Tuesday, April 15, 2008

life in the bubble

After swimming lessons today, we dropped by a nearby park where I fed the children a picnic lunch and let them run around and play.

We were the only ones at the park, which to be perfectly honest, makes me happier than words. It also makes me happier than words that our play set is nearly complete in the back yard and unless I so choose, I'll never have to step foot in another public park, again.

Maybe if I had one child, I'd like to stumble upon a park where there are a bunch of kids that my child could play with. But with three three-year-olds, unless I know the children that we are playing with, I really appreciate not having to watch my offspring interact with other youths whose guardians may or may not be any where nearby.

Been there. Done that.

So today, we had the whole playground to ourselves. I set up our blanket near the swings and plopped Henry down with a graham cracker while the kids were playing on the slide. After a few minutes, I enticed them to come join us on the blanket when I flashed them peanut butter and jelly squares and squeezable yogurt.

As soon as everyone was sitting down, with their PB&J squares in hand, a group of twelve kids materialized out of nowhere.

They were mostly older kids, probably around six or seven. Although, there was a relatively new toddler that appeared unsteady on her feet in the mix, as well. The new kids took over the entire playground. They were running around, yelling, jumping off the slides, and acting like a bunch of savages excited kids. And then there was the toddler, on the slide platform a good 12-feet in the air, with just the top of a squirt water bottle in her mouth.

I felt a little uneasy, because once my kids finished eating lunch, my job of supervising three kids (and one crawler) - who were now going to be interacting with twelve kids - just got a lot more challenging. While we sat and ate our lunch, the kids were laughing at all the primarily older kids, playing all around them. And I was thinking "Man, these kids are rowdy."

But everything was going just fine.


One of the boys from the group, jumped on a swing and was pumping back and forth and kicking sand in our general direction every time he went up in the air. We were being showered with sand. Our lunches were being showered with sand.

The baby was being showered with sand.

And that is when I, who had been sitting there quietly, completely lost my cool. I whipped around, and said "Yeah. HI. We are eating lunch over here. Please do not kick sand." And then when it happened again - almost immediately - my head started spinning around on my shoulders and flames came shooting out of my ears while I barked "HEY!! WE ARE EATING LUNCH OVER HERE. DO!! NOT!! KICK!! SAND!!"

Once I realized that I was screaming at a strange kid in the park, I looked around to see where his guardians were. And that's when I spotted four women, sitting 15-feet away in the shade, watching this group of kids. Since they were facing us, they saw what he was doing and they must have heard me yelling.

People in the pool, 200 feet away heard me yelling.

But the women just sat there, chatting with each other.

It absolutely infuriates me when I see out of control kids, and guardians who are oblivious to their actions. Like two weeks ago, I chased down several kids in the neighborhood who were on Spring Break and spent some time thrashing our side yard by snapping off new buds from our Lily of the Niles (that bloom once a year) - and breaking mature palm fronds from the trees that line our property. When I ran outside and caught them tromping around, I asked where they lived because I needed to know where to send the police next time I saw them damaging our property.

Today, it took a great deal of restraint to not stand up and shout, "Why are you not CONTROLLING these kids that are under your supervision?! Why are you allowing a toddler to suck on a bottle top?! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?? Get off your DUFF and DO SOMETHING!!"

If that was one of my kids??

It wouldn't happen.

Or if it happened, it would happen once.

I stood up, loaded Henry in to the stroller, packed up our picnic lunch, shook out our blanket, climbed up the 12-foot platform to the top of the slide, removed the bottle top from the toddler's mouth, climbed back down the ladder, informed my kids that the reason we were leaving is because I didn't want to be surrounded by a bunch of naughty people, and then I loaded them in the car and we drove home. To our own private play ground.

Yeah. So maybe I'm too uptight.

But some might consider my ability to create a diamond from a piece of coal in less than six weeks time, to be highly impressive.


  1. Here,here! We are two peas in a pod. It takes all of my patience (which isn't a lot) not to just loose it with parents of these types of kids. Trying to do anything in a crowd is so infuriating. I don't let my kids plow through the middle of families at Disneyland. Or run through Wal-Mart, Target, Costco. I don't let them come flying down the sidewalk on scooters and bikes and almost run into little kids. And DON'T even get me started on "Heelys". NO, my kids will never have them. Parents just don't take responsibility for their kids anymore. These kids don't learn to be this way on their own.

  2. Been there, done that. It is sooooo frustrating.

    I have to ask where you got that awesome play yard?? I want one for my little ones!

  3. Karen in Buffalo4/15/08, 5:53 PM

    I'm with you! Sorry you had to deal with that on what sounded like such a nice outing.

    Awesome job Charlie on the play yard! Your kids' new 'toy' is going to be the envy of all of their (and your!) friends!

  4. I've been reading for a while, but have yet to comment. I think you are an amazing parent and are doing a great job raising your children. I am astonished at the lack of discipline some children (aka kids at the park) receive these days. I hope that when I have children that I discipline them as well as you do yours.

  5. Don't even get me started on rude kids at playgrounds, restaurant play areas, etc...Plus, I have an obnoxious 10 year old RIGHT next door. I can't even tell you how annoying it is when their is a rude kid RIGHT NEXT DOOR (on a side note, rude kids parents just put a for sale sign up and I was GIDDY at the thought of them moving far, far away only to find out they are moving 2 houses down to another house that is for sale. Words cannot express my disappointment). I think you showed remarkable restraint in not going over and saying something to the mothers! Love the pic of William fishing too...priceless!


  6. You are definitely not the only one who feels this way. And I only have two kids to watch out for at the park. :) But what a sweet playset for the backyard! That is fantastic!

