We observed all the kids' and parents' interactions and discussed all sorts of stuff. People fascinate me. I absolutely adore seeing the relationships parents have with their kids. One topic was how awesome and neat it is that each and every family, mother and child is different. To each his own!
I cross each bridge as I come to it and I have no method or formula. Every interaction is different. I'm not right. I'm not wrong. I have no answers. I have no advice. I have experiences to share. We all do.
Eventually, my friend left and I cuddled Bodhi and watched Z play.
Then it got weird.
Two Mamas had already corralled their kids, about the same age as Z, from Z and his two rough and older silly friends, a brother and sister. More than once. A few other kids joined in and out of the silliness. Mainly chasing, a little pushing and standing their ground. No one had been hurt. No one was upset. They were being kids.
Sometimes Z seems to be rougher than other kids but sometimes it's the other way around. I say let the kids work it out unless someone is seriously upset or hurt. If I see Z being clearly and unnecessarily rough, especially to smaller kids, I'll say something to him. I try and intuit if he needs me to step in. He's very tough and independent and it takes a lot for him to run to Mama. He's learning boundaries and who wants to be rough and who doesn't.
The Mamas kept looking at me and other parents disapprovingly. They didn't seem to trust their kids to play alone and watched everything like a hawk.
Z played a lot with the brother and sister. They played chase, were being silly and roughhousing but no one was hurt. I let it be. So did the other parents.
They ran off to the side and started throwing mulch while chasing each other and laughing. No one else was in the way or upset. Z looked at me and I shook my head side to side with a "watch it" look. No one got it in the face or eyes. No one cried. Again, I let it be.
The other kids joined in. The ones that aren't allowed to be rough or figure it out on their own. They were intrigued and wanted in on the action! The Mamas freaked out and went to get their kids away from the scene of the crime.
More distressed looks. I felt lost about what to do, but no other parents were concerned. The two upset Mamas were the only ones, well, upset. Let it be.
Eventually, all the kids headed back to the playground and went up to the kids that weren't allowed to play rough. Z and the other kids were highly energized and I saw one Mom get up. The other kids ran off. I got up and began to walk to Z, holding Bodhi to my chest. She was clearly very upset and said something to Z. I didn't hear it.
Z started to push one of the kids and went to throw mulch. It all happened so fast. Wrong kid, Z!
"GET AWAY FROM THOSE KIDS! Don't play with those kids!!" she said to her son.
I said, "I'm sorry. Z please don't be rough. He doesn't want to play like that."
She huffed, "My kid isn't throwing mulch or being rough."
I replied, "I understand. He's learning. He's three."
Her face was red and she was breathless and angry. "You think I don't know what it's like to have a three year old!!!! He's three!! And he's three!!! I know what it's like to have a three year old!!"
"I'm sorry." I walked away.
The heat had risen up into my throat. That wasn't what I wanted to say. There were so many things I wanted to say. I wanted to tell her she was being a bitch and I think kids should be allowed to figure out the world. And a few other choice things. I held my tongue and composure.
My kids depend on me to be the calm in the storm. I try. I try hard. Actually, I think Yoda has it right, "Do or do not. There is no try."
I sat down and looked around. Other Mamas and Daddies were smiling at me like "Wow, that just happened? Sorry it was you." I glanced over at her to see if she had calmed down. Both Mamas were shooting daggers at me and the parents of the brother and sister through their eyes. She was furious. To her, we were clearly wrong. They were right. Our kids were bad. Their kids were good.
It was just plain weird. The line had been crossed. I decided it was time to go. And let it go.
Ever had an experience like that?
What do you think of roughhousing or letting kids work it out?
Where do you draw the line?