April 14th, 2004

14 Apr 2004, by

First of all, I had been meaning to gush on my blog about
the lovely spring weather. I’ve had minor allergy problems,
but mostly there’s been sunshine and stuff greening and blooming and all kinds of sweet beauty all around. I made a concerted effort this year to eat some local honey once a week, which I have heard and read can decrease your sensitivity to local flora, but I really have no way of telling whether that helped, or whether the things that affect me haven’t dumped their pollen yet, or whether
it’s just a milder allergy season this year. I’m still having minor sneezing and congestion issues, but what usually does me in is my eyes itching and swelling and turning red. It’s hard to cope with, especially since I already cope with eyestrain from heavy computer use. At any rate, I’ve had no eye symptoms whatsoever yet this spring, for which I’m really grateful. If I can get through
the pregnancy without needing allergy medication I will be very pleased indeed.

So the weather had been great, plus there’s finally been more light for longer and I’ve not felt like I should be hibernating. It’s also been deliciously warm. Of course, nothing this good could last, and this weekend the weather conspired to defy me by raining for three days straight, then having the temperatures plummet below sixty, culminating in a horrible dark and depressing day yesterday where the temperature didn’t break an abominable forty five all day. Last night we actually turned the heat on in
our house. The heat! In April! Ridiculous. Today is sunny and bright, however, and it’s supposed to get up past sixty, so perhaps there’s hope.

Well, most of the people I talk to on a daily basis have already heard this story, so in some sense blogging it seems like overkill, but part of the purpose of my writing here is to remind myself in the future of stuff that happened to me in the past, because my memory for events is unreliable. Yesterday morning, I went to drop off my child at daycare, as I do every week day morning. Now, like most daycares, my daycare has a setup for parents who are in too much of a hurry to park, get out of the vehicle and take their kids
inside. There’s a covered parking area in front of the door with two lanes for people to pull into and wait for one of the daycare workers to come out and get your kids. Supposedly, if you use these lanes, you’re not supposed to park and get out of the car, as that gums up the works and defeats the whole purpose of trying to make it a quick drive through area. Of course, the people using these lanes are
already the impatient type, so if a daycare employee doesn’t appear within 20 seconds or so they can often be seen hopping out of their car to take their kids inside. To be fair, there’s often not a person dedicated to taking these kids inside, and it sometimes does take longer than it should for someone to fetch the kids out of the car from inside, because the person assigned with this task may also
be assigned with other tasks. Still, if one is unsatisfied with the system, and is willing to get out of their car anyways, how much harder is it to pull into a parking space and do it right? Anyways, in addition to the two lanes for pulling up, there’s an additional uncovered lane, for the parents who actually like seeing their daycare provider
and who want to take their children inside themselves and settle them into their day. This is a drive through lane, that allows you to get at the parking spaces on the far side. From time to time, people park in the drive through lane, and about every three months the daycare sends a memo asking people to use the pull up lanes or park outright. For a while they were fining people five dollars if they parked in the drive through lane. At any rate, yesterday morning I go to drop my child off, pull around to the drive through lane because all the parking spaces are taken on the entrance side of the daycare only to find that someone has parked themselves there and is getting out of their car, so that I cannot get to a parking space and am stuck behind
this person in the drive through lane. He gets out and looks at me, and I gesture to him to please pull ahead or aside to let me through. He tells me to take a hike, only with expletives, proceeds to take his kid out of the car and looks at me again. I throw my hands up in exasperation and say “Uh-uh. You are not just parking there and taking your kid inside.” I’m inside my car, so obviously this person can’t hear me, but I’m sure he has no doubt as to how I feel about him being such a jerk. Well he vanishes inside and I’m stuck. I pop my head out my window to look around
hopefully for a daycare employee so I can complain. Of course, none is available. I realize that if I’m going to complain I’m going to identify this parent in some way and since it’s someone I don’t immediately recognize I grab a piece of paper and a pen to write the make model and license plate of the vehicle in front of me. At this point, the man emerges from the center, walks between our two cars and steps towards my window shouting, “What’s your problem?!”

