The Mosh Pit

08/25/2008 By Shawn Burns

We went to the mall on Saturday.

That really ought to be the end of this post. And the end of this blog, actually, because it’s amazing that anyone makes it out of the mall alive. Add a teething toddler to the normal stew of high-pressure booth salesgirls, cellphone asshats, and everyone else’s screaming children and I’m pretty sure what you get is nitroglycerine.

But, give this guy a Klondike bar: I went to the mall and did not have my head explode or lose my child (accidentally or on purpose…oh, Teddy Bear Taxidermy Factory, you were so close to adding another child to your collection).

Emily wanted to buy some things. Knowing that taking Erin while Emily bought some things for herself might inspire her to buy some things for herself that were actually for myself (bow chicka wow wow, as they say), I plopped Erin down in the Mosh Pit and awaited my reward.

The Mosh Pit. It’s real name is Playtown, down at the Valley Fair Mall in San Jose. It is a large rubberized wrestling mat surrounded by soft benches for the bloodthirsty fans parents to sit on while their children enjoy the ramps, tunnels, cars, wall toys, mirrors, and, in Erin’s case, the escape route to the Lego Store. I call it the Mosh Pit because in large part the entertainment for the kids consisted in running as fast as possible, hurdling the toys they were supposed to be playing on, and running into one another. Little pre-schooler bodies were flying everywhere.

While we were there Erin met a little boy who, I’m sad to say, creeped me right the hell out. He was about four years old, and was so in love with my little sixteen month old that he was following her around the entire Mosh Pit for what seemed like an hour. And he was grabbing at her, constantly. Hugging her, holding her arm, trying to soft-tackle her, and at one point he put her in a head lock and I almost narded him. I kept looking around to see who his parents were, but the Mosh Pit is pretty much a nanny zone, and few of them were watching the kids play anyway, so I had no idea who was watching him. Lucky for him, Erin outmaneuvered him repeatedly so I didn’t have to sit down and have a long talk with this future date-rapist (harsh, I know, but you should have seen this kid).

Erin also met the Acrobatic Mooch. I succumbed and quartered up my lone five dollar bill and I set Erin a-rockin’ in the various drugstore rides that surrounded the Mosh Pit. Her favourite was the Storyteller Truck. It was my least favourite. Not because it was annoying or didn’t do it’s job, but because there was this six-year-old boy who, whenever I would load the truck up with quarters, would swing in the back window and press all the buttons while Erin was relegated to the role of chauffeur. When the ride was over he would swing back out of the window and sit on top of the truck, waiting for some other sucker to come along so he could skep a free ride. Again, I’ve no idea who his parents were.

I was in no doubt about the parentage of the little girl who was hovering next to the Taxi ride while Erin was groovin’ it. This little wannabe-mooch was waiting for her chance to jump in the Taxi, but Erin, clever girl that she is, was taking up both seats and driving with two steering wheels and she just wasn’t leaving any room for the wannabe. I had already suffered through two rounds of “Calm down, dude. It’s just a kid. Do not haul him out of the truck by his ears and tell him to beg a quarter off his nanny,” and I didn’t have a whole lot of patience left for this girl. But I was absolutely floored by her father, standing in front of the Taxi ride, egging her on to jump in the ride. Admittedly, I don’t speak whatever language he was speaking (not English, not Spanish, not French, something Middle Eastern), but the tone of voice and the gestures to the Taxi spoke volumes. Little Acrobatic Moochers with nannies who are busy talking to other nannies are one thing. A father encouraging his daughter to push another little girl out of the way so he doesn’t have to drop the three quarters to power up the Taxi is unacceptable.

But, as with the littlest Date Rapist, Erin’s skillz obviated any need for me to punch a dude in the balls for being an asshat. She just calmly steered that Taxi as though she were behind on fares for the day and looking to make it up in tips, and the ride ended before the wannabe could succumb to her father’s pressure to turn her into a mooch.

Harsh, right? A nice guy would have shifted Erin over and said “Hey, little girl, why don’t you enjoy this here ride with my daughter. She doesn’t mind, and it doesn’t cost her or me anything to let you do it.” But this probably wasn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time, that the little girl loses out because her father has no class. I’m sorry that I didn’t take the highest road, but at least I didn’t take a swing at him.

I’m still waiting for that Klondike bar.


I’m guest-posting today over at the Redneck Mommy. Even though I am neither a redneck nor a mommy. Go check it out. You’ll learn all about why you shouldn’t raise children in the sticks, just like you’ve learned here why you shouldn’t raise kids in the suburbs.