Hello, friends! I am one frustrated mama right now! I try not to judge others too much on how they raise their kids (let’s be real, we all judge people at least a little bit when it comes to certain things), but this woman at the park today got UNDER MY SKIN, y’all. Specifically, how she chose NOT to parent her child. I just gave my own toddler a bath, put him to sleep, and grabbed another cup of coffee, so, let me just start from the beginning.
After weeks and weeks of rain, where we’ve barely been able to go outside, let alone play at the park, we were finally able to take a loooong walk and get some good playtime in today. It was 83 degrees, partly sunny, and breezy. Absolutely beautiful. We stocked up on water, slathered on some sunscreen, and headed out.
I was sweating profusely by the time we got to the park, which is less than a quarter mile from our apartment, and had already gone through nearly half my water. Despite putting on my SPF 15 moisturizer, and a little bit of Liam’s SPF 50 sunscreen before we left the house, I could feel the skin on my face and shoulders getting a bit tight.
That got worse later, but onto what REALLY got me burned up.
When we got to the playground, there was only one family there. Well, I assumed they were a family. A young woman, a guy, a little boy a bit younger than Liam, and a baby girl, maybe 10 months old. The two adults were sitting on a bench nearby with the baby, while the little boy ran around the park like a tiny hurricane, as little boys do. As soon as I parked our stroller, the very red, very sweaty, little boy ran up to us, and went straight for Liam’s fruit snacks, which were sitting in his tray. I gently blocked the boy’s hand, and told him that they were not his. I looked up at his mother, but she hadn’t noticed, so I just brushed it off, and the little boy wandered away.
Liam ran around the playground, climbing the stairs, scaling the rock wall, and sliding endlessly down the three slides, all the while, the little boy trailed behind us, following us from place to place. The mom didn’t acknowledge it, and I didn’t care too much, as he wasn’t really bothering us. That is, until I noticed his little face. Aside from being completely sunburned and sweaty, this kid was also covered in snot. Snot all over his nose, his cheeks, and in his mouth. He also had goopy, yellow/green crust all around his eyes. I couldn’t tell if it was nasty allergies, or nasty conjunctivitis, but I didn’t really want him touching us either way.
Is that mean? I don’t care. It was gross.
We walked over to the swing, the little boy trailing behind us, and I began to push my tot. The little boy plopped himself down onto the playground pebbles, right at my feet, and began burying my feet in tiny stones. I moved to the side, but he kept doing it, and I kept kicking the rocks off. He then began alternating between piling rocks on my shoes, throwing rocks at my legs, and stomping on my foot. Twice, I asked him nicely to stop, both times loud enough for the mother to hear, and she didn’t even look up. The third time, I was more stern, and she definitely heard me, but she didn’t even acknowledge the situation.
Now, I’m not one to raise my voice at another person’s child, especially a toddler, but the whole situation was frustrating. I can handle a small child pestering me, but several stray rocks had hit Liam, and you just don’t mess with my baby, man. He also kept running in around the swing, almost getting knocked over a handful of times, and I feared for his safety, so we left the swing, and moved over to the roundabout. The little boy followed, of course, but instead of climbing on with Liam, he began chucking more little rocks onto the roundabout. Once again, loud enough for his mother to hear, I told him that throwing rocks was not nice, and that he needed to stop.
Once again, he didn’t, and she ignored me.
Quite frustrated, I picked up Liam, and carried him back to the stroller so that we could both drink some water.
The boy followed.
Liam lifted his cup to his mouth, and the little boy immediately reached for it. I gently blocked his hand, and sternly said, “No.”
I looked up at the mother, who was deep in conversation with the man she was with, and still not watching her son, who had now pushed past my hand, and had fully grabbed onto Liam’s cup. Once more, a little louder, I said, “No!”
The mother had now looked up, and sat there, watching. She said nothing to her little boy. So, I yanked the cup back from him, and picked up Liam so that he could drink in peace without the little boy pawing at him.
Looking back at the situation, the poor kid was probably thirsty, but it is not my job to make sure he is hydrated. I could see that he had a sippy cup of his own by his mother, but she hadn’t offered it to him once since we got there.
Speaking of the mother, she had finally taken notice of her son’s behavior, and shouted shrilly for him to get away from our stroller. He didn’t listen, and that was that. Nothing else. She just shouted, and gave up, going back to her conversation with this man, who I had now discovered was her ex-boyfriend’s brother, whom she apparently wanted to have a 3rd child with.
