Saturday, July 20, 2013

Listening to My Mom Radar

Mom Radar. If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. That uneasy feeling you get when things don't seem quite right. I had that happen a few weeks ago.

The hubby and I took the girls to Carowinds, a theme park on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. We had a great day. We found that Sassy Pants LOVES roller coasters. Unfortunately she was only tall enough to ride a couple of them. Soccer Girl is not a thrill ride lover, so she didn't ride many (any) roller coasters. I'm also not big on riding thrill rides, but I will ride them with my children if I have to.

 Here's where my Mom Radar went off. Near the end of the day, Little Red, Ballerina, and I were going to go on a roller coaster. It was one of those where only 2 people could sit together in a car. So Little Red and I got into one car, and Ballerina got into the car directly in front of us, sitting on the side where you enter the car. We're getting buckled in when all of a sudden this man about 30 year old jumps over Ballerina to sit next to her in the car. Ballerina turns around to look at me, and I ask her if she's okay. She just stares at me with huge eyes, obviously NOT okay.

I lean forward and ask the man, "Excuse me, are you with them?", indicating the mom and son sitting in the car in front of Ballerina. He answers, "No, I'm by myself." My radar is pinging all over the place at this point. I then told him, "I really don't feel comfortable with a stranger sitting with my daughter." He just looked at me and turned around to face forward. At this point, it took every fiber of my being not to jerk a knot in his head.

At this point, the ride operator is starting to walk from the front to the back of the cars, checking the safety belts. As he gets near us, I again tell the guy sitting next to Ballerina, "I really don't feel comfortable with a stranger sitting with my daughter." My plan is if he doesn't move by the time the ride operator gets to our cars, I will say something then and get the man out of the car with my daughter. Thankfully, a guy a few cars ahead of us decides he doesn't want to ride and gets out. The guy sitting next to Ballerina gets out and moves to that car.

The ride starts, and I'm still feeling 86 degrees of uneasy. I started to second-guess myself and wonder if maybe I had over-reacted. When Ballerina looked over at me as we were leaving the ride and said, "Thank you Mommy," I knew I had made the right decision. She wasn't comfortable with him sitting there (neither was I), and my job as Mom is to advocate for my children. I'm so thankful that this happened toward the end of our day, though, because it took me until we were leaving to shake the weirdness of the whole situation.

I don't understand WHY a grown man would think it would be acceptable to jump into the empty seat next to a pre-teen girl and stay there AFTER I said something the first time. It wasn't like the line was long and he'd have to wait a long time to ride. There was about 2 minutes between rides boarding.

Moms, would this have triggered your Mom Radar? Would you have said something? 

Guys, would you have jumped into a roller coaster car next to a young girl?

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