So tonight was “National Night Out.” I’d actually forgotten about it, but Nat wanted to go for a walk & we happened to walk toward the area of town where the firehouse is & where festivities were taking place. There were bounce houses that Nat initially said he wanted to go in (I was shocked – it was loud & crowded) – but then got close & naturally, he wasn’t going in. (And I was relieved because the kids were bigger than him & it looked a tad too raucous). There was a DJ with loud music, which Nat handled pretty well. There was an ice cream truck – Nat wanted ice cream, but he’d just had frozen yogurt for a dessert treat at home & I didn’t bring my wallet. He handled that pretty well too. There was a spin-the-wheel for little kids, guaranteed prizes. He picked himself out a water bottle & got some free soft pretzels, which is what he really wanted.
It took a lot of coaxing to get him to feel okay about going near the trucks at the fire station across the street, set up for kids to be able to check out. He’d start screaming, “Too Scary!” each time we’d go in that direction. He was afraid they’d be loud – but I reassured him repeatedly that the engines were off. I had been paying close attention for awhile & no one was sounding the sirens. After sitting for a bit chowing on his pretzel, he mustered up his courage.
We did okay for a little while. There was only maybe a handful of kids present in the beginning & at least one fire person was sitting or standing in or near one of the trucks. Nat sat briefly in two trucks & was just really excited, running around the trucks & checking them out.
But eventually, things go out of hand. It got more crowded. There was very little supervision. Kids were climbing literally all over the trucks. Is it me or is it not very safe to have children climbing on top of a fire truck? Maybe I’m just a tad over-protective & kids probably under the age of 10 should be allowed to climb several feet off the ground on top of a truck, parked on cement? Anyway. No one was taking turns about sitting in the trucks, except the few smaller children with very nice attentive parents. I have no freaking clue where the rest of the parents were, but they need to teach their children some freaking manners – or at least to notice if a smaller child is near them before they just push past & climb over & butt in. Argh. Anyway. The firemen/fire women were no longer really providing any guidance or order – a couple were hanging out on the outskirts, but none actually monitoring the activity very closely.
So Nathaniel started to get really overwhelmed. He became indecisive, was periodically crying, wanting to go in this truck, no not this truck, no the front, no the back! And then finally, when I was ready to carry him home if need be, he got himself together & was able to communicate to me that he wanted to sit in one of the trucks again – in an actual seat & not in some place that he thought was a seat, but was just an area for equipment that was locked, which he wouldn’t believe me about. So, he was climbing into a truck, about to sit on the seat – and he pretty much got trampled & pushed out of the way by two bigger boys. I lifted him out of the truck, scared & shaken. And then…someone hit the siren on one of the trucks. I had promised him it wouldn’t be noisy. He let out the most blood-curdling howl. I carried him quickly away as he cried hard into my shoulder, telling him how I was sorry that it was loud. That whoever hit the button for the siren shouldn’t have done that, but he was going to be okay. After a couple minutes, just a half dozen feet away from the firehouse, he stopped crying & just said over & over again how it was loud & someone hit the button & it honked & it was loud & it was scary over & over & over again, high speed. But he calmed down & was okay again & smiling by the time we got home – and then told Daddy again all about the loud horn & someone pushed the button, etc., etc.
He went to bed in a good mood, nothing further about the fire trucks, just telling me how he likes his new blanket, “It’s very comfy. And soft too. I like new blanket.”
But I’d still like to give whoever hit that siren a talking to – and a few parents & fire people too.