Educate Me

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Categories Activities, Behavior, Other people, School-Age, Toddlers

Hidden beneath my “mommy” exterior, is a temper. A temper which does not show itself frequently, but nonetheless is consistently triggered at one specific place…the play area at the mall.

I live in Pittsburgh. Wet, cold, overcast, rainy, snowy, icy, miserable-during-the-winter Pittsburgh. Where all the outdoor play areas are abandoned for 5 months a year.  Where house-bound mom’s desperately try to create fun outlets for the boundless energy of their toddlers.  Once a week or so, many of us find ourselves at the ONLY indoor kid area for miles.

Here is where my temper and I need help. I know that pre-kids I had all of these noble and unrealistic expectations for myself as a mother: ie. “MY children will NEVER have snotty noses and wear food-crusted jackets in public,” “MY children won’t ever act like brats in restaurants,” “I will always be kind and soft-spoken to my darling little ones.”) Yeah, you could say that reality has been a sharp slap in the face! :)

So when I am carefully assisting Faith and Jonathan on and off of the play apparatus, and some giant six (or seven or ten year old) comes ripping through the slides and knocks over one of my kids, steam can be seen from miles away rising from my heated face.  I get SO angry when these young kids are allowed to rush through the play area while their parents sit in the corner and sip coffee. I have complained about this so much to my other mom friends that I feel like a broken record. Yet it never fails that I have to speak up and remind some older kid that all the other kids are little and they need to be careful.

Honestly, my anger is not directed toward the bigger kids. I feel compassion for them. I wish there was an area dedicated to them so they could run around and have a great time burning off their energy. Nope, I get steamed at the parents.  I am a mother bear when it comes to my kids, and I can not understand why these older kids are allowed to run around like they do.  However, I only have 2 kids, only 19 months of experience, and I do not know what it is like to have older kids. I am sure many of the parents figure it is a safe way to let their 2 or more differently aged kids play indoors.

So what do the rest of you do in these situations? Do you address the parents? The mall officials to suggest changes? The kids? Surely I am not the only mama getting hot under the collar about this issue…at least, I hope I am not! So please, educate me! I would love to hear from those of you with older kids, as you are infinitely more wise than I! And what about the rest of you toddler moms? What are your lists of “My kids will NEVER…”

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5 thoughts on “Educate Me”

  1. Probably not much of a solution, but I tend to say something (polite but firm, hopefully) to the kid, and then give the evil eye to the parent. I know, kind of passive-aggressive, right? While I can be bold in many ways, I haven’t yet found the brass balls to say something to another parent…

    Is it Spring yet?

  2. I’m with you 100% on that one – it is so frustrating. I have found it easier on me to just go during off-times. So we get there before the mall opens to blow off steam. Then everyone is happier – I’m not frustrated, and my kids aren’t scared that someone is going to come leaping to within an inch of their heads while they play.

  3. I will get eye level with an older kid and ask them to please watch out for kids who are smaller than they are.

    Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t.

    My children are older, six and eight, and they both know the family rule is that anyone shorter than they needs to be looked after. They usually end up policing themselves and others pretty well.

  4. I was at disney world in toon town, and way in the back there is a soft area for little kids to play in, I was so mad at most of the parents, there was no way to let a 1 year old play saftley because of the other older kids. Those kids can go run around outisde this area and those parents don’t have to worry about the child crawling on the cement, or eating things off the floor. It was a total drag that I had no place to put her down and let her roam, I wish disney set an age limit for some area’s so there was a “safe” place you could go, or atleast calmer with less age difference going on. She was almost run over a zillion times, but I was trying so hard to let her walk around to get some steam out!

  5. Wow, I could have totally written this post. Maybe we even go to the same mall play area! I get beyond annoyed at the ‘big’ kids that tear the place up and trample the little kids. I usually end up losing my cool and snapping at the kids as they run by and asking them to stop and to watch where they are going….I have to admit, one time, I’d had it with one kid and as he went tearing by, I stuck my foot out and tripped him….I know, awful. He didn’t know it was me though and it sure stopped him.

    You are right though, it is the mother’s that make me the angriest. I sincerely hope that isn’t me some day…but I’m with you on the “never, say never” outcome of parenting so far…I’m batting zero so far!

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