Thursday, August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007 Part 2

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.


Lauri said...

yes to all of those...All the time... I normally try to stay back and see what Livi will do in a situation... but when it comes to her saftey... I have no problems talking to another child in a nice way. I may say " where is your Mommy?" and this gets the message across.

Livi tends to copy any behavior she see's so I try to steer her clear of situations where she will be around real stinkers.. not that she is an angel.

ChandraJoy said...

That is why I don't take Allisyn to the mall. Michael tried a couple of weeks ago and ran into the same problems. Parents just letting their kids go crazy and not enforcing the rules. I think they see has it a free place to let their kids go crazy and them not have to worry about messing up their house.

I'm really sorry you all don't have an indoor play place that you can go to where the rules are upheld better. I hope the weather starts getting nicer so you will be able to take them outside more.

Marthavmuffin said...

I think it's a common problem especially for parents of younger tots. Jamie is 19 mos old and just started walking at 16 mos, so the mall has been too rough for her until lately. Even the sprinkler park can be a challenge. Our park has a 'baby' area where there just a couple smaller soft sprays and two animals - a frog and a turtle that are big enough to climb on. Well the turtle doesn't do anything but the frog has a mouth with water coming out of it. THis older little girl (about 4) was just fixated on this frogs mouth for about 15 minutes. Jamie kept going from fountain to fountain and then back to the frog. She clearly wanted to get at the frogs water mouth. I looked up at her mother or caretaker but she didnt seem to even notice. So I said to the little girl, can Jamie have a turn? THe little brat moved her body so Jamie couldnt even see it and covered the water with her hand. I asked her again, and looked up at the mom/caretaker who just ignored me. So I asked a third time, and put my hand down at the water and moved the little girls hand. She screamed bloody murder so of course I felt badly about touching her...Oh and her caretaker finally approached. I should have probably just left Jamie to use her own persuasive powers, but I just had to butt in!

musicmommy3 said...

Do you ever get frustrated with the behavior of other children and parents when you are in public play areas?


Do you take up for your child if other children are pushing them or cutting in front of them.


Have you ever taken your child to a play date and did not care for the behavior of the other child, felt the child was a bad influence on your child and/or that the child's parent was not a good disciplinarian? How did you handle these situations?

Yes, yes, and yes.

First, let me say that neither of my older boys have perfect behavior. However, I always try to watch them in a public setting. I want to see if they are preferring others or preferring themselves. I have NOOOO problem asking other children to take turns or stop pushing. I say it in a really nice way. If all the other kids are doing things like that I would probably remove my kids. As for bad influences, when they were younger I would just distract their attention from the fighting/hitting kids (etc). Then when they were 2-3 and now 4-5 I would calmly explain that other people may act that way but Jesus doesn't want us to act like that and we want to act like Jesus. They pretty much get it. If I notice them getting sucked into poor behavior (or exhibiting their own) I just take them aside and remind them that we don't have to act like others. We need to do what God wants us to regardless of what others do. It does help them to process what's going on. SOmetimes I do leave depending on what the other behavior (or theirs) is.