This morning the kids and I embarked on a relatively small outing to the playground. Paige had her one year well visit yesterday, and had four shots, so she’s not all that happy today – but we still had to get outside. So off to the playground we went!
Now, we have been to this particular playground lots of times. So many that Fynn knows the ins and outs of it, and knows that we also get to explore the grounds around it (there’s a baseball field, lots of green grassy areas, and a walking track that overlooks a little harbor). Never have we had a problem with anyone we’ve encountered there.
But today… ugh… today we had a difficult visit. When we got there I noticed two women sitting on benches, with kids running wild through the playground jungle gym. They were talking to each other, but it was apparent they didn’t know each other. Fine. I put my bag down, dig out the sunscreen and start latering up the kids faces. While I’m doing this, I lay down the expectations (you know… play nice with others, stay where I can see you, etc.). No sooner had I put the first drop of white goop on Paiges face do I feel eyes burning in the back of my head. I look back, and sure enough the two women are looking at me like I’m from another planet. I smile and nod a hello, just to show I’m human 😉
Fynn played for a little bit, Paige toddled around, all was fine and good. Then Fynn came over for a water break. The kid is so proud of himself right now because he can drink out of a water bottle without making a big mess. So out comes the bottle of water, Fynn’s drinking away, then a little boy comes over. He tried to hit Fynn’s water bottle out. of. his. mouth. I kid you not. Several times. I said something like “that’s not nice” and tried to move my upset child away from the bully boy (who was younger than Fynn, as I overheard he just had his second birthday, but he was way bigger). That was only the beginning. That little boy kept antagonizing Fynn, following him around. He even pushed Paige at one point. The mother did nothing for quite a while. Finally he did something to another child and he was put in a time out – but the mother said nothing to anyone – no apology, nothing.
At the height of the antagonizing we tried to go off and play around some bleachers, the baseball field, and the grassy area. We got stared down as we left. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because I’m not 300 pounds, smoking cigarettes, and sitting on a bunch with a huge bag of greasy fast food (though I love my fast food as much as the next person) I had something hanging from my shoe… but I checked, and that wasn’t it.
The kids and I ended up having a grand old time off on our own. Paige followed Fynn around, Fynn ran and laughed, we walked and talked and looked at the trees and boats. It was fine. On our way back to the car Fynn was carrying a snack, and the little bully boy came out of the fenced playground area to try and grab Fynn’s snack. The mother finally came over and said under her breath something about him wanting other kids snacks, and I smiled and said “they all do, aren’t two year olds fun?” and the woman finally made eye contact, and smiled. She must have thought I was judging her as much as she was judging me. But with a little conversation, those preconceptions hopefully went out the window.
Mom’s judge other moms like there’s no tomorrow. And it’s beyond frustrating. I told Lucas today that the whole situation would never have happened if he had taken the kids to the playground. Every single woman there would have gone up to him and said what a wonderful dad he was since he took his kids to the park all alone… and it’s true, I’ve seen that happen. I’ve been one of the ones to say “oh, what a good dad bringing his kids out all by himself!” That’s such a dumb comment. No one says “oh, what a good mom taking her kids out all by herself!” And the situation also wouldn’t have happened if I was with a friend and her kids. Power with numbers, so they say…
But I digress. In any case, the kids and I had fun on our own. Sometimes I wonder why I bother going to parks. I want the kids to be able to play with other children, but I don’t always want to have to interact with other moms and crazy kids. If it weren’t for all the work, I’d want to live on a big farm and pretty much be hermits. But I think I’m too lazy to live on a farm. In any case, I’m beginning to see the joy in having multiple children. All they really need is each other, some fresh air, and a little bit of grass.