Misadventures at the Park
I should call me blog “misadventure at the park” I mean seriously? Why is it that I can’t even go to the park with my kids and enjoy a quiet day of screaming, climbing, crying, and laughing?
I take my kids to the park so that they can burn off steam. This is the place that they should be able to scream, jump,, and climb without me saying “no jumping on the couch!”
So yesterday I took my son, his friend (both preschoolers) and my 18 month old to the park. The boys had a soccer ball with them…this is where the problem began.
The boys started a game that was basically roll the ball up the slide, then the other would have to catch it on the way down. The fun part was when the ball would slide past the catcher. Laughter would ensue. I don’t get it – but they thought it was a blast. The only rule was that if another kid wanted to slide down the slide then they would have to step aside for the other kids to go through. I was often the “look out” and would scream out “slider” when a child was at the top (they couldn’t necessarily see them because of the shape of the slide and it was one of the tube slides). The boys would then step to the side and scream “Green Light – GO!” The slider would come through and often land smack on their bottom because the slide is really fast. I think that is part of the appeal. Because the slide is so fast there is a cushy thing installed at the bottom to aid in the backside of these young victims of the slides speed. The common woodchips that are around the rest of the park are not sufficient for the damage that this slide does apparently.
OK so I set that up for you.
A very well put together mom shows up with her little guy (about 2) and he wants down the slide. We start our routine. “Slider”. “Green Light – GO!” The boy comes down the slide and lands smack on his behind! Laughter. I think that irritated her – I say that because of her reaction. She gave each boy a look then pick up her son and stomped off. He wasn’t crying or anything…I’m not sure but I think she was mad that the boys were laughing.
Apparently the little guy wasn’t hurt because a few minutes later he made an escape from his well dressed mother and came running around the slide again. He tripped on the cushy matt at the bottom of the slide and fell. The mother came whipping around the corner and again looked at the boys and gave her head a shake. I’m not sure, but maybe she thought the boys tripped the little guy. They didn’t I was sitting a few feet away watching. The little one was snacking and I was watching because I was in charge of any balls that went into the parking lot. So she shakes her head and stomps off with the kid and again somehow my kid is at fault…hmmm???
Later the boys tire of this game and run off to the other side of the park. The ball is left unattended and this little guys bee lines it to the ball. My son sees and snags his beloved soccer ball before if falls into the hands of this unknown little guy. I am a few feet away pushing the 18 month old on the swing and say “hey, you know if you are not going to play with it then I think it is ok to share with him. Maybe he wants to kick around the ball.” My sons take a minute, thinks it through and drops the ball. This little guys kicks the ball a few times and my son laughs…because he thinks anyone playing with him is fun, therefore funny, therefore he laughs…
The little boy eventually trips and falls on the big soccer ball. I can’t tell you how often my 18 month old falls over balls in the yard. She is small, the balls are big, she thinks she can do what the 4 year old does. She falls, I clap, she hops up, and we try again!
Nope, not this mom… at this point looks directly at my son and shakes her head and says “Seriously?” I’m not sure if she actually saw what happened. Maybe she thought my son pushed him…I don’t know. Since I’d had enough at this point I looked at her and said “Is something wrong?” She then looked at me and said “No” in a huff and picked up her kid and walked off.
Now, I’m not saying my kid is an angel. In fact, I’d be the first to point out his faults (which ain’t a good thing either). A short while later I watched my kid throw a handful of sand at another boy, in anger. So I called him over (in my angry-I’m pissed off –stop screwing around voice), firm talking to, then went back over to apologize. The other mom said something like “it’s ok, probably an accident.” To which I replied “I’m sorry. It wasn’t an accident. I watched from over there. He was angry. It’s not ok. I am very sorry.”
The thing is, kids do naughty things. It is our job to correct it. I don’t expect my son to be perfect – clearly he is not. Are any of us? He needs to learn to say sorry and handle his anger and frustration in an appropriate manner.
In hind sight I think the “well put together mom” probably thought the boys were laughing at her kid when he fell (and maybe they were…I’m really not sure), but even so…kids laugh at one another and it doesn’t mean bullying. I remember when I was pregnant with #2 and we were at the park. A group of kids called my son “Monster” and they were running away from him. He, of course, chased because he loves to play chase. He didn’t know they were calling him “monster” and maybe they were just playing but I do remember that it hurt my feelings. I was really sad and upset. I am sure the hormones didn’t help the situation either.
So to you, the well put together mom, I’m sorry if you thought the boys were laughing at your kid. It wasn’t done out of spite or meanness. I’m sorry that he tripped on the soccer ball. I thought it was a good opportunity to practice our sharing skills with strangers, make new friends, etc. To the mom whose son got the handful of sand in the face – I’m sorry that my son threw sand at your super nice & well behaved little man. He handled it wonderfully (you obviously have a handle on things). I hope that I can teach my guy to stop with the throwing…it is really a pain when we are at a park with sand and/or wood chips!
So we live to go back to the park another day…another misadventure for me and my team of bandits!
Do you have any stories of things gone wrong at the park…please share – I live for this stuff!