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Playland Party Foul

Posted by Kristen on September 21, 2009 at 6:27 AM in Parenting tips
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003(2).JPGI was feeling guilty enough for being at a fast food restaurant, let alone letting my kids play in the ginormous playland which could double as a petri dish of disease. Having gone so far over the edge, I broke down and bought them a kid's meal. Because it really means the world to them for their mother to buy the toy car for $4. I was so exhausted that I didn't notice they had taken their cars to play on the slides, which is always a recipe for disaster.

Ethan came over crying a few minutes later.

E: Momomomomomomomom. I sent my CAR down the SLIDE and now this BOY has it.

Oh, I can do crisis intervention. I turned around to see which surly child had deprived my precious son of his most prized possession. There was a little baby walking around with the car in his hand. His face said, "I can't believe this car fell right into my hands." Or more accurately, "CAR!!"

He was only about 15 months old. I told Ethan that this was just a baby with the car and that I would get it back. With Mason balancing on my hip, I went over to the little boy.

K: Hey, buddy. Can I get that car back? It belongs to Ethan.

He toddled away, completely oblivious to me. It was a classic boy moment. Look, shiny!!! I reached out with my flat open hand, trying to talk him into giving me the car back. He wasn't having any part of it. Because he was a baby and didn't understand. I toddled behind him with the open hand, trying to get him to offer it up. It was downright comical. I was busy trying to figure out what I could offer him to get the car back and I just kept offering my hand to get the car back. Suddenly his mother stormed up. And I do mean stormed.

She snatched the car from her son and slammed it in to my hand.


I was stunned. I stuttered back, "I was just asking him kindly for it." She slammed out of the restaurant with her poor child who hadn't even noticed what had happened because he saw a balloon painted on the window.

It's not like I screamed hysterically and yanked the car out of his hand. It's not like she used it as a teaching moment ("here, buddy, let's give this car back because it isn't ours), if you can even teach a BABY like that. It's not like I put him in time out or called Fast Food Security and reported a theft.

No less than 20 kids were in that playland. I'm sure there are some people that think I should have identified his mother (who was clearly not paying attention) to obtain this corrective action. I didn't because I didn't think I needed to. I was pretty sure I could get him to give the car back willingly. No harm, no foul, no big deal. I don't think I should have to ask a parent if I can ask their child for my son's toy back. If he hadn't given it back, we might have been in a different situation. I think that we have all gotten just a little too self-important and if our baby needs such protection, we should probably avoid fast food playlands in the future. It seems to me like this is a trend in parenting that heads down a wrong path.

Is it really a good idea for your mother to refuse to allow anyone to question you, even when you are a baby? I'm thinking if you feel that way when your baby is a baby, you probably won't be veering far off that program when your child gets older. The problem is, when you grow up, your boss isn't going to call your mother to ask her to break it to you gently that you have done something wrong or you could do better.

Although come college application essay time or salary negotiation for the first job, I'm sure she is going to be the best mom around to have.


John writes...

This is an easy case. I see no line you crossed. Harder is when another kid is physical with your kids. How physical can you be protecting your own kids?

Amber writes...

I don't like the idea of strangers disciplining my child if I'm there. However, it doesn't sound like that's what happened here. Because (1) she wasn't there and (2) you weren't disciplining him. Really, I think that mom clearly needs to get over herself. If you send your kids off to play by themselves in a crowded play place, you have to expect that they might interact with others.

I would have probably done the same thing that you did. And I probably would have cried when she yelled at me.

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