Thursday, March 26

Differences Make the World . . . Different

You wouldn't even know she's the same kid. A simple little thing like changing teachers was enough to fix that which was broken when it came to Alexis and dance class. She is now a happy little participant who eagerly looks forward to her time in both the dance room and the gymnastics room.

But.

(Of course there is a "but.")

I'm not so sure about this different group of parents.

They're . . . different.

We're talking about drastically different parenting styles. DRASTICALLY. To be honest, I don't much care how people go about bringing up their kids. Do what you want, just so long as it doesn't negatively impact me or someone I care about. It's all good, and I truly believe there are a million and one "right" ways to do just about anything.

But.

There is this little group of moms, three of them, who clearly have a WHOLE other view of the world. Mostly, I get it. They are stay-at-home-moms who take their kids to dance class so that they can get an hour of kid-free chatting. They sit in a corner and talk, never once glancing up at their dancing daughter or son.

I TOTALLY respect that. It's weird (because hello! super cute dance and gymnastics action!), but I understand the need to escape.

But, uh, none of the three of them is a singleton parent. Their other eight kids (combined) run around like maniacs all over the dance building.

Whatever. Doesn't impact me. I'm usually glued to my chair, face practically touching the glass as I watch Alexis learn all about doing curtsies and leaping through the air. I can very easily block out the running and screaming and whatever.

What I can't ignore is the fact that the kids are frequently in a position to hurt themselves.

Yesterday the three-year old little boy (who last week broke his big brother's arm by slamming a car door on him--makes me glad to have a girl) was standing on top of a chair, one foot on the seat, the other foot propped up on the chair back. Rocking. Back and forth. I was sitting about three feet away, so I couldn't help but notice that he was trying to use the chair as a surf board, and that he was REALLY close to falling over and smashing his head on the concrete floor.

His mom never even glanced his way.

Back and forth. Back and forth. He rocked and rocked, very nearly killing himself. Fortunately, he got distracted by something shiny and ran to another part of the room to wreak havoc.

But, what do you do? How do you deal with other people's kids when you know you can't "fix" what is really going on? Do you say something to the kid? To the parent? Or just walk away?

The whole thing makes me miss the good ol' days when I was certain to get my butt kicked by any parent in the neighborhood if I did something stupid.

But then again, nobody ever said to me, "Hey, let's go splash in some puddles."



27 comments:

  1. Sharing a similar philosophy, as of yesterday (at the park) I realized that if it poses a danger to my child, another child or to the child him/herself, then I step in if no parent acts or makes an attempt to act. I've become THAT mom.

    And, yesterday, with great grace and diplomacy (while biting the inside of my cheek) I asked a couple (yes, couple) to kindly keep an eye on their son as he very nearly jumped on an infant as she sat in her carrier (he was doing an Indiana Jones from one slide to another).

    Thankfully, they told him to stop (and then went back to talking, making out, drinking beer . . . I don't know).

    It is a battle that can't be won, you just have to do what you feel is right, know is right . . . for the sake of safety, at least.

    I remember when I was a kid . . . the parents in my neighborhood didn't hold back. And, everyone was OK with that . . .

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  2. Ok, so I don't have kids so people might say I have no right to even comment, BUT... I do have nephews and a niece, and they have their friends, so I'm a "mom-like figure" (or at the very least a grown-up lady figure) to several young children. And, it is well known that Aunt Pam (as known to blood and unrelated alike) Doesn't Mess Around. I'm totally everyone's favorite because I know how to have fun, but I don't hesitate to discipline children. I don't care whose they are. I'm not spanking other people's kids, but I will tell them to knock it off if they are doing something distructive or dangerous. (Ok, sometimes even if it's just being annoying.) If a parent won't step up to the plate and parent, then damnit, I'll take the reigns. There are too many adolescents out there who got away with no discipline, and look where it got them. Bad, bad kids.

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  3. I went through a similar thing when the boy was little with a family that never corrected their kid when he was acting like a little shit.

    One summer there were several instances of us being together at fairs and amusement park and instead of waiting in line, this kid would push to the front (HUGE pet peeve, as you well know). And no one corrected him.

    I didn't want to say anything since his parents/grandparents were right there watching him, but I did (loudly) tell my kid that he was to stay in line, and when he complained that he wanted to ride with DevilBoy, I told him that DevilBoy would have to get back in line or they would not be able to ride together because cutting is bad. Still nothing from the parents. They actually let the kid cut and ride alone.

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  4. I just have to tell you other than my little girls, Miss Alexis is the cutest little person I have every seen!!!

