Last Saturday I took Sammy to Nest (http://www.nestphilly.com/), an indoor playhouse because Chris was working in the morning. The grandparents, my in-laws, met us there. Usually Chris takes Sammy to Nest on the weekend and I take him either Mon or Fri when he’s out of daycare. This was my first time on a Saturday and I’m pretty sure I’m not going again. When we arrived there were a million, ok - a dozen or so strollers in the stroller park area. That was enough to make me want to leave. We arrived at noon when the crowd is usually heading home for lunch and naps. I expected the place to be pretty empty, say no more than five or six families in the downstairs play area. Turns out there was a cooking class going on upstairs for the 4+ year olds. We get our coats off and head downstairs where I can see an unexpected crowd of parents and children. Sammy’s excited because he loves the place. We get our shoes off and head into the play area. I felt like I had to dodge crawling/newly walking kids as well as all the dads who thought it appropriate to lie on the floor and let their kids play on them. Fifteen minutes in the grandparents arrive - yay! Grandmom Carol pops off her shoes and joins us in the play area where Sammy is having a great time sliding, playing with blocks, running around, and mainly sliding ☺ Still, I’m silently (probably not) praying for Chris to get there so I can get out of the mosh pit of kids. Finally he arrives - yay - and I take my leave to drink some coffee. Unfortunately, my little “break” is short lived as Sammy is calling for me. Back into the fray I go. Because I love Sammy to pieces and he’s having such a good time, I suck it up and put on a happy face. That is until the cooking class upstairs lets out and many of the older kids come downstairs, completely running amok, and changing the energy of the play area. The space is really for younger kids and not for six year olds who are too big for the tree house, which houses the slide, and for the toys and books geared towards the younger kids. At least you can sort of reason with them when they start getting out of hand on the slide, trying to cut in front of the little kids. However, there was a set of brothers, probably 3-5 years of age, who were animals and their parents didn’t seem to care. In fact the dad was encouraging their wild ways. One of the problems with these kids was the slide. It didn’t matter who was ready to slide down, they pushed past them to go first or they didn’t wait for the last person to move out of the way before barreling down. Chris had to grab Sammy out of the way because the older of the two boys almost plowed into feet first. Sam is only 20 months old and doesn’t understand that you have to get out of the way once you hit the bottom of the slide. It’s something we’re working on but older kids should know it’s not right to plow someone down, especially a little kid and particularly when the little kid’s parent is telling them to wait for the all clear. So these two bruisers just kept pushing past people at the top and plowing folks at the bottom if they weren’t fast enough. Several times I had to restrain the youngest boy (3 or 4 y.o.) so that Sammy could go down safely, without being pushed, and retrieved by Chris at the bottom. Meanwhile, the parents are there, cheesing it up and not paying attention to what their kids were doing. At one point Sammy was playing elsewhere and when we came back to the slide another parent, a dad, was looking furious as he was carrying his toddler away. He found his wife and was relaying to her that one of the bruiser must have bumped, pushed, plowed into, or somehow injured their little guy who was crying his head off. I think the wife either kept him from talking to the bruiser’s dad, or they didn’t know which one was the dad. The other problem with the bruisers was, they were throwers. Something else the dad encouraged and was a part of.
There was another kid, Ezra (4 or 5 y.o.) who was also unpleasant. He was standing inside the tree house on one of the landings that heads to the slide with a wooden tool box. Every time Sammy was headed to the top of the slide, Ezra thought Sam wanted the tool box and would scream mine. I thought he was a little too old for this but hey I’m not his mother who was nine months pregnant and not able to control Ezra. Although, it seems that she probably didn’t have much control over him prior to the pregnancy. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ezra kept swinging the tool box around, in a small space, with small children around. I was so happy when Sammy was tired enough for us to leave.
Long story short, I generally don’t like other people’s kids when it comes to crowd/group situations. I think it’s because I feel that some parents feel it’s ok to let their kids run wild because they are in a child safe environment. I’m pretty much ok meeting kids on a one-to-one basis, but that’s no guarantee I’m going to like them. This is something I’m going to have to work on as Sammy gets older and starts making friends on his own. Thankfully, I have a little time to work on my game face ☺