  7. Nothing makes me more angry than to see a bunch of parents or care givers sitting around having a really nice chat, while their children/charges run amok. I have had to discipline a child for hitting one of my boys, while her mother sat reading US Weekly 5 feet away. I have asked many kids not to throw bark at my boys while at our local park. Yeah, I'm with you. I just can't convince my husband to buy one of those giant play structures for our yard!

  8. Heck, I yell at other people's kids all the time! I don't care anymore, because, obviously, their parents don't care either!
    p.s. If you guys come up here for a visit, please bring your new backyard toy! It'll fit in the minivan for sure! LOL!

  9. I'm totally with you on the rude, unsupervised kids. We haven't been back to our neighborhood park since a four year old HIT my toddler TWICE and then stole his bucket and shovel. It took all I had in me to not knock that kid into next week. Ugh.

    Anyway, I'm hoping we can put up an awesome swing set thingy like yours once we move into our new house. No more parks - yeah!

  10. Will you make me a diamond? I'll be your friend forever.

    I, too, love when the parks are empty. My kids know that we never go to the park on Saturday or Sunday. If they ask me what day it is, the know to not even inquire about the park on the weekend.

    But I have noticed now that they are becoming the "older" kids, that we often drive off other people. Of course, I stop any inappropriate behavior and I'm watching and riding them, but I think we tend to freak some people out when they are there all alone with their one kid and all of sudden we show up. It's like OMG, I was here with my one little kid and this woman shows up with a freaking preschool.

    But if you think you are uptight you should see Greg. They were making fun of Sarah and he yelled at them, "I bet you still pee in your pants, you little BABY. GET OUTTA HERE!" The kid went screaming to his mother!

  11. Oh yeah, that swingset ROCKS!

  12. Definitely not uptight! I hate that kind of stuff! I went to a playground the other day with just two other kids apart from us...well, they pushed my daughter off the carousel thingy, spread their sandwich crusts and juice boxes all over the place...and the parents sat there and did nothing. Then LEFT with all the crusts and juice boxes still strewn around. I was furious!
    Your playset is awesome!

  13. I'm totally with you, too, and I'm over here cheering you on.

  14. Wow - I have to say "WAY TO GO" - Thank you for doing what you did! Maybe those idiot 'parents' will think a little more next time they are 'supervising' their kids at the park. That type of behavior drives me crazy too - I TOTALLY get the head-spinning, flames coming out of the ears thing... My blood just boils when kids aren't disciplined enough to have basic manners! UGH! And I second everything that Heidi said too! Doesn't anyone teach their kids to be responsible MEMBERS of society anymore? Do they all want their kids thinking the world will always revolve around them??? PLEASE!

  15. Oh - I love the new playset - it rocks! I'm sorry it was so frustrating to put together, but it really looks great!

  16. Go Jen! It's funny, we had a child trying to cause problems at the playground yesterday. The weather here was finally just warm enough to get out. So we stopped at a playground with my mom on the way home. We were following my just turned 2 year old around, because he can't do all the things by himself. This little boy kept jumping in front of my son. Then he sat at the top of the slide that my son wanted to go on, and kept saying "don't push me, don't push me" while Zachariah was 2 feet away from him. Then the little boy went down the slide and said "ah, he pushed me". I just gave him a funny look. His mom did get up and come over when she realized there was a problem. Just before his mom came over I heard him mutter "damn it" under his breath! What? This boy was almost 4, and my goodness. Yikes. Needless to say, we went to another area of the playground.

  17. Not too uptight at all! Just last week, I grabbed a boy by the arm and told him to be careful of the little kids at the playground, as he continuously rode up and down the sidewalk hill in a red metal wagon, clanging it the whole time, with no control, whatsoever. He almost decapitated one of my girls! Never did see his (or his buddy's) guardian. Frankly, you have me convinced that we will take up all of the space in our small courtyard sized yard with a playset like yours. Although, I may have Rainbow put it in...;)

  18. What a grouch!!! I remember a little eight year old tying a grandfather in his wheelchair with garland, and we thought it was so funny!!!!!

  19. Don't get me started on rude kids or Anonymous rude adults.

    If you're going to post rude comments at least have the courage to post with your name.

    I usually post as winecat but since I'm pointing fingers I'll use my other name.

  20. I was actually four. And from what I remember of the story, it wasn't only garland ... it was also LIGHTS.

    A flashing 96-year old grandfather asleep in his wheelchair IS funny. Sand in my sandwich, all over my children's hair and in my baby's face? Not so funny.

    So, there you have it. I'm the GROUCH that can turn out diamonds. That will look good on my resume.

  21. that is one heck of a serious playground you have there! wow! that is nice. great job charlie!!!

    sorry about irresponsible parents...that stinks. you did what i would have done...on a good day, on a bad day i would have gone to get the kids' parents...and that probably wouldn't have turned out so well for anyone

  22. Love the new playset. It is sooo cute! Enjoy!

  23. Where are the responsible parents? Maybe they should have a designated "responsible kids with parents" day. Wouldn't that be easier? Then the other duffs could fend for themselves on off days....

    Cool playset? Some day..... sigh.

  24. Now see, I have older kids. So I get the crazy/excited/insane kids running around the park. THAT is what they are supposed to do and get there energy out.

    However, that being said. I will be the first one to hop off my Mom-blanket to be the enforcer. For my kids and anyone being a turd to my kids. And just let the lazy parent of said turd come over and say 'where you talking to my child?' Nothing brings out the Momma-bear in me more than that. Grrrrrr.