Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Parents' Hypocritical Oath

As parents, we strive to create for our children a place of welcome, support, encouragement, and love. A place where they are free to explore, question, and make sound decisions based on our insightful parental input.
We teach our kids to treat others as they would like to be treated, to be kind, considerate, and to turn the other cheek.

All of these things help to mold them into the mature, responsible adults of tomorrow.

And it all goes right out the window the moment we step foot in the mall play area.

I swear they need a bouncer at these places. That little "You may not play here if you are taller than this" sign does nothing to stop kids with facial hair from butting in and taking over.

As a mom with little ones all under 5 years old, I worry. I worry about their safety whether by accident or purposeful actions. I worry that the "little" kids won't be able to play because the "big kids" will be hogging all of the equipment.

My husband worries that I am going to fist fight with a child or their mother one day.

Oh the irony. My distinctive two personalities come out when we visit mall play areas.

Our oldest (R) is a timid, quiet little guy. He loves to play and often invites others to join him--stranger or not. L, on the other hand, is not afraid to stand up for himself and his siblings if necessary. He takes no sh%$# guff from anyone. I secretly LOVE this about him. While outwardly I have to teach him to "play nicely" and "don't be mean to other kids even if they're mean to you," I'm inwardly cheering when he tells the little brat kid on the rubber airplane that he's not the boss and anyone can play there if they want to.

Joe, unlike me, does not feel the need to hide his feelings. He calls the boys over to give them pep talks about not letting anyone treat them badly. I can't be sure, but I think I've heard phrases like "upper cut" and "sweep the knee"...

Yesterday, as a treat, we took the kids to the mall and let them play. Usually we avoid this end of the building like the plague. But yesterday, as much as it pained me, we purposely went there.

It was mayhem.
A Saturday at the mall is almost as insane as a rainy holiday at Chuck E Cheese (another post for another day!)

The insanity at these little boy got spit on so his mother dragged him across the room, tore off his shirt and proceeded to antibacterialize his entire upper body. Another boy crowned himself king of the play area and he and his posse of junior thugs wouldn't let other kids play where they were playing.

R tried the political approach and yelled,
"Hey, guy! Let's all play together!" That didn't work. L has no place in his life for politics and went right to yelling and pointing his finger defiantly at the little boy, telling him he's not the boss. Then he patted R on the back and told him not to listen to "those guys." E, if she had not been busy "helping" a little baby play (by running after her, pushing her and then pulling her up by her shirt--I spent a lot of time apologizing to the baby's parents) would have been right up in those boys' faces giving them what-for.

Having two boys and then a little girl, one would think that the boys would protect the girl.
E can hold her own. On occasion, she actually runs interference for the boys.

So what is it that turns me into this evil, hateful, vindictive woman when we are in the play area? What has me wanting to massage R's shoulders and whisper in his ear to "get the kid in his bad leg" while spraying his face with a water bottle? Seriously?!

I take it personally when someone is mean to my kids. I also take it personally when the parents do nothing about it. They sit there, usually, with a beaten look about them. I feel like they're saying, "You take care of it. I give up." Or, one of my favorites, "Jimmy!" (in a sing-songy voice) "Play nicely sweetie!" while Jimmy has a child less than half his size on the floor in a head lock. They are oblivious.

The answer...stay out of these places. I don't think I can trust myself to play nicely with the above mentioned parents, so we will just abstain. Is it unfortunate for my kids? Sorta. I mean, how fun can it really be to "play" there when there are too many kids and the big kids won't let the little ones play with anything? We spend more time kissing boo boos caused by head-on collisions and rogue arms and legs than we do having fun.

Then, there's the whole escapee issue. These places typically don't have doors or gates, so any child, at any time, can run out. That's a scary prospect.

75 children + a busy mall x parents who don't care/pay attention = a lot of time I spend chasing wayward children, righting wrongs, and refereeing fights. It all adds up to zero fun!

Yet I still do it. Because my kids love it.

Maybe next weekend we'll all get root canals. That's got to be better than the mall on a Saturday.


  1. Awesome, totally awesome. You are so right on with this! "Kids with facial hair", LMAO!

    I try my darndest to stay out of those places too, for some reason I always think kids whose parents I don't know may be germy.

  2. Thank you. ;) You would be like the mom who used a gallon jug of antibacterial lotion on her son's upper body. No joke.
    Hey...I'm on my way over to your place to read your latest post. =)

  3. You now owe me for a new laptop seeing as I just spit me lucky charms all over mine.
    Wonderful post! The amount of "YOU" that is in your writing is amazing and really allows me to see it through your eyes. Your quirky humorous eyes!

  4. Whoops! Sorry! I'll take that as a compliment--the spitting part.

    Thank you SO much. The funny things is, I actually find myself laughing out loud as I write it...and again when I re-read it later. Ha Ha! Thanks again. I so appreciate you stopping by and your kind words!!!

  5. I think L's defiance toward these mean kids stems from that one night at the gym playroom when that little gril shook him and hurt his tummy! He hasn't taken any guff since. Miss my little Godson and my buddy R, plus E, and I can't wait to meet mister M. Love you all and it was really hard to write this as I kept almost writing their names.

  6. I think you're on to something, Linds, about L's defiance. =) And I know...I keep having to go back and delete their names too! =)

  7. Oh the madness... and hilarity!

  8. It sounds like your mommy bear roar is as loud as mine. I am the exact same. I try so hard to be encouraging and even understanding when little ones act out or play a little too rough but so help me God if anyone causes MY BABY to even so much as whimper because of something another child has done to her I'm all over that kid's ass!
    And for the love of pete, it's a jungle gym not a babysitter. Watch your damn child!

  9. You are NOT freakin' kidding! I get so pissed at these kids who come in, everything short of smokin a cigar. I often are found saying, "Oh, sweetie... he's just a little guy... can you be easier on him??". Then, I start roaring, "So, where do YOU live BIG buddy? Did your guardians drop you off at the mall, and hope for the best? Are they coming back to pick you up at the back entrance?"

    LOVE this post... SO freakin' true, it's NOT funny. LOVE YOU and YOUR BLOG!!!

  10. HA HA HA! I LOVE the "watch yor damn child" comment. That's EXACTLY how I feel!!! I swear they drop off their junior high kid to play in the toddler play area and then come back after their hair/nail appointmet to pick them up. My husband gets embarrassed when I correct other kids, but somebody's gotta do it!

  11. Kat, Joe gets so mad when I address someone else's child...because their parent isn't doing anything about it (if their parent is even in the play area to begin with!) It's madness, I tell you. I don't know why we EVEN GO?!

  12. Easy on the dental jokes, Mandy. Remember that I am married to a dentist! HA - just kidding - I would also rather have a root canal than go to the mall on a Saturday!!! :)

  13. Ha Ha! That's funny =) I was office manager of a dental office once, so I felt a little bad putting that, but it makes for a chuckle, right?


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