A few things to note:
1. I don’t like the concept of play areas at malls. Shopping should be a calm, quiet, enjoyable experience. Children are neither calm nor quiet. An entire group of children herded into a pen like miniature cattle – definitely not calm or quiet.
2. I prefer the mall over the park. Don’t get me wrong, I take my kid to the park. But would I rather stand in the cold or heat pushing a swing or walk through the Nordstrom shoe department? Come on.
3. Nothing annoys me like old kids at the play area. So many questions arise: Why is this 12 year old not with other 12 year olds? What does he/she find fun about crawling through tunnels with toddlers? Is he/she really so offended by a 3 year old to need to push and shove? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER???
4. It’s loud. I know I covered that, but it needs it’s own sidebar. It’s so, so very loud. High pitched squeals, crying fits, moms yelling for Jr. to smile so she can send a pic of him sitting on the turtle to Grandma. Not to mention the guy who drives the train circling the food court ringing his bell every 37 seconds to remind the kids playing that they aren’t on the train, thus setting off a round of whining “Can I ride the train nooooow?” So loud. So many things at one time. Sends my OCD tendencies into overdrive.
5. I don’t do feet. Don’t like any but my own. But they’re everywhere. Smelly little feet that can’t wear socks because they interfere with your traction when climbing the giant polar bear, and HEAVEN FORBID. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT.
Ok, so this is what happened.
Brynna and I have been cooped up in the house for several days. We’ve left for gymnastics, Target and the doctor’s office, but between snow, rain and illness, we have spent more time at home than we usually do. This is bad for multiple reasons. If I’m at home I need it to be picked up. If BG is at home she needs to line characters down the hall, leave a trail of princess paraphernalia in her wake and tie scarves across every piece of furniture in the living room to “decorate.”
So even though I still felt like poo, yesterday we went to the mall. We had lunch with Jason, Brody and McKenna (because who doesn’t want McDonald’s when they’re sick?) then off to the play area. Trying to keep up with Brynna and Brody at the play area is like trying to chase a squirrel. Eventually you’ll be exhausted and they’ll be perched atop something tall ready to pounce. It’s best just to sit back and make sure no one is injured. After a few minutes two kids walk up to me. The boy was at least 7 and his sister about 5. (You already know I’m annoyed.) He said “Excuse me, your daughter was being mean to us.”
A. How do you know it was my daughter? Are you profiling based on our blonde hair? Rude.
B. If you can articulate in a complete sentence how my 3 YEAR OLD offended you, you’re old enough to work it out on your own.
C. And furthermore, you’re too old to be at the play area.
They proceed to explain how Brynna told them they weren’t allowed to climb on the slide because it was part of her and Brody’s castle. I made Brynna apologize and we discussed that she doesn’t, in fact, own the play area or make the rules. At this point, I look up and see Thing 1 and Thing 2 still in front of me. (What? Why are you still here? Are you looking for penance? I’m not paying for emotional damages.) Finally, off everyone went.
About 20 minutes later I notice the two older kids following BG again. I watched them plan their movements and follow just close enough that it would bother her but far enough that they weren’t technically doing anything to her. Sneaky little buggers. As Brody approached, Jason and I watched as Brynna explained, pointed and they both started in the same direction.
Don’t mess with young love. It will mess you up.
We intersected our kids before the older two were left pulverized, and based on the fact that he had to approach me in the first place, I don’t suspect it will be the last time that young man has to be saved from a strong-willed woman.