Friday, May 15, 2009

Everyday Life: Lessons from a day at the park

Despite the fact that it poured last night and cloud cover was abundant this morning, a friend, N., and I decided to keep the play date at the park that was set up for our local babywearing group earlier this week. We did this, I think, partly because our boys really like hanging out with each other. But mostly, I suspect, we probably did it because we like hanging out with each other and neither one of us wanted to be couped up inside our homes with our energy-filled boys this afternoon and evening when the rain reappeared. And you so know that play dates are not really totally for the kids, right?! But with that being said, play dates are certainly enhanced when your kids ask for each other by name and then upon seeing each other, hold hands on the their walk to the park. It was heart-melting really. I don't often see kids this young take this much interest in each other.

N.'s little guy entertained us by picking to play on a piece of equipment that spins out of control just by merely sitting on it. He really liked it, but he wasn't as thrilled with the effects of it after he dismounted it. Although, both the mamas laughed pretty hard at his attempts to stand on his new jelly legs.

My toddler, of course, found one of the only two puddles that formed in the entire park.

And he decided to stomp in them. Both boys were soaked by the time we left. Thankfully, N.'s baby girl was a sling baby today, so she was nice and dry. Sorry, no pictures of actual babywearing at the babywearing park date. Um, I know. I stink at taking pictures. You would have especially enjoyed seeing a picture of N. hanging from the monkey bars while wearing her baby girl in a ring sling. Unfortunately, my toddler was engaging in some rock climbing at the same exact moment, so you know, I wanted to get to him before he fell down and cracked his head open.

But it ends up that I couldn't really prevent much injury today after all, and the rock climbing adventure was the least of my worries. As I was wiping a swing dry, my toddler managed to escape my grasp by wiggling away from my free hand, and he walked straight into a little boy who was mid-swing. The swinging boy's mom was busy pushing him and talking on her cell phone, so she was not able to help me avoid the collision. And I could not move fast enough from my squat position to re-grab my toddler and steer him away from the path of the gliding swing that was right next to us. The swing hit my toddler in the head, and it knocked him to the ground. I immediately scooped him up, and N. came running over to see if he was OK. But sadly, she was the only parent of like 20 who expressed concern. He cried for about five minutes before toddling off to play on the see saw with N.'s little guy. He is doing just fine now, too, but it was a little nerve wrecking trying to assess whether he actually had a head injury.

I think what most shocked me about the situation was the lack of care and concern from the mother pushing her son in the swing. She simply hung up the cell phone, took her son from the swing and walked away. If I were in her shoes, I think I would have at least stuck around to make sure the hurt party was OK. What is with parents and their lack of concern for other people's well being? I immediately thought about fellow blogger mama Corinne from The Story of Fynn and Paige and a story she told about her own park collision involving her toddler son and a young speeding bicyclist. Not a single other parent stopped what they were doing in her situation to check on either injured child. That is sad! N. and I both were astonished at the lack of care and concern demonstrated by other parents.

And it dawned on my that when our children see us act in such unconcerned ways, they also pick up this nonchalant type of it's-not-my-problem attitude. And that's the last way I want to act, and it's certainly not how I want my toddler to act. After reading Corinne's story and seeing this lack of empathy and concern today first hand, I definitely want to be sure to model empathy and concern for others so my toddler will hopefully learn that we are supposed to care about other people and not just ourselves.

And that was my lesson from the park.

The toddler's, on the other hand, was not what I had hoped -- he didn't learn to steer clear of swinging swings, rather he walked over to the swing after he felt better and declared "I fell down! Noo, no, no!" Apparently, he thought the swing had been at fault for his injury. We might have to work on this along with demonstrating care and empathy.


  1. I agree with Gabe. Bad swing. No, no nooooo!

  2. I'm sorry i missed the playdate! Jordan was in a foul mood anyway, so it is better I was cautious and stayed home.

    Hopefully we can go next time, or at least make it to a meeting!

  3. There are LOTS of lessons we need to teach the small ones, aren't there? And I'm SO with you on the empathy. I've heard tales of people who want to avoid being sued so leave the scene when something potentially bad happens. I'm very afraid -- VERY -- of what this most recent generation will be like. And not just as people in general, but their work ethic, expectations, etc. Nothing they do is realistic anymore!

    Ok, done venting. Glad you enjoyed your playdate. I got to the park yesterday at 10 and it almost immediately started raining. *sigh*

  4. I've seen some things at parks over the years that really bother me. It does make you wonder about the long term effects on the children. Glad that you all had fun at the play date.

  5. How can any parent be so uncaring towards another child? I don't get it. You're right, kids learn by watching us. How sad.

    Sweet toddler of yours, that swing had it coming!

  6. We really had a good time with you at the park. I was so surprised that that mother didn't check to see if your little man was ok. I'm glad that Gabe was not too badly hurt. THat was pretty scary.
    Grey was sitting here when I opened it up. He was so excited to see the pics of him and Gabe! :)

  7. I totally agree that Cell Phone Mom's behavior was completely callous and detrimental to the social and emotional development of her child as well as yours. But at least she was a stranger and at least it was an accident.

    I've been in organized playgroups (non-BWing!) where there is a child who consistently and purposefully preys on other children. And I can't tell if his mother is utterly unaware of what's going on or if she is just couldn't care less about the well-being of the other children in the playgroup. Sad. And frustrating, too.


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