Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pervert in the Playgound?

I had a bit of an unsettling experience yesterday while playing with my daughter at a local playground. We'd been there for a couple of hours and it was just about time to go home for dinner. The playground has the usual assortment of stuff for kids to climb and swing on, including a kind of miniature "rock climbing wall" (similar to, but not quite the same as this). My daughter wanted to go up this "wall" one more time before we went home. She's recently been successfully overcoming an initial fear of climbing, so I told her to go ahead without paying too much attention. She was about 3/4 of the way up when one of her feet slipped and she found herself hanging by just her hands with her feet scrambling for some support. Before I could help her she let go and slid down the surface of the "wall". On her way down one of the "rocks" caught her right between the legs. (I have no idea what this feels like for a girl/woman, but I know that if it'd been me I'd have been writhing on the ground and possibly vomiting.)

She'd landed on her feet, and when I asked if she was OK she didn't say anything and didn't seem affected at all by what had just happened. She walked a few steps around the wall and then stood facing its "underside" (i.e. out of "public" view). I joined her there and, kneeling down to her eye-level, asked again if she was alright. She started crying then, and collapsed into my arms. "It hurts," she cried. "Where does it hurt, honey, show me," I said (like, I think, any other parent in this kind of situation). She promptly stood straight, hiked up her skirt, pulled down her underpants and, pointing, said "here". Freeze.

At that moment I became acutely aware that I was in a semi-hidden area of a playground with a 4-year-old girl who was showing me her private parts. I groaned inwardly as I thought about how this must look to someone who happened casually to glance in our direction. I hesitated briefly while a battle raged in my mind between "keeping up appearances" and looking after my daughter. Then I checked for blood or any other obvious signs of injury. There were none that I could see, so I pulled her underpants back up and straightened out her skirt. I asked if she was OK to walk to the car and she told me she was. "OK, sweetie," I said, "let's go right home and we can let Mommy have a look to make sure you're alright. OK?" (My wife, aside from being a woman, is a nurse.)

As we left the playground I was aware of being watched by a few people, who seemed to have very concerned looks on their faces. I have no idea if they'd witnessed my daughter's accident and were simply worried about whether or not she was injured, or if they were wondering if I was some kind of pervert and were worrying about their own children. I'll probably never know. My daughter is OK, though.


  1. Kyklops, this breaks my heart. I have had similar experiences with my sons and other kids I have been looking after -- situations where I have been acutely aware of "how things look."

    While I am very happy that we, as a society are aware of people with bad intent, it stinks when we -- even as parents -- feel twinges of guilt, when we are doing things out of love and/or concern.

    All that aside, I am glad your daughter is okay.

  2. I'm also glad your daughter is ok. Could've been a nasty accident.
    Personally, when it regards kids safety or well-being, I don't give a damn on what people think. Excesive protection can be as bad as total negligence. You did what you had to do, and you shouldn't feel bad about it.

  3. GT and Usual Stuff,
    Thanks for your comments. You're both right that the most important thing is that my daughter was OK.

  4. Oh yeah, the male parent's nightmare - how to care for your daughter when she has an "intimate" problem while avoiding being arrested as a perv.

  5. Summed up nicely, Mr. Angry.

  6. Hi K,
    I am so glad she is fine too...oh gosh, I feel guilty had I seen that; I would have been like OMG THAT PERV.

    But you did do the right thing and I am aware of my over sensitized nature on this stuff. I will try to keep judgement at bay next time i see something that could be misconstrued.

  7. Hi Maliha,
    Well, to be honest, until this experience I probably would have jumped to conclusions too. I suppose if someone had called the police or something a brief questioning of my daughter would have straightened things out... at least I hope so!