A Walk to the Playground
On our way to the Vic West YMCA playground, I saw these beautiful lilacs in their lush glory. I asked B if they smelled good and she scrunched up her nose about six inches from them, exhaling vigorously and nodded. She promptly went to play with some small rocks in a neighbour’s driveway.
A bright-eyed woman with a silver crewcut and the most amazing turquoise eyeshadow came into view as we walked by the barbershop on the corner of Raynor Avenue and Craigflower. She reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. B had her cloud boots and blue bucket and G was nestled in his carrier on my front. The woman approached us, smiling, and her eyes softened when she peered down at G’s sleeping face. She exclaimed, “two months?! ” when I told her how old he was. He is quite hearty for a 2 month old baby. She proudly informed me that she is expecting her first great-grandchild in September. I congratulated her, her enthusiasm drawing me in. She walked off jauntily around the corner, earrings swinging.
B’s sharp eyes spied, of all things, a child’s tiny exercise bike in front of Sailor Jack. She was so curious and excited about it that we stopped so she could sit on it. It had thick cork pads carefully zap-strapped to the pedals to make it easier for little feet to reach. Though it was slightly too big for her, B was delighted by it and she came back to it several times as we looked at all the large toys parked in front of the shop.
The park was moot. She was on the swing for about two minutes and then directly into the wood chips and sand pit. She spent the entire time excavating, ignoring the playground’s amenities entirely. We ‘casually’ bypassed the exercise bike on the way home, taking a slightly different route back via the tennis courts and public garden.
A large German Shepherd dog terrorized B from behind a fence on the way home as we walked by the school. I was reminded of when I was six and a terrier did the same thing to me every day as I walked home from school. It would charge me as I fled in terror past its house.
B covered her face with her hands, eyes peeking through her fingers. “I ‘cared Mommy,” she whispered. She shook as I held her and comforted her. I felt anger boiling in the back of my head for her being in the same situation as I was so many years ago. I calmly tried to tell her that the dog was protecting his property and that we have to be careful with dogs we don’t know.
I’m going to take the advice of the terrorizing terrier’s owner and stand my ground and speak firmly to the German Shepherd the next time it barks at us. I need to show B how to be confident around large dogs so they know who is boss. She is so tiny. That dog must be absolutely enormous to her. My poor baby. (Grrrr, fret, fume, resist urge to kick snarling dog in nose…)
Note: I am not prone to violence and I would never harm an animal unless it was attacking me or someone else. I mean, I feel guilty squishing mosquitoes I find flying around my house. I try to chase them outside. The point of the above passage is that anything scaring my children provokes extremely protective feelings in me that are somewhat shocking in their intensity.