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  5. Oh this is a good one...I tend to be like Laski, up there, if there's imminent danger, I'll speak up. Otherwise, I just make sure my kids are out of the line of fire and use it as an example to them of what is unacceptable behaviour.

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  6. sometimes i say that i don't like other people's kids. really, though, i mostly can't stand other children's parents.

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  7. EXACTLY what Janet said. Other parents OMG. Ya, I usually think I can't stand other people's kids because they're not my kid and I can't punch them in the head for being OMFG obnoxious. Not that I actually would since chances are their mom is bigger than me and would punch me back, but still. My dad never hesitated to yell at other people's kids and was usually thanked by their parents who weren't paying an ounce attention. I think as a collective rank of parents we have a responsibility to protect the collective brood of children from harming themselves or others. If other parents don't appreciate it, well, it's their emergency room bill, not mine. I never want to see a hurt child, no matter how obnoxious the little punk may be.

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  8. She is darling in the rain coat and boots!

    I agree. I struggle with this. I live in a suburban housing development (which has my 25 yr old self screaming and cutting). It is a small development and we walk around enough to sort of know the kids if not the parents. There are kids flipping everywhere. They must out number the total adults 3 to 1. The parents on my street are pretty good about paying attention to what the kids are doing. But around the corner it is like Lord of the Flies. I often see a little boy who is about 3 playing alone outside. No fence, running amok, running in front of cars, etc. I have escorted him home a few times to the annoyance of this mother. There is also a band of kids aging from 6 - 9 running around without a parent in sight (and they belong to no fewer than 3 different sets of parents). It drives me crazy because I worry about them and because they constantly run in front of my car.

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  9. I know exactly what you're talking about, and have no answers. In fact, I need answers for those problems myself.

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  10. That just might be the cutest outfit I have ever seen.

    As a nanny, and person who has worked with enough kids to have a ridiculously high "danger radar", I struggle with this constantly. How much to interfere? There are things I see at my current job that really bother me, but is it my place to change the way things are done in a family just because I am welcomed into their home 2 days a week?

    I'm so glad she is enjoying the new class! Looks like you made the right decision.

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  11. Geez. Way to make me think first thing in the morning! I guess I'm the mom who is ultra over-protective and am constantly loud enough about being safe that the other kids must know I don't mess around.

    But parents who don't watch the cuteness in front of them will live to regret it someday, both those in the class and those surfing on the chair (because for 2.3 seconds I would probably be thinking - I gotta blog about this one! - and then I would tie his bum to the nearest bench!)

    Let us know how it pans out. And Little Alexis is about as sweet as can be jumpin' in puddles! My kids have done this more than once and I love watching the video I took! Ah, memories!

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  12. Long before I had a kid, I noticed that I watched others' kids more carefully than they did. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Anyhow, if someone else's kid was in mortal danger (e.g., of smashing his head open, not just breaking his arm) I would at least try to verbally remove him from danger. If feasible, I'd point out the situation to his mother. If necessary, I'd physically remove him from danger. That'd be a last resort, though, because I know I'd flip out if someone grabbed Red.

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  13. Wow. hum. Very interesting. In the case of the kid rocking on the chair, I would have said something to the kid. Most times kids that don't know me stop and run to mommy because of the whole oohhhh strange lady just disciplined me.(Could be the fact that being disciplined is so foreign to them,they are not used to being told no) If the kid kept on doing what he was doing, and it was dangerous, I'd let the Mom know,"Hey your kid might crack his head open doing what he is doing, just thought you might want to know."

    Those 2 pictures are priceless!!! LOVE them!

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  14. Was he in danger of being hurt, or being killed? If the former, I'd let it be, because obviously the kid is too fearless, and that is NOT a good thing. If the latter, I'd definitely say something.

    Our youngest (now 23) was a thrill-seeker as a little one. It took a sled-ride into a tree and a broken orbital bone to get her to pay some attention. I don't advocate letting your kid sled into a tree! (if nothing else, she could easily have lost the eye.) My point is merely that part of being a kid is getting hurt so that you learn not to. Unfortunately some kids need more teaching than others.

    And, some parents are morons, no question about it.

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  15. I always speak my mind.

    Sometimes it gets me into trouble.

    I would definitely not feel bad about telling kids to 'knock it off.' You want to know why? I also would not stop myself from telling an adult to 'knock it off.' Especially if it is dangerous (physically), or if actions are hurting somebody else (physically or emotionally).

    Blunt and to the point. That's me. Take it or leave it :)

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  16. Everyone's first child walks on water. You document every moment of their life. You swear they are a genius. You even watch them sleep becuase that is an event.

