Yeah I said it…
That is all I have been thinking since we got home from the playground this evening.
Let me preface this by saying, I JUST listened to a podcast today that ended with a rant about kids on a plane (The Read)… really just to say … yes kids will be kids… but parents need to PARENT. While I am big on not discussing children’s behavior as a reflection of parenting because there are so many variables…TODAY WAS A WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY.
Now people may believe parenting differs between race and age and blah blah blah. While that may be true in some respects, there are no restrictions to being a good parent! Before I even get to tonight’s story and why it pisses me off. For the past 2 years, I’ve been getting those “you poor girl” or “that poor baby” looks when I am at the grocery store and I have mentioned it before. Even this past weekend at the fair. This older woman (with the sweetest intentions) was in front of us in line for ice cream and heard Fi crying because we could not steal the kitten from the fair… so this woman turns around and starts a conversation with Fi. Once Fi settled down a bit she looks at me and says “sometimes you just need to talk to them and calm them down a bit, I know its hard” then she turns around. While I am sure she was not meaning throw the shade I was hit with, all I could think was,
“GIRL! Do you think I just popped up and started mom-ing today? I heard her crying, I knew it was over nothing, I knew she was about to get ice cream and be fine. I also knew she was not louder than the loud rides around us and the annoying game announcers. But most of all I know that I AM HER MOM and I know how to calm her down! She’s not 2 months old she’s 2 years old… in a stroller… she’s fine so turn around and get your Italian ice.”
There was a point in my life, shortly after I left Fi’s dad, when I would look in the mirror and think “you poor girl” but like literally poor, my bank account was compromised… diapers were expensive, formula was expensive and I was making $10-$11/hr working about 38 hours a week at one job then spending my nights waiting tables when I could. BUT…BUT that poor girl turned into that strong woman BECAUSE I never looked at my child and thought “that poor baby” even though things were expensive, she had it. She was still raised to be polite, loving, and kind. You could not see the struggle through my child… my child still does not know of any struggle. I made the right decision for us even if that meant putting my favorite coffee back at the grocery store so I could buy another can of little munchies… I did it… even if that meant staying up until 3 to finish an exam to graduate on time and get up at 6 with my baby…I did it. I knew it would get us to where we are now and allow us to continue to grow. So moving on…
This evening…I took Fi to the park to run out some energy that was built up from spending 4 hours in the car. The first 20 or so minutes I spent watching this ADORABLE little girl audition to be Fi’s nanny, precious. She was holding her like a little baby, she had to be all of 7 years old. THEN terror came to town. I swear I hate hate hate looking at someone else’s kid and thinking “oh hell nah” half the time I am not super focused on the actions of little kids at a playground because I know they are about to turn up… that’s what a playground is for. One of the reasons these little boys caught my eye is because they were probably the oldest ones there and it wasn’t 2 and 3 year olds the kids were ranging from 1 to 6 or 7. That always makes me nervous because I don’t want Fi to get trampled… she is not very fast… so I always pay even closer attention when big ol kids roll up. Then one of the little kids bumped into one of the older boys and he WENT OFF. He said “F*** you B***** I will kill you”.
Wait … What?!
Usually when I hear a kid being bad I am not phased…but the anger and seriousness in his voice actually scared me. I first looked for my kid and got her closer to me (he didn’t want this drama) then I looked for his mom or dad thinking that this kid is old enough to just ride his bike here if he lives close enough. To my surprise, they were both there! And I am like oh.. so you must not have heard this little boy… they did not hear him because they were screaming the same things at each other… many people just kind of left because they were uncomfortable. These boys were serious… they joined in a game of tag between the little girls at the park including my daughter. But… they were not playing normal plain ol tag… or even like old school cops and robbers… these boys were spitting on the other kids and “shooting” the other kids like very realistic gun sounds. Say “boys will be boys” all you want to but to that I will say well “murders will be murders” and these guys were a year or so away from a mugshot and I’m being 100% real. Over reacting? Girl no. If they had not just cursed out a toddler… and sounded like a grown man MAYBE I wouldn’t feel so strongly about what some people may think are normal playground interactions. Now I say these boys were older… but they are still boys I am thinking 8-10. I know that kids pick up words and actions like they are germs but for these boys to use these words as a mode of defense and to say it with such anger behind it showed that it has never been corrected. They continued to curse openly at a park full of children with no remorse for their influence and in front of adults with no fear of punishment.
Then I hear Fi say “Hey, you don’t spit on me!” I turn and again I am like “oh hell nah”
but then she makes a gun with her fingers and “shoots” back at him… GIRL NO. We do not PLAY that… we don’t play guns at home, at school, ANYWHERE. Guns are not a game. We do not have water guns. We do not have toy guns. We do not watch cartoons with gun violence. That is a personal preference for me as a parent and I do not care what fun the other kids are having playing sniper… my child will not because violence and death is not a game. So yes, I embarrassed my girl in front of all the kids. I was loud so maybe some other people would take notice (shade intended). It is not my job to parent all of these kids. If one were to run out in the street in front of a car would I try to stop them? Yes, as a clear minded human being, yes! But in this case, I let her know that WE do not play those games so she better stop now before its game over for the night and she’s in time out. The boys gave me a look… and I felt myself giving a dirty look back but I remembered that these are boys and even though they want to play these grown up, prisoner in training games, they are still children. So I instead looked up and around to attempt to make eye contact with one of the people who, in writing somewhere, is their parent… they were still fighting and it seemed like in the time that I had been focused on Fi around these little boys… the number of kids they had multiplied ! Two kids, not much older than Fi, were in the front of their car beeping the horn at joggers. They had a little baby in an infant car seat. Fi loves babies and was pulling me to go peek in the car seat with her… nope I had seen enough. Plus, at this point, the “parents” were giving me this look like I had their least favorite vermin crawling out of my face.
Loading up the car, letting the A/C kick, I had a more detailed talk with fi about earlier and why I was unhappy with her behavior… as detailed as I could be with a two year old. At this same time, the other family was loading up their car with more kids than I realized were there with them… They made an attempt. I saw a little girl climb out of the backseat window… drop to the ground… brush off and run away.
It was the same girl that was verbally attacked by… her brother? When it happened she looked him in the eye, looked down and ran away… sad but she did not cry and did not run to her parents… I was hoping that was because she was would never see him again but it was the opposite. In their attempts to wrangle these kids, they sounded like the little boy only louder…
I never did look in to see that little baby in the car seat. Seeing that type of innocence, that familiar innocence, in what seems like a volatile environment was more than I could handle. I do not know these people but the old ladies looking at me in the store by myself with a baby, would not have given these two parents a second look as long as their kids were quiet. These are two people continuously reproducing… these are parents. No one is perfect when it comes to parenting… but give if you are going to continue to put kids on this earth remember that one day they will be adults…. just freaking try. They don’t have to be straight A students or the next presidents… just TRY to steer them towards… not being little jerks that grow into adult jerks.
Fi has taken some shots at being potty mouth since we got home and she scored an early bedtime (insert corny mom laugh).
I try to be uplifting and positive with the things I post but I am not ignorant and I want to make sure if I am not around, Fi still knows right from wrong and is not afraid to speak up on it. What good is recognizing all of the good in the world without identifying the bad?.
Mom or not, what would you have done?