Tuesday, August 18, 2009

People Are Funny. And Awful.

Ugh. I walked into the path lab this morning in time to overhear about the saddest/white trashiest phone conversation ever. Basically, a (very large, bleached blond) woman in a tiny sundress and no bra was loudly discussing with her girlfriend how she was worried that the friend's boyfriend was hitting her kids. I was signing release forms at the desk when I heard from the seating area, "I'm just really worried about the kids. I think he's smacking them around. I mean, I know you smack their butts, hell I smack their butts, but (child's name) says that (boyfriend's name) is smacking him to the ground. The baby too! Yes, he called me to tell me. No, he didn't say anything about you, just (boyfriend's name.)" Followed by, "I know I've never liked him. But this isn't about me not liking him. I'm worried about your kids, girl! You can't think about how you feel about him, think about how you feel about your kids." Silence. Then, "No, I don't think he's being sneaky. I think he was telling the truth." Followed by a dismayed sigh. "Well you tell (child's name) that he can call me anytime."

What. In. The. World. The receptionist and I just stared at each other in horror. I just hope whoever was on the phone with that woman managed to prioritize her children's safety over her desire to have a man in her bed. At least the woman on the phone (smacking of butts aside, whatever THAT meant, exactly) seemed genuinely concerned about the kids, so hopefully she'll keep monitoring the situation.

ANYHOO, have mentioned that I miss coffee? Yet today? I spent an hour this morning at a nearby playground with my friend and her kids, lying on my back on the dirty ground, because I was so tired that just standing upright, keeping an eye on my babies, was too exhausting. Also, while we were there Jess totally reminded me of a playground story from a few months ago that I forgot to write about.

We were at the same playground together, earlier this summer, and Gabriel (Jess's son) and Addy were working to climb up one of the plastic slides. Another little boy was following behind them, trying to climb up as well, when his mom snatched him off the slide kind of vehemently and grabbed him by the hand. "If you can't play nice we have to go home, " she informed him. "But the other kids were climbing too!" he protested. "That doesn't make it right," she replied severely. As Jess and I cracked up in the background. Now we like to imitate her grim and judgemental tone whenever appropriate.



Her reaction just seemed a little... out of proportion, shall we say, to the severity of the offense. "That doesn't make it right" is what you say when a kid protests that he was only, say, cheating on a final because other kids were doing it. Not really a parental saying that I had previously associated with going the wrong way on a slide. No one was getting hurt, no one was being bullied, no one was currently trying to go down the slide and being forced to wait... I don't know, maybe we were letting our kids flagrantly disobey playground protocol. But as far as I'm concerned, climbing UP slides is way more fun than going down them. Also! Better exercise!

12 comments:

Jess said...

Climbing up slides is a CHILDHOOD STAPLE. I think overreactions of other parents will absolutely kill me dead once I have kids of my own.

Hillary said...

Oh dear. I just don't know what to say about either of those situations.

But the image of you flat on your back in a playground watching your kids ... I'm giggling over that. That first trimester fatigue is serious stuff.

nevermelts said...

Hey I just put this as my facebook status. The almost exact thing just happened to me the other day. My kids were all over the slide and this poor kid comes along and follows them... only his mother yanked him and screamed "DON'T YOU DARE WALK UP THAT SLIDE, MISTER!!!" Duuude.

d e v a n said...

hahaha - uptight mom!!!
As for the phone conversation lady - sheesh!!

Astarte said...

I never care if the kids climb the slide, either. Seriously, better that than any of the million things they'd think of to do *instead* of that!

Oh, that woman and her phone call. OMG. That is truly terrible.

Swistle said...

That phone call makes me so uneasy.

Katy said...

some people are just plain crazy. That kid will probably go off to college and go completely crazy.

You've reminded me that I have a really great people are funny/awful story.

Cate said...

I'll admit, I don't let my son go up the slide the wrong way. I think its rude when there are other kids around. I also don't let him cut in line in front of other kids to go down the slide and do intervene in other things that he does on the playground that aren't right. I think it is important to teach him social norms and polite behavior when other people are around. Maybe that makes me uptight, but it also ensures that he knows that he needs to be sensitive to the feelings of others in the world.
If we were at the park by ourselves, that would be another story.
Not saying you do this, but I really abhor parents who don't properly supervise their children on the playground, especially when younger children are around. Something as harmless as going the wrong way up the slide could result very quickly in another child (like my 1 year old daughter) getting hurt. Since she is so little I have to follow her around and it gets really old reminding the older children that they need to take turns and be careful of the younger ones. I don't do this for them...I do it to keep my daughter safe.

Cate said...

Oh, and Jess...I said a lot of things like "Overreactions of other parents will kill me dead once I have children of my own" before I had my own kids. You may be surprised at what brings out the Mama Bear in you when you have a couple of your own. ;)

marybt said...

If someone called and said my kid told them my boyfriend (which I don't have because I'm married - but you know what I mean) was smacking her around, then there is no way the phone conversation would last that long. I'd say, "okay. I'm taking care of it right now. The funeral will be Monday." But I'm a fighter; especially when it comes to my kid.

As for the mom on the playground. As long as the kids aren't in imminent danger of anything happening that might require stitches, we kind of leave them alone. Same goes for all the neighborhood kids who play football in my yard. In 7 years, I have only intervened ONE time.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

All due respect Cate, a playground with hoards of big kids running around and being big rowdy kids, (as they'll do), is probably not the safest or most appropriate place for a 1 year old to play...

That being said, I do and have brought my 1 year old to the playground with her older sister and follow her around to ensure she's safe. So I know what you mean there. But there's a big difference between kids running around and accidentally running into a little kid or climbing up a slide and purposely pushing past a little one or shoving them...

There are things I think are appropriate to correct other people's kids for, (such as being mean, etc.), and then things that are really the result of kids being... well... kids.

The beauty of childhood is in unstructured play... Kids are amazingly capable of some creative play when we let them. Something I think that has fallen by the wayside in recent years.

Yes, climbing up the slide is against the "rules." But maybe having "rules" for playground play is a little silly? (Granted, being disrespectful, i.e. cutting in line, climbing up a slide when someone is about to go down, pushing another kid... not ok in my book).

I think worrying about the safety of a little one is fine. I do it, and others do as well. But I'm not going to stop another kid's play to create a "safe" environment for my baby. I'll find another place for my kid til she's big enough to hold her own.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

By the way, y'all should check out the Free Range Kids blog... (the URL escapes me now).

Some things are a bit too extreme for me, but others? What a great set of ideas for raising competent kids.