SHOELESS JANE

Took the kids out to the park today and while my husband and dad kept an eye out on them, my mom and I kicked back on a park bench where we began to people watch. A few minutes passed and we looked over to see an older man who was either a grandfather or Dad (you never know in the Hamptons) who was walking along with an adorable two year old in a cute pink dress and no shoes. I’m all fine with being carefree with kids…especially since they hate shoes, but this time around, the little tykes’ toes were in trouble. You see, the ground at this park is covered in sand that is littered with sticks, glass, rocks, bugs and other items that are not too sanitary for tiny feet. As the little girl tried to walk, she kept wincing in pain and lifting out her arms so that Grandpa would rescue her from walking on this kiddie version of hot coals. Meanwhile, Gramps was wearing sandals with socks so he didn’t even realize that his little bundle of joy was in danger of damaging her tootsies. He finally picked her up and then brought her over to the toddler swings where he proceeded to push her so high that the little girl became frightened and begged him stop the swing twice. I guess in a few years, little shoeless Jane will love her adventurous Grandpa, but at age two, it’s fine to just give a little push and lots of kisses…and keep those shoes on! Splinters are the worst and taking them out of a two year old foot is pure torture. Trust me, I’ve done it and it ain’t pretty!

SAFETY LAST

Went to a carnival run by the North Sea Fire Department last night and was completely appalled. From the moment we arrived, I stood behind a clueless patron who was busy fishing for cash and holding up the entire ticket line. When it was finally my turn, and she and her brood of four kids finally moved out of the way, I forked over my $45 for 20 ride tickets for my son and daughter. At first, it started out fine. They went into the fun house and the friendly ticket lady even let my husband go in with my kids so they wouldn’t get scared (no extra ticket required).
Immediately after that, things got ugly. We went over by the bumper cars and just as we were about to put the kids on the ride, the ticket taker informed my husband that two tickets were required, plus two adults had to ride with my kids because they were too young to go alone. So in other words, it would have cost us four tickets to ride the bumper cars. My dad went to complain to one of the event organizers about this ticket travesty and he just double talked him to death. If one person goes on the car, you have to give him two tickets because you’re taking up a seat, but if two kids go on together it’s one ticket each. Huh? Thoroughly confused and frustrated, we bailed and opted to go on a slide that only needed one ticket for two turns. Of course, about 25 yards away I spied a swing set complete with a slide that they could have played on for free for hours, my kids of course, opted for the bouncier model that cost us two tickets and 45 seconds.
From there, things went from bad to worse. We headed toward a kiddy roller coaster where the lazy ticket attendant didn’t even check to see if my kids were harnessed properly into the ride. I yelled out to my seven year old – “Make sure you hold on tight!” And then, I watched as they rode around the track hoping nothing bad would happen…luckily it didn’t.
Next was the carousel. Looked pretty safe but since it was about 90 years old, it was missing belts to strap the kids in! Luckily, the ticket kid allowed my husband to ride along with my son and we watched as the carousel sped around quickly with little ones holding on for dear life! One child even yelled out, “Mommy, this ride is really fast! Yippee!” Sure, “yippee” until someone is thrown from a decrepit horse!
Then we went over to the Ferris Wheel, where a disgruntled ticket taker informed me that I had to ride along with my kids (no problem), so this time I handed him a ticket and strapped my son in. As we rode around and around and around (I forgot how boring the ferris wheel is), the Ferris Wheel guy kept on stopping, starting and speeding up the ride – so much so that at one point, our car begin rocking so fiercely that I feared it might flip over! “This ride is a disaster!” My four-year-old exclaimed. Exactly what I was thinking. When we finally got off, the miserable ticket guy didn’t even extend a hand to help us off. Who taught this kid manners? An ex-con?
The last ride of the day was the mini truck ride. A pretty safe bet with trucks that drove around in a circle for about two minutes. As we arrived on line, the ticket kid was embroiled in a dispute with another parent holding an adorable two year old. Apparently, the man didn’t give the kid a ticket, although the man protested he did and then called him a kid or something to that effect. The kid, went ballistic. “I’m not a kid, I’m 20 years old. Why don’t you get away from my (rhymes with truckin) ride!” Holy cow!!! Looks like a few two year olds just learned a new word.
Suffice to say, we won’t be returning to this annual rip off fest next year. Crazy that an event run by the Fire Department would have so many problems relating to safety. I think they better think twice about hiring kids who would rather be hanging out with their friends then dealing with the public in a friendly manner and helping little ones get on and off rides safely.
One last note…there was one conscientous ride operator – the swing man. He at least made sure that all the kids were buckled in safely before he turned on the ride and they went swinging into oblivion. So at least there was one good apple in the bunch, the rest were pretty much rotten to the core.