Sunday, January 22, 2012

Injustice on the playground

I was saddened by something I saw today. Something, in fact that I saw several times. I took the owlet to an indoor play area to burn off some energy before I snapped, but they closed early and he still had oodles of energy to burn. So, we went to my library because I knew they had lots of stuff for kiddos to play with.

The owlet did great. He was calm and didn't run off, like I half expected him to do. He walked around and checked stuff out, and over and over again, bigger kids ripped toys out of his hands, or told him he couldn't play with things.

Like, the kitchen set.

A girl no more than 6, was completely guarding the little pretend kitchen so that my son who only wanted to open and close the cabinet, couldn't play.

Part of me REALLY wanted to say something. And maybe I should have. At what point do you step in and parent someone else's child? I see this type of thing every day in the library. Kids running rampant, pulling books off the shelves, wrestling, or whatever, while their parents sit on the computer, zoned out. Or on their Nintendo DS, like one mom was today. Yes, it's a library, but that doesn't make it a parent free zone. But it's different when my kid is involved. At one point I did step up and say something, when the owlet pulled a block out of a wheelbarrow that another boy was using. (This kid, by the way, had now taken every single block, tool and other such thing, so there was barely anything left to play with. Plus, with the kitchen being barricaded by another lovely, I was half expecting the owlet to say "eff this" and take off.)

Where was I? Oh, right. The other little boy almost ripped the toy out of the owlet's hand, and I said, "it's ok if he plays with that for a second. He's just a little guy." The boy looked at me like how DARE I tell him what to do, but he let the owlet play with it.

It's interesting. Because the other day I was at one of those play areas in the mall. It was very small and VERY crowded, mostly with moms of several kids of varying ages. I think they were having a playgroup. Anyway. These moms, for the most part, were much more vigilant about watching their kids. I heard them say several times, "watch out for the little guy," or "wait your turn." What made this different than the library? The lack of other things to do? These moms could have zoned out just as easily as the ones at the library. They could have been on their phones, or been gossiping and not have noticed. Maybe it was the difference in safety. The kids in the library can't go that far (even though the library is big) whereas at the mall, they could take off and be gone in a flash.

I don't really know. All I know is that when I am out anywhere with the owlet, I watch him like a hawk. Or, a momma owl. Either way, my eyes don't leave him. I want him to know that I'm watching him. That I'm present, even if I'm sitting back, letting him explore.

And if one more of these little beings thinks they can be rude to my child because their parent can't even be bothered to be in the same room as them, they best be watching out. Because Momma Owlet is going to come down hard on them and teach them some manners and a little word called "Sharing."

1 comment:

  1. You held back more than I would have! I would have told the kids something where their parent could hear me.