Playground Politics

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In an effort to socialize the Bean I have started taking her to various play groups. For those of you who haven’t had the joy of attending one, it is basically a room full of toys and kids and their parents. At least that is what it looks like on the surface. It is in fact a social experiment based on the survival of the fittest theory. It is a giant sorting sieve used to identify future War Lords, peace makers, Big Brother celebrities and States people.

Sitting on the rug trying to find a suitable toy for the Bean to play with, a little minion literally toddled up to us with a Lego brick in hand and lobs it at my head. “Yep, future car thief” I whisper under my breath as his horrified mother rushes over apologizing profusely and commands minion to say sorry and give me a kiss (WTF, I can see the rash on his face!!). I tell her it’s ok, decline minion’s kiss and move the Bean along to the next set of toys.

As I chant the words “share share and be gentle” at my daughter, I watch as another kid walks over to a magnificent Lego tower in the making GRAB it and start to dismantle it as the poor architect sits and looks on. Meanwhile, KIDZILLA’s mother does nothing. Perhaps too afraid that destructo-kid will turn its sights on her and scratch her eyes out….

I scan the room for a less hazardous scene..a little play cart with handle sits on the other side of the room. I go to pick up the Bean when I spot two other mums making their way for the toy. They both reach it at the same time and instead of doing the old passive aggressive “no you, no you” they both reach for the cart and the one who tugs hardest wins. I am shaking my head and turn around in time to see my own daughter in a mini tug of war over a toy with another baby. “Share share” I tell her and practically peel her fingers from the toy, releasing it to the other kid. As the Bean stares at me in disbelief I witness the other kid immediately lose interest in the toy, discard it and move onto the next one! Grief! No sooner do I reach for the toy and hand it back to the Bean, than the other kid decides he really wants it again and LUNGES at the Bean. I do what any mother would have done in that situation and restrain the kid’s arm before he is able to make contact with the Bean, at which point kid’s mother rushes up and asks me what is going on and did he hit my daughter…..Sweet mother of God, I was not banking on this level of Warfare and minefield navigation at a kids play group!!

I did a quick survey of friends about their general rules or experiences of the playground/playgroup and thought I would share some of them with you:

1. From an early childhood expert: kids really don’t learn the concept of sharing for a while (sometimes well into adulthood by the looks of it). Imagine someone coming up to you and telling you to hand over the keys to your car to someone else (you get the picture).

2. 3 second rule for complimenting kids – someone says something nice about your kids – you then are obliged to respond back about how gorgeous their kids are … whilst trying to ignore snot dripping out of their nose/ mash smeared in their hair etc leave it longer then 3 seconds and it gets awkward!

3. Set your ring tone to crickets so that you can claim you don’t have it on you when a momzilla at the playground askes to exchange numbers…playground moms can be worse than playground kids!!

4. When your kid goes up to someone, has verbal diarrhea and just talks incessantly about everything – you can a) try to move them away (looks rude) , b) join in – looks desperate or c) just enjoy having 5 mins peace…

5. Rhyme time or similar classes – kids and parents crammed in, siting on the floor singing nursery rhymes, your kid walks off, do you clamber over everyone, cause disruption or just sit where you are… carry on singing or look odd just sitting there with no kid and not joining in – C.R.I.N.G.E.!!

More interesting reads:

Playground Ettiquette

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