I indicate that my problem is that I’m trying to get to a parking space so that I can drop my daughter off at daycare and he’s in the way. He steps toward me and starts yelling at me that he can park wherever he wants whenever he wants and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it and so on and so forth. I note that he may be able to park wherever, but he certainly isn’t supposed to. He carries on with his pacing and tirade, and I begin to wonder whether he’s going to threaten me or become physically violent, but
he shouts his piece and then he clambers into his vehicle and drives off. I feel a little sick as I pull into a parking space, but I’m grateful the man has gone and no one (and by no one I mean me, my daughter and my unborn baby) has been hurt. When I get around to the back of my car, though, I get another shock. Sophia’s eyes are wide and she’s obviously uncertain and scared. She tells me, tremulously, that she’s Sophia and I’m her mama. I assure her that yes, this is the case. I realize she needs some reassurance, so I tell her to come give me a hug. She climbs out of the car and rushes into my arms. I squat to hug her and as I do…riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip the pants I’m wearing split practically in half. I hug Sophia, without moving, thinking that I can’t believe I’m such a huge whale that I just split these pants, wondering whether my cardigan can cover me enough to go into the building and drop her off, and realizing I’m going to have to go back home to change and be hopelessly late and take time I can’t afford. I push all this away for the moment, straightening up and pulling my top down over my ass as far as it will go and hoping that’s good enough. I still don’t know whether the gaping hole was visible to everyone or not. Obviously I hope that it was not.

Sophia and I go inside and I spend a moment with her provider, who is really great and I’m very fond of. We talk over Sophia’s potty training successes and a few other things and then I take my leave. I go into the office to complain about the man who yelled at me and scared my daughter half to death. I explain there was a person parked in the drive through lane and that he was very unpleasant to me. I am told that it will be taken care of, and I realize that as I’m relaying the story my emotions are spinning out of control. I’m angry and then angrier than that. I feel my hands shaking, and my voice, as I speak. They assure me several times they’ll take care of it and I know I should sit down and talk about what taking care of it would entail and be rational and cool and explain in all detail what he said but instead I just keep saying “He was very unpleasant to me.” They ask me if I know who he is, and I don’t but I can point out which one is his child, and I do that. Then, I leave.

I get into the car and realize that none of this is a big deal, but as I’m driving away from the daycare I am completely overtaken by my emotions. By the time I
get home I’m bawling like a baby. I call my husband, because I don’t know what else to do and I know that he can probably help me to calm down. I feel awful and
stupid for crying and I just can’t stop. I know it’s unavoidable, that it’s just hormones and being eight and a half months pregnant and having a complete stranger
behave aggressively and rudely towards me and that it doesn’t mean anything that I’m crying but it’s so humiliating to have so little control over how you feel.
Which, of course, is only more upsetting and makes me cry more.

I don’t know why people have to be jerks. Everyone I’ve told the tale to has been completely appalled that someone could behave so poorly and be so overtly menacing in front of their own and someone else’s child. At our house, we never raise our voices except in play. I don’t think Sophia has ever been confronted with shouting that was not gleeful and positive. I don’t know how much or how little she really understood about what happened, but I do know its effect on her was profound. That day, during naptime, she woke up screaming and the provider had to soothe her back to sleep. This never happens. She is, as I’ve reported
many a time, an excellent sleeper. Her provider was so startled by this unusual behavior that she checked her over for physical wounds. Last night, she had nightmares and Kurt had to go in and see about her. Today at nap time she told her provider she didn’t want to sleep because she’d have bad dreams. I know that you cannot protect your children from bad things. I am glad that she saw me handling an aggressive situation in a way that was reasonably mature and non-violent. I am glad that I didn’t fall completely to pieces until she was well away from me.
However, I know I must have telegraphed some of my upset and fear to her anyways, and that she must have been very confused by the man coming over and screaming in anger and I find this upsetting, especially since it was so stupid and
unnecessary. I just don’t get what’s so difficult about parking your car in a parking space to go inside. I am glad that she is having dreams about what scares her, because I believe that dreams are a coping mechanism and that she will eventually work this all out and be able to face any situations like this that she encounters. However, it’s very difficult to see your child sink into a sleep and wake whimpering and know, in all likelihood, where the fear is coming from and be completely unable to free her from it. Still, I am glad that when she awakes frightened that there
are people there to comfort her, because I want her to know that she is as safe as we can make her.

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