Dad plus daughter plus public restroom equals chat with police

Last Monday, Chris worked from home. In the afternoon, he took Kaitlyn to a nearby park to play. This park has two play structures, a newer one near the front and an older one near the back, and a bathroom building.  When Kaitlyn needed to go potty, they were at the front playground, so he put her in the car and drove her to the back of the park to go to the bathroom.

Chris has a policy of never taking Kaitlyn into a men’s bathroom, because they are always filthy. He doesn’t even like the boys going into them. So, Chris took Kaitlyn into the women’s bathroom just long enough to help her up onto the potty, then he stood outside the building waiting for her to finish. When she called to him that she was done, he went back in to help her wash her hands, then they got back in the car and drove back to the front of the park.

Kaitlyn ran off to play and Chris started chatting with another Dad that was there with his daughter, and as they were sitting there, a police car pulled up.  The officer got out and walked right up to Chris. “Sir”, he said, “is that little girl over there your daughter?”, pointing to Kaitlyn. “Yes”, Chris said.

Someone had CALLED THE POLICE to report a suspicious man coming out of the women’s bathroom with a little girl and putting her into a car. A happy, skipping, smiling little girl who was then driven BACK TO THE PLAYGROUND to continue playing after using the potty.  The person who called the police apparently forgot to KEEP WATCHING the SUSPICIOUS MAN to see what he did with the little girl after putting her in the car.

Not only that, but all the cop did is ASK Chris if he was Kaitlyn’s father. Wouldn’t a kidnapper or molester or whatever just say oh yeah sure, I’m her Dad?  The cop didn’t ask Kaitlyn to point to her Dad or anything. How did he know Chris was who he said he was?   I guess I’m glad the police took the call seriously in case something suspicious was going on,  but it still bugs me.

I’m not faulting the police, what makes me angry about all of this is that I live in a society where a man with a little girl can be so easily pegged as suspicious. Dads take their daughters out places, and those daughters have to go potty, what is the Dad supposed to do?

I took my boys to lots of parks when they were little, and took them in and out of bathrooms, and no one ever called the police on me. And yet a woman could just as easily be a kidnapper or molester.   I’m angry FOR my husband, that he would have to explain himself while enjoying an afternoon at a park with his daughter.  I’m angry that someone glanced at Chris standing outside that bathroom, or coming out of it with Kaitlyn, and thought OMG I NEED TO CALL THE POLICE.

Has anything like this ever happened to your husband or significant other?  Would you have called the police if you’d seen a man come out of a woman’s bathroom with a young girl, if the situation was the  same as I  described?  I’d really like to know what you think about this.

When you never go anywhere, people send their kids to you

The phone starts ringing right around 4:00 every Friday afternoon.

“Hello, this is F., is Nathan there?”

“Hey Mrs. Edwards, it’s B. Is Ryan home?”

I love that my boys have friends, good friends who are good kids with parents we like. And I understand the desire to spend as much non-school time with those friends as possible.

But I swear sometimes it feels like we have a sign on our door that says “send us your kids”.  F.’s Mom is divorced and a teacher.  The only time she can get anything done is on the weekends, and when she has things to do like shopping for clothes or getting her hair done, she hates to drag F. along. So, she has him call and innocently ask what Nathan is doing, when what she really wants to ask is can she drop him off at our house?

B.’s parents both work, and they have a summer house Up North.  This weekend they are going up to open the house, but there’s no guarantee that any of the other kids whose parents have homes up there will be around. So rather than subject B. to hours of sheer boredom, they call us. But at least they come right out and ask if he can spend the night with us because they are going out of town.

Chris commutes an hour each way to work and often has to work at home late into the night. So for him, weekend nights are his time to connect with the kids. Like me, he hates to say no to our kids’ friends’ parents because we may need to call in some favors some day, but he also hates not having his house and his kids to himself.

And thus the conflict I feel, because on the one hand I understand Chris’ desire to have those few precious hours with the boys, but on the other hand, I know how desperately important friendships are. I want to have the house that the kids want to come to because they know they’ll be welcome.

Which is why I have such a hard time saying No to the sleepover requests, to the last-minute “Can F. walk home with Nathan next Thursday? the kids have a half day but I have to stay a full day” phone call. I mean, if I really had something else going on, I would say no, but as long as I’m going to be here?

Send me your kids. I’ll take good care of them.

