Round 1 – The Play Structure
Let me just say for the record that I don’t consider myself to be an example of what a parent should be. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old and I am still learning what it means to be a “good parent”. Especially in this day and age with all the digital distractions and yoga pants it’s understandable for a parent to make mistakes and drop a few balls. So I can’t really tell you what what a stand out parent looks like…but I sure can spot the shitty ones.
It seems to happen to me all the time too. That, or I am just way too over sensitive to what is going on with my own kids. It seems that every time I am in a public place lately I feel like I am in a crime scene and I am the only one who can see it happening. Like my kids are playing and I am just standing there starring at one infraction after another with my jaw wide open. I feel like I can’t say anything either because I don’t want to freak out my own kids. Sometimes I will lean over and from the side of my mouth whisper covertly to another “good” parent…
“Hey, that kid has no socks on…you see that?”
I have actually told other people’s kids that “we go DOWN the slide, not UP”. “WE” being those of us who follow the rules. I don’t know how many times my kid has slid down into another kid coming up the slide and taken a knee to the face.
“Oh and by the way you need socks on to play here.”
It’s a lot harder for un-parented kids to climb the slide without socks. McDonald’s has a big sign in their Playland and the first rule is: No shoes allowed. Number 2 is: You must be wearing socks. Either most parents don’t read the sign and just know #1 or they don’t care. I think they don’t care. When I read that the first thing I think of is there must be some kind of cleanliness issue there. Kids in sweaty sandals now in bare feet in a place where other kids are crawling around on their hands and knees seems like a bit of a concern. Especially in a place where you are eating before or afterward.
I read an article one mother wrote about how bothered she was when an employee at McDonald’s interrupted her free wi-fi session to tell her that her kids needed socks on the Playland.
I asked her specifically why, since it’s June and it’s hot and who really carries socks around for 5 little kids in the middle of summer anyway except for those anal, uptight, Type A moms we don’t want to know? She said it’s a Health Department issue and they could be shut down. I told her that’s not true. What is it about kid feet that is any grosser than kid hands? And have you taken a look at the nasty McD’s floor lately? Any socks worn there would have to be burned afterward.
I wonder how she would feel if she went to order her Big Mac Combo and noticed that none of the employees were wearing shoes? Well it’s not like they were making the food with their feet. Well after all it is summer, why should anyone wear socks and shoes at work?
I really enjoy reading great parenting advice from a mother who becomes annoyed by the “snotty little girl” who can read and follows adult direction. You really should read the full article to fully enjoy the candor of her personality. It shines in her writing.
Round 2 – The Splash Pad
We went to the splash pad the other day and they have this little slide there for the kids to enjoy. It has a few stairs to get up and it usually accumulates a line of eager beavers who can’t wait for their next turn to plunge. Ashlyn is three and can hardly wait in line to get her teeth brushed at bedtime so I saw this as an ample opportunity to teach her about line-ups. So I stood on the stairs and when she would come running up I would take her little hand and move her behind the person at the back of the line. I would remind her gently that we have to wait for our turn and she was to go right after so and so. She seemed to get this right away and pretty soon I was just standing there and making small adjustments.
Meanwhile the whole time I am teaching this concept to Ashlyn, another little girl figures she can just bypass the line. She would go right to the top and just squeeze in. The lifeguard asked her a couple of times to go to the end of the line and even physically brought her there. To her credit she was maybe 2 going on 3 and didn’t really get it. Mom was just standing at the edge of the pool texting and encouraging with an occasional wave. Her daughter would also hang out at the bottom of the slide after her turn and the lifeguard would be yelling “MOVE PLEASE, YOU HAVE TO MOVE”. Mom just stood there.
My point is this…you may not be the best parent in the world but if you are out in public you should at least try and fake it. Put in a little effort, the other parents would appreciate it.