Playground Politics

I never have any idea what to think of the other parents at the playground. They either hover or completely ignore their kids. I imagine I am just as baffling to them. We went to a new park we’ve never been to this afternoon, and two interactions with other parents struck me as funny.

1. Little boy, Sam’s age, does not want Sam to climb where he is and tries to pull him down. Sam ignores him. There is no danger to either of them, so Will and I just watch. Sam stumbles (not the other boys’ fault, nor would it have mattered if it was) and the other boy’s mom runs over, helps him up, and dusts him off. I laugh because we have never made that much of a fuss over him falling over, but I think it was very kind of her.

2. I shoo Sam away from that same boy’s toys. A new family arrives with trucks and balls galore. Sam runs directly over as I lamely call after him. The little girls grab their toys away as he approaches and their dad orders them to share. I laugh because here we are trying to teach our kids manners and telling them basically the opposite thing. He wants his girls to share, I want my boy to keep his hands off other people’s things.


It was a good playground. Sam did not want to leave. It was a longer walk than our regular playground (maybe half a mile more) but I felt much more at ease there.

6 thoughts on “Playground Politics

  1. chez shoes

    February 14, 2009 at 7:30pm

    I saw you and your cute family walking on 6th today! Sam looked like a happy little ball of energy. I noticed the red hair from a half block away and knew it had to be him :)

  2. Cazzle

    February 15, 2009 at 10:26am

    Awwww! I love the joy on his wee face in that picture. Amanda is right, he really does look a lot like you sometimes!

    Oh, and I too also wonder what other (dog)parents think of me when I’m out with Meg. Interesting.

  3. Anne

    February 15, 2009 at 5:45pm

    I also went to a park a bit farther from our house because I felt more at ease there – knowing the difference, I’m really glad you found one too.

  4. leah

    February 15, 2009 at 10:47pm

    it’s nice to know that i’m not alone in my complete ignorance of playground politics, luke is 7 and i’m still ignorant about it.

  5. Lucretia

    February 17, 2009 at 1:21pm

    This is interesting.

    My friend and I were on a bus today, travelling to London Stanstead airport. A young family got on, with a boy who was a toddler (not sure of his age, he could just say “hi” and “bye”), and a newborn girl. The girl slept on her father’s knee, and the boy was directly in front of us, with his mother. It was a long journey, and she didn’t want to restrict his freedom, but didn’t want him climbing all over the place either. A difficult act to juggle, but she did well and he was a good little boy.

    He spent a lot of his time leaning over the back of the seat looking at us and smiling, and trying to speak to us. For the first few times, we were frozen because of the “don’t speak to strangers” issue, and not wanting to encourage that until we got explicit encouragement from his mother. He even reached his little hand out to grasp mine, and while I didn’t want to push it away, it was so difficult to work out what to do!

    In the end, his mother said to “say hi to the ladies”, and his father said “are you showing off to the girls?” which broke the ice, and we shook hands.

    Not the same situation as yours, but a lot of the time children try to communicate with you and whilst you’d love to, you have to respect the boundaries, and it’s so difficult!

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