Table for Five’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

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PhotobucketOkay, so here’s the thing- I thought Father’s Day was NEXT SUNDAY. My Outlook Calendar has posts scheduled for that whole week, which is when I was going to tell you all about the best, hottest gifts for Dads this Father’s Day. Which is THIS SUNDAY! OOOOOOPS! So, instead, you get the gift guide TODAY! Here’s how it’s going to work-I’m going to tell you about and link to some great products that I have personally researched that I think will make great gifts for Dads. Some can be bought in stores, so if you haven’t already bought something, you still have time (go, this weekend! Go SHOPPING!). Anything that needs to be purchased online, here’s what you do-if it’s the perfect gift, print out a screenshot of the page and fold it up inside a Father’s Day card that lets him know that the gift has been ordered and is on it’s way! Ready? Let’s talk great Father’s Day Gifts!

For Dads Who Aren’t Too Manly To Admit They Like Flowers:
As part of their Happy Hour collection, 1-800-Flowers pairs beautiful arrangements with classic bar glasses. From the beer lover, to martini drinker there is an arrangement for all tastes. Forget the vase, you can send Dad his flowers in an acrylic beer mug or black etched martini shaker created by metal artist Michael Aram. The Martini Shaker of Blooms by Jane Carroll is $75.00 and the 1-800-FLOWERS® Beer Mug of Blooms™ is $29.99. Call 1-800-FLOWERS or visit http://ww22.1800flowers.com/to order.

For Dads Who Like To Kick Back And Relax With Man’s Best Friend:
When he’s not lounging in his La-Z-Boy he’ll want to kick back in his new set of Adirondack Chairs and Ottomans ($49-99), which will go perfectly on that new porch he built last summer. Man’s Best Friend can even join in the fun with the matching Adirondack Pet Chair ($79) – both items available at http://www.TheCompanyStore.com.

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For The Dad Who Likes To Run At Night:
*The Reebok Lighted hat ($28) is excellent for nighttime running because the hat has two bright LED lights and reflective material to keep your Dad safe from stray cars. Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores or http://www.DicksSportingGoods.com


For Dads Who Like The Great Outdoors:

*Give him shorts and pants all-in-one! The Pinnacle Peak Convertible Pants, $55 are perfect for the dad who wears the same thing again and again – all he has to do is zip them on or off for pants or shorts. These tech pants are quick-dry and durable for any outdoor activity and the gusseted crotch facilitates freedom for increased comfort, and the zip-off legs are perfect for all weather conditions on a weekend hike or camping trip. Check Sporting Goods or Camping Stores.

For The Dad Who Likes To Be Eco-Conscious:
*If you’re going to take the safe route and buy your dad a polo – impress him with an organic, UV protectant polo – it’ll give him something to talk about between holes at the golf course! The Nike ACG Kane Stripe Polo, $40 is made from 100% certified organic cotton that is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. It is UV protective UPF30 for excellent protection, meeting ASTM D-6603 standards. This shirt will definitely make the other Dads jealous. Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods or http://www.DicksSportingGoods.com.


For Dads Who Are Eco-Conscious And Like To Cook:

*A six piece set of the new eco-friendly cookware GreenPan ($99.90) is a great gift for Dads who cook! Available on http://www.HSN.com, GreenPan cookware is the first completely PTFE-free non-stick cookware utilizing revolutionary Thermolonâ„¢ technology, which is PFOA-free in manufacturing.

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For Coach Dad:
Who stands on the sidelines for five straight hours in the pouring rain cheering you on? Dad! Surprise him with the Nike ACG Black Water Hoodie, $55. This hoodie features Nike Therma-Sphereâ„¢ technology, which utilizes a three dimensional fabric construction to help keep him dry and to reduce cling from perspiration. This piece is perfect to throw over a tee, and warm him up after standing on the sidelines all day. Available at Nike stores (not available online).

For Gadget Dad:
Best Buy has come up with some awesome gifts just for Dad this Father’s Day. They have a special Zune 30Gb MP3 player “action bundle” that comes with all of this-
* Includes a DLO1 Action Jacket armband for convenience when exercising
* Store up to 7,500 songs at one time for a long-lived, traveling library
* Exceptional FM radio signal for additional entertainment options
* Take your music on the road with up to 14-hours of battery life (for music playing only)
* Integrated wireless allows sharing of songs and photos
* Choose between either black or red models
* Available in Best Buy stores now
* Price: $199.99-$214.99
And a special Insignia MP3 Fitness Bundle that comes with all of THIS-
*Arm band features neoprene material and a clear window that protects the screen from scratches
*Convenient opening in case allows usage without removing your digital device
*Includes black sport armband case, water bottle and $10 Best Buy Digital Music Store card
*Upgradable to future formats and features
*PC and Mac compatible
*Rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 25 hours of playback time
*Built-in FM radio tuner with support for RDS data
*Available in Best Buy Stores, I saw them there yesterday!
* Price: Regularly $99.99, online sale price is $79.99
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I hope you’ve found some great Father’s Day Gift ideas from this Gift Guide!

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