So I went camping over the weekend with my kids and my Ma. The campsite had a splash pad for kids to play on.
Well there were two little boys (maybe 5 and 7-ish) playing on the geysers. The 5-year-old pissed off the 7-year-old because the 7 year old jumped on the 5 year old, pushed him down, put one hand on his neck and his other hand over his mouth and nose. I didn’t see the hands at this point. I had shouted at the kids, “Hey!” There were 6 adults RIGHT THERE, no one stopped anything. When the kids still didn’t disengage (for lack of a better word), I trotted over there and saw what was exactly going on. I pitched a FIT, full banshee mode, pulled the kids apart, and was like, “where’s your mom??” No answer. The little kid was shaking like a leaf, totally terrified, couldn’t even speak. I bring him back to my little picnic spot, get him a towel, give him some food, and just let him be in a safe little environment.
After about 10 minutes, I asked him where his family was and walked him over to the table where his family was. The father got up and met me about 15 feet before the table. I introduced myself and explained what I saw and what happened. The dad had only a ‘thank you’ attitude, which I thought was odd. If someone told me this story about my kid, I would be flaming pissed. The little kid, who was still shaking, didn’t speak at all. I leave him with his dad, walk back to my little spot and notice the splash pad was completely visible from their table.
I got back to my picnic table, and a woman approached me and said it was a good thing I went over there because she was just getting ready to do that very same thing. Great. How about you tell me when you are ready just in case I need to wait for you if my kids are in trouble. To top it off, the asshole kid who accosted the little one was still playing on the splash pad. Just then, the dad of the mean kid came over and took the mean kid back to his picnic table. IT WAS THE SAME TABLE AS THE LITTLE KID!
Relaxing wasn’t in the cards for me this day because then my youngest (3) comes running up to the table, “MOM MOM MOM COME HERE! THERE’S BLEEDING!” Wait, what? I jump up, and follow right behind her to the problem. There was a little friend she made, maybe 2, was bleeding from the mouth and nose. It looked like he took a nose dive from the playground platform, and landed face first. I clean up his little face with my towel and ask him where his family is. He walks me over to his table and lo and behold: it’s the SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE! I meet with the same dad, tell him what happened, and leave the bleeding child with them.
It had been a couple of hours now, and it was time to head back to the camp spot and have lunch. My ma went to the car while I walked around collecting my 800 children. I hear my ma call for my attention and she points at a swing. She says, “Baby!” pointing at this swing, right? I’m thinking, “I’m a great mom here. My kid fell asleep in a swing, directly in the sun.” I trot over to the swing and find this:
The little angel! But it must have been 105 out that day, and if I was to leave him to nap in the swing, he was going to fry. I start asking around and no one knows whose kid this is. I can’t just leave him in the sun to burn to a crisp! I finally find a kid who knows this kid’s mom and goes to get her.
You’ll never guess which table she came from: THAT SAME ONE with the accosted kid and the bleeding kid! She comes, picks him up from the swing, and takes him back to the table. My ma calls me the Park Mom now. “You’re just here to solve everyone’s problems, aren’t you?”
Not at all. I can’t even solve my own problems. But little kids should be watched over and cared for; I couldn’t – in good conscience – let what I see as potentially harmful to a kid just happen. With him falling asleep in the sun, I’m white. My kids’ dad is white. Our kids are almost see-through, they are so white. Because of that, I am TERRIFIED of the sun! I understand there are people who would argue that because he has something I don’t – melanin – then he would have been okay to sleep in the sun for a bit. Maybe he would have. My mom-instints kicked in and said, “GET THAT KID OUT OF THE SUN!”
As for the bleeding kid, kids are kids. My kids get cuts and bruises and shit like that all the time. My oldest got 21 stitches in one year alone! However, being there to tend to those injuries is a vital part to me. At a young age, you create bonding with your kid when you are there for them during traumatic times… like face-plants at the playground. A bit of compassion and tenderness goes such a long way to establishing you as their foundation, in my opinion. It builds trust. I’m not going to say that I haven’t said, “you’re fine.” when it comes to my kids falling and such, but I always make a point to address the injury and show them I take their concerns seriously.
For the asshole kid and the little kid, I don’t know what the fuck. The behavior of the mean kid was nothing I have ever seen in a little kid before. The only way I can describe it is akin to a SVU episode or something. I can’t shake the image from my mind. How does a little kid learn that type of technique? I was shocked. And for no one else to try to stop it…. THAT shocks me too! There are times when you go to a park and you see all these parents around and you think, “With all these parents, that’s 1000 eyes watching what the fuck is going on” but it’s not.
You may also say that I am ‘that mom.’ I’m the one who yells at the kids (mine or not) if they’re doing something wrong. I’m the one who engages the parents when I see something not right. You should hear me in a McDonald’s playground. I’m not a helicopter mom by any length, but I don’t hesitate to intervene. I don’t care who it is.
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