I've always got my eye out for a new park to take my son to. This is mainly because I myself get bored going to the same one over and over. It's nice to change it up a bit. Since I was going grocery shopping this afternoon, I decided to take him to a large park I'd passed many times coming home from work.
Today's New Activity: Futbol, Playground, and Young Punks at Union City's Shorty Garcia Park
One of the main reasons I wanted to go to this park is that there are always men playing soccer there. I wanted Monkey to get to see the sport in action, in person. So far he's seen it on t.v. and played with his mini-soccer ball and goal in the house, but he's never seen it live. We sat for a while on the sidelines and watched what was definitely league play, and I translated from the Spanish for Monkey. A coach screaming at his player, "callate buey, no mames...no digas nada mas pendejo!" (in an effort to keep him from being ejected for yelling at the ref) became "he got in trouble from his coach because he talks too much." Well, it was a rough translation.
Monkey enjoyed the game, but after about 20 minutes he was ready to go play. He ran to the playground and tried out all the fixtures he was unaccustomed to seeing. There were tons of monkey bars (perfect for him--the little strongman can hang from them himself and lift his legs up, hooking his feet on the next rung. Ridiculous!) and other things to climb.
And there was also a little walking suspension bridge, which he crossed carefully and with great ceremony.
He was having a great time with no end in sight. And then something really strange happened. He was standing and looking at these boys on their skateboards when he went into a bit of a daze. I figured he was just staring at the boys and I was telling him, "that's a skateboard," just to make the staring less awkward.
All of a sudden he just looked up at me and said, "home?" I asked him to repeat it and he said, "home." I was surprised because he's never said this word to me before, and he's certainly never eager to leave a playground. I said, "do you want to go home?" and he said, "yes," reaching his arms out to be picked up. I said okay and picked him up.
We'd walked quite a long ways from the car, and halfway back I noticed a young guy standing by my rear car window, leaning and peering into it. I'd left my purse there since I didn't want to lug it around the park, figuring I'd just keep and eye on the car (which I'd been doing while we watched soccer but had kind of forgotten about once we went all the way to the playground). Ugh...I felt my Mama Bear come out. I was livid. After a bit the guy looked around and I'm pretty sure he saw by the look on my face and my stepped-up pace that this was probably my car he was considering breaking into.
I was surprised he'd spotted the purse, since my windows are pretty darkly tinted in back--but when you're desperate and looking for it, I don't know...you can sniff these things out I guess. He walked back to his car, or the car where he and his friends were hanging out anyway and just stared at me in a near mocking challenge as I approached and put my son in the car. I don't know how exactly this transformation happens, but when I became a Mom, I lost all fear when it involved being in protective mode. Even though in this case it was just protection of possessions and not my child, the fact that my son was with me triggered that Mama Bear instinct. I pity the fool who tries to mess with a woman in that moment.
But what was *really* interesting to me was that the whole reason I even headed back to my car in that moment was because my son asked to go home. The rare, strange timing of it gave me pause. In an odd way I felt like he was the protector. Like he somehow knew something was amiss and wanted to clue me in. I thanked him for that clue in in the form of an ice cream at Sonic. How nice that I still had a wallet and could pay for it :)