While we were playing "I'm gonna get your feet, " I noticed a man walking around. He started over by the smaller jungle gym and worked his way over to the big kid swings. I didn't notice if he was with a child or not because he was just kind of walking around looking in no particular direction with a look of what seemed to be confusion... Then I looked around- where are all of the parents!?!? The park was packed with little league games, people lounging in the pool, but there was literally one parent at the playground... There were over 20 kids there, where were they're parents? I know I used to go to the playground when I was younger - but not by myself until I was at least 10 or 11. These days I'm not sure I would even let my kid go to the playground by himself (with friends of course) at that age. There are too many creepy people out there just waiting to take you child!
Anyway, back to the creepjob at the playground. He was looking around and turning his back in such a way that made him seem like none of the children on the playground "belonged" to him. He was just there checking everyone out. I kept my eye on him. What if he was some kid's dad or uncle? How would I know? He made his way over to the swings. There was young boy swinging three swings over from him. Then two. Then one. I turned my head for a moment so I wouldn't appear to be the creepy one, then the kid was gone... but the man was still wandering around. I then spotted the creepster over by the bigger jungle gym. The boy was playing. Then the boy was gone, but the man still lingered. Eventually they met up again at the big kid swings. It was time for us to get home, but I couldn't leave until I knew this man wasn't going to offer some candy from his van... The boy hopped off the swing grabbed the man's hand and off they went...
Am I paranoid? Perhaps this really was the boy's non-creepy guardian... I kept asking myself if I should ask the boy if he's here with his parents or something, but then I was afraid that I would appear to be the creepy one. For your reference, here's a small checklist of Donts to avoid looking like the creepjob at the playground:
- Don't wander around staring or appear to be staring at other peoples' children
- Don't hover over your child in a creepy manner. Stay within sight, maybe by the other parent (yes, that was singular) on the bench.
- Don't turn your back on who appears to be your child repeatedly. This makes it look like you're nonchalant trying to offer him creepy candy in your creepy van.
- And finally: Don't drive a camo-painted, windowless Astro Van. We live in the city of Cleveland. No one is going to mistake your creepy kiddie-candy-mobile as brush in the forest.