Toddler Tenderness

I won’t be going back to THAT playground anytime soon!

Is it just me or are kids these days scary? Three interactions during one visit to a playground the other day had me running to my car with my son in my arms.

I guess I shouldn’t say “these days”. I’ve always known kids can be mean. Emotions are quick to well up and few kids can help saying what’s on their minds, even when it’s not nice. But this day just seemed to be extreme.

Here’s what had me rattled at the park.

Incident no. 1: I was told off by a toddler

First, as I helped my two-and-a-half-year-old son up onto the playground equipment, I took a quick look around to survey the other kids playing there. One little tyke, smaller than my son but obviously much older, glared at me with cold eyes and yelled, “Don’t look at me!” in a voice that I couldn’t believe came from such a cute, little exterior.

Fine, I thought, as I spun the revolving number blocks with my son. We’ll play over here.

Incident no. 2: My son was pushed down the slide by an older kid

Next, I thought I’d get my son to go down the tube slide. He’s not very adventurous on his own, but after some coaxing, he went for it, giggling all the way down. Next time, I went to the bottom to wait for him (he loves to look down the tube and see me there).

When he had only one leg in, a little girl came behind him and shoved him! He tumbled down the slide sideways scraping his elbow. I was SHOCKED! I am not one to look the other way when there’s foul play, so I said to her, as calmly as I could, “Don’t ever push another child like that.”

Still, I was glad to see my son wanted to go down the slide again. So I went to the top with him to make sure he could get on safely this time. The little girl stopped herself midway on the slide so he couldn’t go!  She looked at me squarely and said, “I don’t like you. I don’t want to look at you.”

I‘m guessing she was about six years old. Where does a six year old learn to talk like that?

Incident no. 3: Another kid shakes up my son on the bouncy airplane

Giving up on the slide, we went to play on a little airplane mounted on a spring. It moves back and forth when you lean this way and that.

My son can barely reach his feet to the pedals on this fun little toy. But he loves to sit and pretend he’s flying the plane. Another little boy, probably about five years old, wanders over and grabs onto the handlebars. As he chatters away to me about his brother, he starts violently shaking the airplane my son is sitting on.

I really don’t think my son minded. And I’m sure that kid wasn’t trying to be mean. But I was outta there. That’s about all this mom could handle in a short visit to the playground.