Explaining the obvious to the oblivious

By Mir
August 6, 2004

So Chickadee was injured at the Foosball table on the first day of camp. On the third day, the same boy came over and started hassling her while I was standing right there (that one has a bright future, lemme tell ya) and I was able to scare him off. This morning (day 5) I was run over by a 10ish-year-old boy (he did say sorry, but I have a huge bruise) who was retrieving a 4-square ball; and at pick-up, we were in the room not one minute when Monkey was beaned on the head with a ball.

I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But that was enough, don’t you think?

I spoke with the head of the dance program, who referred me to the camp director. The camp director was summoned via walkie-talkie and showed up all perky and happy and maybe all of 22.

Not that I have anything against people who are 22. There are many fine people in the world who are 22. But I don’t know many 22-year-olds who 1) have their own kids and/or 2) actually know how to safely manage a large multi-aged group of children.

Miss Perky Director put on her interested look and nodded and nodded while I explained my concerns. Perhaps a child of 6 should not be in a play area with pre-teens. *nod* No discipline of which I was aware was taken with the boy who injured her. *nod*nod* 4-square is a great game, for outside, but not so much when in the middle of a large rec room. *nod* I should be able to walk into this room without being knocked over by a large group of running children. *nod*nod*nod* This is a great opportunity for my child for which I am paying a significant chunk of money and I don’t think we should have to be afraid for her safety. *nod*nod*

“Well I completely agree with you, Mrs. Paininthebutt,” she chirped. “And here’s my suggestion. I think you should talk to the leader of the dance camp about this.”

Thanks, Miss Perky, but she was the one who referred me to you. Next?

“Our ratios are mandated by the state, and always adhered to!” She spouted. “That’s one counselor to every fifteen kids, and sometimes we have even more than that!”

A silence fell between us as she beamed at me and I just stared. I tried to scrape up something to say (that I hadn’t already said) that would penetrate her perky glow. I decided to try a different tack.

“Miss Perky,” I said with an ingratiating smile, “I know you have a wonderful program here. That’s why we chose it. And I certainly don’t mean to make a fuss or cause problems if things are going along smoothly. I suppose it’s possible that we’ve just had a string of bad luck. Am I the first parent to approach you about the safety of this room? If so, perhaps I’m overreacting.”

Her smile faltered. Ha!

“Nooooooo…” she admitted, as her face flushed a bit, “you’re not the first parent to complain about how wild it gets in here.” Her brow furrowed for a moment. Then a flash of triumph crossed her face. “But all the complaints have been from parents in the dance program!” She began nodding again, relieved.

“Riiiight,” I nodded along with her, locking my gaze on hers. “And do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that the dance girls are as young as 6, and the rest of the campers are 8 and older?” Her brow furrowed again.

“Yes!” she agreed. “Many of the dance girls are very small, too.” Oh good Lord. Watching her nod was mesmerizing, as long as I could continue to squelch the urge to smack her.

“So maybe these small, younger girls could be in a separate area…?” (And maybe you could get your head out of your butt?)

“Hmmmm,” she said. “That’s a good idea. I should talk to the dance leader about doing that.”

“Well that would be wonderful, I think. I’d love to see that in place for next week, it would certainly ease my mind.” Now we were smiling and nodding together; her, considering what a brilliant idea this was (this is a huge facility, so why I had to suggest another space is beyond me), and me, thinking that it is one of life’s greatest ironies that I can’t find a job but this dimwit is being paid to keep my child safe.

We’ll see what Monday brings. If Miss Perky hasn’t found a solution, maybe I can go nod at the facility director for a while, and she’ll be fired and I’ll get her job. That’d be kinda cool.


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