Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Possessed Strollers and Dealing With Public Displays of Domestic Violence

Woodland Park Zoo 5In my life this week… I’m sure a lot of interesting things happened to me this week, but they were all overshadowed by today, which was just one of the most bizarre days that I have ever had. Honestly, I could probably spend an entire year blogging just about today, but I will just share the two events that stood out the most. Today ended up being quite nice here, in the mid 40’s and very sunny, so Dora and I decided to go to the Woodland Park Zoo. As we were walking from our car to the entrance, a man, woman, and child came out and the man was yelling at the woman. His voice clearly carried across the entire parking lot. The woman’s apparent crime was suggesting that they park on the street, to save the cost of paying for a parking spot and that they bring in their own sodas, rather than pay the exorbitant cost of buying sodas at the zoo. I really could have cared less about this debate, but this man was yelling at the woman like she had suggested stealing food from an orphanage. Not only was he verbally abusing her, but he kept grabbing her shoulders very firmly, as if he intended to shake her violently. He was clearly in a rage and I expected him to become physically violent at any moment. Meanwhile, the woman just stood there, mute, eyes cast downward. The child silently observed, taking it all in. I stayed near by, ready to call 911 and physically intervene, if need be, but things never escalated to the point, where either option was appropriate. The man finally got into his truck and the woman walked away to wherever her car was parked. Even then, the man started yelling out his window, mocking her, saying she could have his paid parking stub. By that point, a couple of us mothers had formed a group, all of us itching for the man to cross that invisible line that would give us permission to let loose on him. The whole event soured my entire day and I spent many hours replaying the experience in my head, trying to think of what I could have done to help that woman. I can’t think of anything that I could have done that would not have just made things worse for her, but I am curious as to whether or not anybody else knows of something positive that I could have done for this woman (ideas such as hanging the man by his toes above a moat of hungry crocodiles have already occurred to me – okay, I’ll be honest, hanging him by his toes over a moat of hungry crocodiles would have been mild compared to what I really wanted to do to him). I felt so powerless, the man seemed to know exactly how badly he could behave without bringing down the wrath of a group of rabid, frothing at the mouth, banshee moms who would have gladly torn him limb from limb. I have had similar experiences where children were involved. Where I have been left with the feeling that if this is how the parent acts in public, most assuredly the child is abused at home. Yet, once again, the parent does nothing illegal and I don’t see any physical evidence of abuse, so there is nothing I can do, but wring my hands and worry.

Woodland Park Zoo 6The second event worth noting happened as Dora and I were exiting a bird building. We came out to see the back of a stroller, which I had previously believed to be empty, shaking in an extremely violent manner. I won’t lie, the first thought that ran through my head was that the stroller was possessed by some sort of exorcist-baby. Then I panicked, thinking that previously I had simply not noticed that there was a baby that had been left unattended in the stroller. Then I realized that no baby would shake a stroller like that and not be screaming his head off. I probably would have just fled the area, except for the fact that the possessed stroller lay between me and my stroller. I should mention here that I have a Bob’s stroller and love that stroller so much, I would have married my stroller, if I wasn’t already married. So I timidly approached the possessed stroller, to find that there was a squirrel ransacking the stroller. In was running in and out of the lovely baby bunting and just behaving in a generally insane manner. I managed to shoo the squirrel away from the stroller, grabbed our stroller and ran back to the bird building, by which point the squirrel had gone back to ransacking the other stroller. I ran in the bird building and hailed a father with his little girl, who I was pretty sure the stroller belonged to. I breathlessly told him that there was a squirrel in his stroller. He stared at me blankly and I began to worry that he was Russian or something and couldn’t understand me. So I repeated myself and started gesturing, at which point comprehension dawned on his face (it was only later that it occurred to me that I also would probably stare blankly at someone if they came running up to me and said, “There’s a squirrel in your stroller.”). He ran outside and chased the squirrel away, but the squirrel had taken some of his stuff and ransacked the bunting. He half-heartedly tried to convince the squirrel to give him back his stuff, but finally left dejectedly. There is probably some sort of life lesson to be learned from this experience, but I’m not sure what it is, other than “watch out for crazy squirrels”.

Woodland Park Zoo 3In our homeschool this week… Gohan continues to do much better with the 3rd edition of Saxon Algebra, though he is having to write his first full essay in his Oak Meadow Language Arts program and I may pull out all of my hair before we get through this ordeal.

Felt Envelope Valentines 1Things I’m working on… 50 handmade, felt valentines. We learned on Monday, the 4th, that our co-op is having a Valentine’s Day party on the 12th and that if we want to participate, we should bring 50 valentines and a dessert to share. Of course, Dora HAS to go. She is totally the type of kid who is into these things (in fact she recently told me that she plans to go to school when she is 7, because she wants to eat school lunches). So, I knew that I had to make the effort to make this work, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the store bought valentines. So, I’m making 50 felt valentines in 8 days. Amazingly, I am not stressed about it at all. I’ve accepted my self-chosen fate and hold no resentment about doing this whatsoever, even though I consider not dealing with mass quantities of un-heartfelt valentines to be one of the many perks of homeschooling. I’m putting love into every stitch of every single Valentine I make, which no store bought valentine could ever do. I hope that the recipients are able to feel a bit of that love, which is what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about. What about you, are you doing anything special with your children for Valentine’s Day?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share: The poem that Dora and I read this week is from Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, by Nicola Davies.

The Horse

The horse is so big!
It runs across the field, mane flying.
It's exciting and scary at the same time.

But its warm breath smells of the barn,
of hay and comfort,
and when it takes the carrot from your hand,
its dark eye is quiet
and its nose is velvet,
softer than your own cheek.

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Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Valentine's Day, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff