We took the kids to the ice skating rink up north yesterday. And when I say "we," allow me to point out that I was in attendance, although I neither paid nor skated nor sat in the cold viewing stands nor really helped with the skates. It's in our parental contract that Pete handles all that. And he must maintain his sunny outlook and posh British accent as he does it. (See Codicil 42.)
While I was hanging out in the warm cafeteria, catching up on my reading and occasionally glancing up to see that the four of them were continuing their dizzying round-and-round-and-roundness, a kid attending a birthday party was brought off the ice with a huge knot on the back of his head. Clearly, he'd taken a hell of a knock. The thing was huge and growing.
His mother arrived after a few minutes and she spoke to the women surrounding the table, her son with a Snoopy Rink ice pack on his head, and a couple of employees with clipboards and forms. A woman came up and spoke to her as well, advising her to hurry to a hospital. The boy continued to sit there and cry. The mother continued to sit there and chat. The other party goers continued to act like hyped-up eight-year-olds at an adjoining table.
It turns out that the woman who came up and spoke to her was a stranger on her second go-round of trying to convince the lady to take the obviously injured boy to the hospital. She would go for a third attempt, ultimately being huffily rebuffed by the mother. For whatever reason -- and one I overheard the mother use was they were at a birthday party, for God's sake -- she was in no hurry to take the kid to the hospital.
I watched, stunned, for a good 25 minutes as it all unfolded before me. At the end of that time, all the kids went into the Snoopy birthday party room for cake and presents. The injured boy lasted about five minutes in there before his crying hysterics finally forced his mother to take him and leave.
I'd like to believe she took him to the hospital. But I doubt it. I think she almost didn't want to give that interrupting cow of a stranger the satisfaction. She'll show her. She'll show all of us who continued to sneak glances and make meaningful eye contact with rink employees and otherwise interfere with her obvious inability to raise her child.
[Photo from Snoopy's very own ice rink.]