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Loving and Loathing On the Playground

Inspired by Mitzi's rant on her playground woes, I was inspired to hammer out my own rant-filled missive to the parents of the tots we often encounter in the parks and playgrounds in our area.

Dear parents of the other kids;

1) Please supervise your children.
Older, younger - it doesn't matter. The playground isn't a free public babysitter for your progeny. If they are older and terrorizing my tot, they will be facing a very angry momma bear. You will bear the wrath of that, I most definitely promise. If they're younger, they need you to be vigilant because they could get hurt, and it's not my job to prevent that. For instance, if my little girl is swinging high in the swings, I can't and won't stop her abruptly, mid-air, just to avoid conking your child in the cranium because you didn't bother to watch them run under my daughter's swing. That's on you. And by "supervise," I do mean being within arms' reach of the young ones, and within a few metres of your older children, not inside your condo or across the park or so friggin' far away that I actually am not convinced that your child actually came with an adult.

2) Please encourage good manners and sharing when possible.
I'm not asking that your child be forced to share. I don't force Little L to share either. However, there is absolutely no harm in allowing my daughter to gently touch your kid's purple balloon, and a rude and defiant NO! shouted by your kid into my 2-year-old's face is devastating. You could teach your child to respond gently, even when it's in the negative. Or, better yet, you can reply gently on their behalf. My girl would take bad news much better coming from a kind and gentle adult. We don't share a lot of our toys but if my daughter is blowing bubbles with me and your youngster wants to get in on a piece of the action, chances are that we will welcome them into the bubble wonderland, provided your child isn't 8 and trying to hog all of my kid's bubbles. Ditto with sidewalk chalk - we have a big box and we don't mind sharing them either. Just remember to say thank-you if we share at some point, okay? Good manners beget good manners.

3) Don't hog the f*$%!#@ swing, especially if it's the only one there.
I know you got there first, and it's public, shared stuff. However, when you see that I've been waiting for 5-10 minutes and your kid has already been there for at least another 10 prior to my arrival, it's just courteous to try to coax the child to another area for a bit so that my girl can get a turn. We won't be there any longer than you were, and likely we will be there for a much shorter time. She has already been patiently waiting, sans tears. Also, I know that you know that I'm waiting, even if you are staring at your phone and pretending I'm not there; quit being an a$$hole and teach your kid to take turns.

4) Interact with your child(ren), for crying out loud!
How many little people have I encountered who, after watching me talking to/singing with/reading with Little L, eagerly approach (and encroach into our space) hoping to get in on some TLC/eye-contact/conversation? Too many. You don't have to be constantly chatting with your offspring (although I do with mine), but acknowledging their existence every couple of minutes might be a good idea. I'm just being helpful here, and trying to save you a few grand on therapy bills when they're older. Your phone, your friend, or whatever distraction you've brought along is far less important than your kids. Or at least, they should be.

5) Playgrounds aren't zoos, but wild things should be caged. I'm referring to your child.
The little terror that has been running around in circles, bulldozing through other smaller and younger kids, and racing at break-neck speeds up and down and all around the playground equipment should be tranquilized or handcuffed to you. Your child is scaring my kid with his/her loud screams and rambunctious behaviour and shoving and crowding. You should rein that in, because if you don't, I certainly will. My priority is keeping my kid safe and sane, and that is exactly what I will be doing if you don't pre-empt the unruly behaviour first.

6) Follow the rules.
You see the sign that says "No biking or scooters?" Or the one that says that the playground equipment is for children under the age of 6? Or the one that days that children must wear socks to play? If you're illiterate or failed to see the sign, I will let you know what it says. Then I expect you to follow the rules, because I am not afraid of escalating any situation that affects the safety of my child and other small kids.

7) You should probably send someone to spy on your nanny.
I'm pretty sure homegirl isn't doing her job, because she's over on the side gossiping with the other nannies while your kid is being unsupervised on the playground. If you think that this missive doesn't apply to you or you are shocked to hear that there are people like the ones I've described out there, maybe ask someone to go and watch what your child's caregiver is doing when they go to the playground (or Science World, or some other public place). And you can bet your ass that I probably had to tell off your nanny for not doing her job, or my nanny has had to say something too, because my kid was affected by your nanny's negligence in watching your child(ren).

8) Learn to apologize and take responsibility.
If Little L hurts someone, I am the first to grovel and apologize and make sure it doesn't happen again. Luckily, this has pretty much never had to occur, since my child isn't all that aggressive. However, the reverse has happened where Little L has been knocked over or hurt by your kids, and rather than apologize profusely, we have had to deal with blaming the victim, a litany of piss-poor excuses, ignoring us completely (guess what? Doesn't work), or half-assed non-apologies. These only escalate the situation, and make the confrontation far uglier. If my Hubbs is nearby, I suggest you and your child evacuate the area immediately; I've had to talk him down from commiting a violent act towards an a$$hole parent several times already (including just this past Sunday), and his vengeance is far less rrstrained than mine when it comes to his baby girl's well-being.

I'm sure that you have a hard life and I don't understand what you are going through and blah blah blah; everyone's got a context and something crappy happening. However, here's the bottom line: you chose to have kids, and they are your responsibility. My job is to look out for my girl, and I do my job well. Please do your job. Otherwise, someone is going to get hurt, and if it's my daughter, then it might be you as well. 


A Pissed Off Mrs Loquacious


mazoola said…
i agree with all of it!
the picture of the play area with the apple reminds me of Brentwood mall's play area...where this blogpost/letter should be bolded, capitalized, enlarged, and posted for all to read.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Never been... And will never go to Brentwood! This was a Semiahmoo in White Rock and we had two incidents in the 20 min we were there!

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