbs.

I really like Fourth Avenue because it's the kind of place where I can walk and let my hair down – all the way down, since it's now past my waist. I normally keep it up in a pony tail because I can't think when it's down, but strolling around The Hippie District, it feels good to let it down and hang out in the sunshine. It's the kind of place where you could walk around in shorts without having clean shaven legs and no one would bat a fake pink eyelash at you. I keep my hairy legs covered though, thankyouverymuch. Even I don't want to look at that in the reflection of some glass door. Bleh.

I really enjoy taking Lucian for a walk in the stroller up and down Fourth Avenue because the sidewalks are nice and even for the most part and just about every cross section has the scalloped curbs so I can easily navigate the stroller up and down. It is a very bike- and people-friendly place for walking. Lots of stuff to see and smell. (Incense, lots of incense...I think.) The people-watching aspect is always very interesting as well. So, we had a good time. Well, actually Lucian napped most of the time laying down in his stroller, so I had a good time walking and getting some much needed exercise and sunshine. It was a good place and opportunity to clear my mind and feel so much more relaxed than the trauma I had experienced at the park. (Perhaps smelling all that incense had something to do with it.)

I guess I need to find some big hippie park where they have a big hookah in the middle of the merry go round and maybe I wouldn't be so tense and other people would feel safe with this old cougar. Grrrrr!

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