Yeah, they were talking loudly enough for me to hear all about their dirty laundry. It was, well, dirty.
I carried Liam away from the boy, and back to the slides. He took a few turns on the slides, then went to dig in the dirt.
Guess who followed.
I stood nearby and watched as they played in the dirt and wood chips, when suddenly, the little boy ran up to me, and slapped me on the thigh. I scolded him loudly, a mere three feet from his mother, and all she did was glance up at us. I was now pissed off. I told Liam that we had to go soon, and asked if he wanted to go on the slide one more time. He went up to the top, and the little boy ran off. I watched Liam slide down the slide, and as I walked over to him, I saw the little boy charging toward me out of the corner of my eye.
Then, out of nowhere, he hit me with a fucking stick. Right across my knee. He may have only been a year and a half, but it hurt, man! Not okay!
Once again I scolded him. Loudly. And nothing. NOTHING from his mother.
I was done. Fed up. I was hot and sweaty, this toddler was being a total brat, and his mother was doing NOTHING to police his behavior. I picked up Liam and put him in the stroller, and the boy tried to steal his cup again. I yanked it out of his hands, and heard his mother shout, “HEY!” I don’t know who she was yelling at, me or her son, but I shot her the dirtiest look I could muster.
And she glared right back.
I was done being nice. I was done parenting her tiny, demon spawn for her so she could try to hook up with her ex’s brother, or whatever the hell was happening with these people. So, as I unlocked the tires and began to leave, I said loudly, “Sorry, buddy, we have to go now. Some people can’t control their kids.”
Yeah. I said it. And I don’t regret it at all. I wish I had said more!
She kept staring me down as we walked away, and my two year old, in all his beautiful innocence, waved and said, “Bye bye!” to the little boy. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, yes, the little boy did follow us, and made it all the way to the road before his mom yelled for him to come back.
And then we were gone.
I called Kyle on the phone to rant about everything I just typed out, and before I knew it, I was at Dollar General looking for snacks and coloring books. It was uneventful, until it was time to checkout.
Try to wrap your head around this, if you will. Just try.
My total came to $8.35. I handed the cashier $3.75 in cash from Liam’s piggy bank to pay for his coloring books, and told her the rest would go on my card. She stared at the money in her hand, and asked me how much it was. I told her it was $3.75, and I saw the wheels start to turn. You see, Dollar General registers are the worst. There is no way to separate payment types, you just enter the amount left to pay. It’s really not that hard, but it tripped me up a few times back when I worked there, even with a calculator.
I swiped my card when she told me to, waited for it to say it was approved, and then… the cashier handed me a quarter back.
The following conversation ensued.
Me: Um, wait, why are you giving me change back?
Cashier: Well, it was 8.35, you gave me 3.75.
Me: … Yes?
Cashier: So here’s the change.
Me: But… I shouldn’t be getting change back. I gave you cash to pay for some of it, and put the rest on my card… why are you giving me change?
Cashier: … Oh, well, yeah, I accidentally charged your card 5.00.
Me: Oh. Okay, so you owe me 40 cents then.
Cashier: Wait, what? *looks at receipt* No, see, it was 8.35, you gave me 3.75, and I gave you a quarter back.
Me: … Yes. And now you owe me 15 more cents.
Cashier: *keeps staring at the receipt* I don’t think so.
Me: No, you definitely owe me 15 more cents…
Cashier: Um, okay, if you say so.
The elderly woman standing behind me could not stop laughing.
I was not amused.
Then, Liam and I shared a strawberry crumble ice cream bar, and headed home. I also passed by a group of teenagers who were having an intense debate over whether or not Yoshi pooped out eggs, or spit them out, in the old Mario games. That made me laugh. However, by the time we got home, I was DRENCHED in sweat, pink all over, irritated with everyone on the planet, and beyond thirsty.
I guess that’s it. I’m done. I’m over it now, and I hope that I never see that woman or her bratty kid ever again, but seeing as how I live in a small town, where I see a lot of the same faces, I probably will.
At least Liam had a good time out in the sunshine.
But, I just have to ask: HOW HARD IS IT TO WATCH YOUR KIDS AND TELL THEM NOT TO HIT STRANGERS AND THROW ROCKS AND STEAL OTHER KIDS’ FOOD? SERIOUSLY!
Thanks for reading, friends. Sorry about the length!