My children are not trained for the city. On Sunday, after coming back from Portland I took them out for errands, and we stopped by the Grove because these days all they want to do is ride the trolley. Between CVS and the grocery store and everything else the poor little things almost got run over in the CVS parking lot, overrun by hoards of people at the Grove, and got lost at the grocery store.
I realize this is my fault for not having exposed them to this sooner, but I had no idea how different the environment would be for them. As we walked between K-Mart and CVS they seemed oblivious to the parking lot full of cars, traffic jams down every lane, and the fact that unlike in the valley these people aren’t driving five miles an hour, nor is half the lot deserted.
I have always been a walker, and if a destination is within a couple of miles, I would walk, kids with me. In the city everyone else walks too, and stopping in the middle of the street or dallying along will get you trampled. Ducky got knocked over several times.
This is not the first time they have been to this part of town, and we have been making it our weekend routine lately, but they are not picking up the pace fast enough. Nor do they understand my agitation as they get swept away from me by mobs of people, stepping off the sidewalk into the street, and refusing to hold my hand until they feel lost and start calling out for me while I frantically run around after them. It is not so much that they don’t understand the city, but that they don’t understand the danger for small children in the city.
I know they are young, but every day I see other children their age, and younger, apt at navigating the streets, clinging to their mothers, and unperturbed by their atmosphere. My little ones behave as if they are country bumpkins come to the city for the first time. As adorable as it may sound, for a mother this is rather terrifying.
And to think, Los Angeles isn’t even as hectic as most other cities. In New York I would probably manage to lose them in less than twenty four hours.