So today I took the boys to the little play area in the local mall. I called several places in our town in search of an indoor play place for toddlers and it appears that none exist in my town. So, back to the mall we went, since it was about 103 or 104 degrees here today and we really needed to get out of the house.
The more I go to this little play area, the less I like it, mostly because of the other kids. I find it very frustrating that other parents will sit around talking or just not paying attention while their children are breaking the rules of the play area, putting the younger children in possible danger, or just being downright annoying or rude.
This little play area has a very small slide. The kids have to go around and into one of two small doors, into a little "house" type of structure and then they climb a few small stairs to get onto the slide. It is such a small slide that there are no hand rails or anything. The top of it is about at the level of my hips and it curves around as it goes down. It is cute and the kids all love it though. The big kids like to walk down it.
I typically stand near the top of the little slide because Ben is still learning how to transition from the climbing/standing position to sitting on the slide and he is a bit unstable. If he fell off the top, he could land on the "wall" of the little house-type structure and it could really hurt. Additionally, I am still teaching my two how to take turns and I don't want them cutting in front of other children.
Those were my reasons for standing there in the beginning. In the few times we have been there, I have seen tons of bigger kids, who should know better, cutting in front of the little ones, pushing them aside, walking up the little slide, as one of the little kids is sitting on the top, getting ready to go down, etc. Sometimes other little kids do these types of things too but frequently this behavior is from older kids who should know better. I try to handle it very tactfully, sometimes looking around to see if there is a parent who is watching and getting ready to get up to do something about it and sometimes there is and the parent will tell the child not to do such and such. And sometimes no adult is paying attention to what is going on at all.
Today, there was a younger little boy who kept climbing up the slide when the other kids were waiting in line to go down. Two of the kids were sitting on the slide, waiting to go down and other kids were waiting in line and this little boy was holding them all up, while he climbed up the slide. He did not seem to know better, although I think he was of an age that he could have been taught. The kids were looking at me like I should do something, since they had seen me ensuring my two were not cutting in line and I may have also told another child or two not to cut in front of one of mine once or twice, in a very nice way (three bigger kids just walked up and got right in front of Ben, when he was waiting to go down the slide once).
Anyway, I was not sure how much this little guy would understand and certainly was not going to pick him up and move him so I was looking around, wondering where his parent was. Finally, his dad came and got him off of the slide but did not try to explain to him that this is a no no and that we walk around and stand in line or anything like that. This little boy was right back at it, climbing up the slide again a few minutes later. I was watching his father and he was just sitting there, watching his son, like he thought maybe he might get down on his own, while several little kids were again waiting to go down the slide. The little boy kept doing this over and over and the father did nothing. It was quite frustrating.
At one point, a group of little girls came who were all a bit older, probably around 5 or 6 years old. They were running all over the place, which is against the rules of this little play area. It is not a very large play area and there are normally too many kids anyway so big kids running can really present a danger to the little ones. These were the kids who cut in front of B when he was waiting to go down the slide. I never figured out which adult they were with.
When the boys were back in the stroller and I was just starting to push the stroller towards the exit, the younger boy who kept blocking the slide came up to our stroller and stood in front of N's side of the stroller, hanging on to the stroller. He just stood there, smiling at N and holding our stroller, seeming to have no inclination to move out of our way so we could leave. His father was only a few feet away (not within reaching distance) and was watching but, again, was doing nothing about it. It's like this dad had no sense of timing when it came to correcting his son...actually, he did no correcting at all but he had no sense of timing when it came to getting his son out of someone's way. Finally I said "excuse us" in that lovely sing-songy voice to the little boy and the father finally came over and moved his son out of our way.