mall playground

by humanmama on September 9, 2012

There is so much disgustingness lurking in the world that it could make even the most laid back non-germaphobe cringe. Mostly we (the not-too-worried-about-germs among us) just ignore it, since the kids don’t seem too phased by it, but sometimes something happens that makes me dry heave and get the latex gloves and sanitizer out.

There is a place where germs are the boss. Like the mafioso. And the public indoor playground is that place. From Chick Fil-A to McDonalds, the combination of greasy fried foods, little hands, and foam rubber leaves a nasty coating that rivals the very best hairspray. I am entirely sure you could make this sludge into hair product, but let’s face it, who would want to buy it? Probably no one.

I am under the distinct impression that no one, ever, has ever cleaned most of those indoor playgrounds. Once my girls were playing in one and they came out smelling like throw up and I said, girls, did someone throw up in there?? And they said, “um, yes, mom,” and I saw some dad guiltily leaving the restaurant with his daughter hastily tucked under his arm, shirt wet, shoes off, and I had to tell the employees that there was barf in the playground. Ugh. But this weekend there was something maybe even grosser than that.

So Lilly (who hasn’t begun school yet) was really missing Helena, it was an overcast day, and we decided to go to the mall to return a couple of things. We, of course, stopped at the Mall Playground as we could not avoid it, the beacon, the kids’ Oasis in the middle of the boring Mall desert.

Lilly played on the Caterpillar bridge. Another kid came over. His tongue was out, and he looked to be about three as well. He proceeded to climb up and down the Big Foam Rubber Caterpillar, tongue out, for about two minutes until I noticed the inevitable: a giant loogey was perched on the edge of his tongue, and there it clung until he got to the top of the Caterpillar, where it dropped–splat!–onto the top of the Caterpillar. Ughhhh, I thought, and I watched Lilly play right by the loogey. His mother, not a particularly nice woman, was sitting uncomfortably close to me and had certainly seen it (unless she was indulging in a particularly long blink right at that moment), but alas, said nothing, and since Lilly was avoiding it and I was nursing baby Benji at that moment, neither did I.

But then.

Then, another three-ish-year-old came up. Climbed up the Caterpillar too. And then, right when I was thinking Please, dear child, avoid that loogey there, he did the unthinkable. As three-year-olds are want to do sometimes, this little boy (oh gosh, it’s hard to even write…) put out his tongue and licked the Caterpillar. But that’s not all. As you probably guessed, he licked the same–the exact same–spot where the loogey had dropped. Yes, little boy #2 licked up the first little boy’s spit.

And then, we left.


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