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Passive-Aggressive Parenting

Posted by Kristen on July 26, 2010 at 6:37 AM in Raising Boys
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993.JPGI remember the first time I took Ethan to the mall playground and watched in horror as the big kids climbed up the slide. Sometimes they watched out for the little kids and sometimes they didn't. I was mortified. There are rules. "Up the stairs and down the slide." Even in the days before smart phones and excessive texting, the parents of these kids weren't paying attention. I glared at the big boys. These would probably be the boys that later on would offer my innocent children cigarettes under the bleachers on the football field in high school.

Fast forward to last Friday when I met a group of friends at the National Building Museum to check out their Lego exhibit. We invited one of Ethan's extremely well-behaved friends so I had four kids under the age of six. No problem. Piece of cake. We all know how well I do with three. Ha.

I thought things out ahead of time. I strapped Mason onto my back in a Babyhawk carrier. Limited movement for the Baby in a Lego free play exhibit with tens of thousands of Legos upon which to choke? CHECK!

We arrived and I reached over my shoulder to hand Mason what I thought was a large Lego brick. It was large enough that I wouldn't need to do the Heimlich. Ten minutes later a woman runs up and taps on my arm.


She was actually yelling. I mumbled an "oh, um, thanks?" and directed Ethan to reach back behind me and take the Lego out of his mouth. The woman said, "I'll do it" (insert your own idea of her tone and then multiply it by a thousand) and she handed me a slimy Lego. I'm not sure but I think The Baby growled at her. I thought about it.

I could see that The Baby's entertainment was now gone so we all went down to the play area downstairs for kids 2-6. I figured that 3 out of the 4 kids I had were in that age range, so we were good. Except by 2-6 they really meant 0-2. Maybe 0-3. The place was packed with babies.

The three older boys ran into a corner away from the smaller kids and found erector set pieces that they promptly made into weapons. A mother of an underaged toddler glared at me as she said to her son, "Honey, be careful of those boys. THEIR mom lets them play with swords."

Seriously? Did she just say that? Don't get me wrong. I remember the days when I was pretty sure my precious snowflake was going to be ruined by the world, lady. I yanked the erector set pieces out of the kids hands but only because they had somehow figured out how to make them do this projectile thing like arrows. I turned around to find Nathan making a gun out of those huge soft blocks. Across the room I could hear a woman on her cell, bemoaning the big kids who were (gasp) running around in the corner, shooting each other.

My kids got light sabers for Christmas last year from a dear friend who has now been written out of our will and they got their first toy guns in the form of those miniature Lego policemen for their birthdays this year. I don't even let them have water guns (which is cruel since we are rounding out a month of 90+ temperatures). But we all know they watch Star Wars on loop, so it's not like they are experiencing a violence-free life.

I'm not anti-gun per se, but don't judge me because my kids made swords with erector set pieces. It's not like I was over there giving a tutorial on how to make weapons. Everyone knows boys are going to make guns out of sticks or Legos or whatever they can find if their cruel parents refuse to buy them.

I just really hope that when Sword Lady's son picks up her 2 pound hand weights, points them at the neighbor kid and yells, "I'M LUKE THE SKYWALKER" one day and the neighbor kid's mom glares at her, she remembers me.


Lindsay writes...

Passive Agressive judgemental parents should be confined to a house full of mirrors where they can lavish compliments upon their perfect selves 24/7.

Now, let me tell you what you're doing wrong (haha) -- Let them have fun with some water guns for peet's sake - what's the harm? It's not the gateway toy to the real semi-automatic. I personally am not a gun advocate, but I do think that restricting anything just makes the banned thing more interesting and something they want to do behind your back. I'd rather teach about gun safety and responsibility than have them sneak around or hide things from me. Plus, water guns are really fun... just my humble opinion.

KristenAuthor Profile Page writes...


Amber writes...

I was at the park the other day, yelling at all the kids directly about not climbing UP the covered slide. Because the kids coming down couldn't see them, and there were constant collisions, and I think I had a point. I didn't think the kids' parents were being neglectful or anything - I would probably have the same conversation with my own 5-year-old.

ANYWAYS, this was all before my 2-year-old decided to stop halfway down the covered slide, and other kids started piling up on top of him. So I had to climb UP the slide to retrieve him. And all the kids that I had been so sanctimonious to laughed at me. Fun times!

KristenAuthor Profile Page writes...

One of the kids should have taken a TwitPic of that one, Amber. That would have been awesome.

Victoria Cummings writes...


Yes, as the saying goes sometime you are the bug sometime you are the windshield.

Every "normal" parent has experienced some of what you described here.

I believe it is called, life with kids...

Thanks for giving me a laugh.


KristenAuthor Profile Page writes...


Lela writes...

We too have a Mall play area. It is a train made out of mats. And there is a rule sign (6 and under). I think every child with in 200 miles has been in this play area. The only thing is these kids are now pre-teen to over teens having no respect for the age groups that this play area was made for.
Crawling up a slide is in every childs exploration no matter what age.
Weapon making is not just a boys thing any more it's the girls too. It how the kids play with them after they have made the that bothers my. actually hitting, jabbing,poking and throwing at others. My 4 yr old has a super water pump gun. When it was handed to him we explained how to & where to use it, & what not to do with it.

KristenAuthor Profile Page writes...

The poking and jabbing drives me crazy too. I like how you explained the rules for use. Thanks for sharing, Lela.

Ginger writes...

I came across this blog while google searching a picture. I am going to bookmark it for the future when I have kids. I hope to be as good a mom as you are. Nope you re not perfect :-) but you seem to handle your 3 with such pizazz!
Keep it up.

Derek writes...

I don't actively encourage playing with toy guns (probably harmless and unavoidalbe but it could cause some careless habits), but when they make their own guns out of leggos, I insist they use the correct terminology. Might as well learn while playing.

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