Beware the play area

I was at a shopping mall with Mellow yesterday. You know I don’t normally go to malls, as we aren’t big consumers and I don’t like the noise and the crowds, but there was a specific thing I needed that was only available there. Since we were at the mall and we had some time to kill before going to pick Wildling up from school, I took Mellow to the children’s play area.

There was a rowdy group of girls, probably around four or five years old, playing with a toddler boy who I assumed to be related to one of them. They kept picking the poor boy up and carrying him around, and he had one of those long-suffering yet confused looks on his face. After watching them play for about ten minutes while Mellow went up and down a slide, the boy’s dad abruptly ended the game and took him away. Turned out he wasn’t actually related to any member of the girl pack.

The girls were upset to see him go, and announced “We need another baby!” They looked around, and you can guess who they saw. “There’s one! Let’s get her!” shouted one of the girls, and they came running to Mellow, who just stood looking up at them and chirping, as that’s the sound she currently chooses to make.

“We’ll get this one!” announced the tallest and loudest of the girls, so I assume she was the pack leader.

“You will not get that one,” I told her, and she seemed surprised that Mellow had a nearby chaperone.

“No, it’s ok, we’re not going to fight her,” the pack leader helpfully explained. “We’re just going to play with her.” Not going to fight her? Yes, of course. That must have been my concern. I thought you were going to fight a baby.

“You can play with her,” I said, “but you can’t touch her.”

The pack leader looked me up and down as if she was sizing me up for a fight (where did all this fighting come from anyway?). Then her gaze slid across the play area to another poor unfortunate one-year-old. “There’s a different baby! Let’s get her!” and the little gang ran and accosted the other baby, whose mother was too busy playing with her phone to notice that a roving band of girls literally grabbed her baby off of a plastic turtle and carried her away. I’d call it a kidnapping, but they didn’t go very far, and I doubt there was a ransom request.

Mellow and I left shortly after that, so I don’t know how the afternoon progressed. How many babies were rounded up by this pack of wild children? Are they, even now, roaming the mall play area looking for unattended toddlers to carry off?

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