free hit counter Snacks, please!: The playground bully

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The playground bully

On Sunday we went to see a man about a horse. Specifically, we saw this man, a former Oregon rancher, who is riding a horse named Blackie across America. He was camping out in an Arlington park, just a good kick away from the playground equipment, before Monday's parade in D.C.

Anyway, while David gave him a whole bunch of pedestrian trail maps and aerial photos, the girls and I went off to the playground, which was covered with Wild Children. Unfortunately, we met this crazy bully, who screamed at one of the little boys when he threw sand in Josephine's direction, hissed at a little girl who was speaking less than nicely to Margaret, and bossed another kid off the elliptical ladder when he purposefully blocked Lucy's way and refused to go up or down.

Oh yes, it was me, of course.

I think I need to look more closely at my behavior around other children, i.e. not my own. Because I'm pretty sure that I used to be the kind of adult that was fun to play with, but now! Now I am fierce! I can't remember whether I wrote about the boy at Lucy's daycare that I made cry... but he was very naughty and, although I felt a little bit bad when he got all hysterical, I didn't feel THAT bad. He was punching another one of the boys! And seriously, these Wild Children on the playground, I wish I had made them cry.

Anyhoo, David says I am a playground bully, but I would have liked to see what he would have done when the future road crew foreman threw sand in Josephine's direction. Here is what I did: "AAHAHAHAHAH! (Like pennies in a soda can!) DROP THAT SAND! WE DO NOT THROW SAND! HEY! DID YOU HEAR ME?? I SAID DROP IT! NOW!" And then he did. And I was hoping he would run and get his recalcitrant mother so that I could yell at her too about what a terrible child she was raising that he throws sand at baby girls?? But he didn't.

Margaret, of course, did not sense the danger posed by the Wild Children, and she spun herself into their cyclone of disaster. "I'm just going to climb these stairs here," she said. "I want to follow that obnoxious pony-tail girl...bye-bye Mommy." I took her hand and said, "Margaret, you are too little!" And then the obnoxious pony-tail girl bent down (in her face!) and said, "Nyah-nyah, you are too little!" and laughed a little too meanly, in my opinion. So I bent down in her face, modeling much more appropriate behavior, and hissed, "BE NICE!"

I did feel somewhat self-conscious after that, and so I tried being a little more subtle with the kid who refused to get off the ladder. I said, "Are you going up or down? I bet you're going up, right? Let's see you go up!" But when he refused to move and said, "I'M NOT MOVING," with a sorta George W. grin. I said, "Oh yes you are. We're taking turns here, kiddo."

Is this wrong? Should I let Lucy negotiate her own playground problems? Maybe. But she's only 3, and these other kids were like 5 or 6. I did notice that I was the only parent participating in the negotiating of troop withdrawals, but all of the other mothers were drunk, so that's hardly the standard I should meet, right? (Oh, okay, maybe they weren't drunk...)

And then I said to another little girl, "Honey, put your tongue in your mouth."

Eventually I got tired of it all and said to Lucy, "Come on, let's go find Daddy-o." We did. And then Lucy says to him, "Let's go to the playground, Daddy! There are wild children there!"


Blogger marymurtz said...

I've done the same thing. You put it in new perspective for me. But I don't think it will change the way I act. :(

May 27, 2008 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Oh no, Mary!
You're drunk at the park again?!

May 28, 2008 at 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Bridal Bird said...

I remember vaguely disliking going to the playground when I was a tyke because I was something of a gentle flower and bigger, obnoxious kids always seemed to be harshing my buzz. I would have appreciated a playground storm trooper keeping them in line so that I might enjoy my jungle gym in peace.

May 28, 2008 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

You are turning into your mother! That sounds like a post someone would have written about her!

May 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM  

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