    Then you have a second one, they are smart. Well, maybe I'll just sleep when they sleep. They wear you out. You take a little less pictures.

    THen you have a third one. THey learn every bad habit from the older ones and their friends.You realize your kids are not going to be perfect. You just can't find where in the hell you put that damn camera.

    Fourth one,I can't possibly sit through another dance class. Oh shit, was I supposed to pick him up from dance class? I would have taken your picture kid, but I think number two put the camera in the microwave last week.

    What I'm saying is these parents have seen it all. They probably told that kid 25 times to get off the chair. Some kids will still do it no matter what.

    My cousin has seven boys. I start to have a nervous breakdown within 5 minutes of my visit. THey are all over the place. Nothing phases her, she has seen it all. And all the while I'm chasing them. She's holding one baby while the others are running around like crazy.
    She's not a bad mother. Just knows from experience they do dumb ass shit and don't listen.

    What I'm trying to say is what a mother of one thinks is dangerous. A mother of 4 doesn't.(Other than the obvious)

    Myself. I would have grabbed that kid off the chair and put him on the floor. Usually that will scare them enough to be quiet for a while. That big old mean lady is scarey.

    The comment about a bunch of 6-9 year olds playing outside by themselves.
    Geeze, when do you let them out nowadays. When they are 17?
    My kids used to play outside from the time they got out of bed until the streetlights came on. I would check on them. But they were by themselves. Once in a while you would hear a piercing scream and all the mothers would come running out.
    They all lived to tell the tale.

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  17. Too freaking cute!!!! Those boots make me want to have a girl. You suck.

    About the crazy parents? If I were in ear shot of just the kid, I'd tell him that's not a good idea and get down.

    I'm total passive aggressive/wimpy girl.

    But usually, the kid does stop and runs away from me and the parents haven't heard and I don't have to deal with them. And should the kid go and complain about me and the parents come over, I'd tell them that I just had my coat dry cleaned, and I'm not interested in getting blood spatter on it.

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  18. I'm one of those SAHM people (wink, wink) and I still get so peeved with some of the Moms out there. I'm frequently the one actually PLAYING with my kids at playgroups and finding kids playing in the sink in the bathroom at my house b/c their mom is TOTALLY oblivious and in my living room chatting away about her kid and how bad he is. I also understand "needing a break" don't get me wrong. But if you're gonna have kids then you kinda need to pay attention. OH and if you had a "real" job you wouldn't be slackin' off there I bet, so get it together ladies!

    *exiting soap box*

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  19. My MIL has been known to grab a kid & smack their butt in public [even if she doesn't know them] for doing something stupid. While I don't necessarily agree with that, I get where she's coming from. She surely would have said something to the mother if she were in that identical situation. I would have, too. I hate when parents ignore their kids because they want some of their "own" time.

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  20. Funny that you say this because I totally see where you are coming from. Maybe it is the difference between moms who just have one and moms who have many. I'm not sure.

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  21. This drives me batty! I work part time at my daughters' dance studio and it amazes me the lack of supervision. We have a nice waiting area, but you would think it was a playground. I have no problem with kids playing together - we even have toys out for them. But they run around, through toys, etc. I have been hit in the head on more than one occasion with a flying object and am lucky I've not been hurt. The parents always apologize but then go right back to ignoring their kids. Since I am somewhat liable while they are in the studio, I have often had to scold a child or remind them of the acceptable studio behavior.

    I am mostly a SAHM, so I get the need to have a break and socialize, but not at risk of my child or at other's expense. It is very hard to hear the phone sometimes when these kids are running amok and I know it can be disruptive to other people observing their own kids.

    I am more like you, I like to watch my daughters' when they dance. I've found a way to do this while talking to a few other moms. I also don't let my own kids run around at these places. I bring toys, coloring books, Video games, etc. to keep them occupied.
    I'm also THAT mom and even when I am not working, if I see kids doing something dangerous, I have no problem telling them to behave.

    LOVE the rain puddle pics! Those would also make nice header pictures.

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  22. When I have my two boys with me at the dance studio, I have to keep the little one with me and know what he's doing..but he's not even two so that makes sense. My older son is 8 and there are two other boys that he hangs with. They tend to get rowdy and loud and I try to tell my son five thousand times to settle down and be quiet. If he were doing something dangerous or stupid, I hope that the other moms or dads would say something to him. I don't care who it is, if he's in danger and I'm not right there, he needs to be told or yelled at. I wouldn't get mad at anyone for looking out for his best interest.

    I do find what the one mom above said about multiple children interesting...it's true! While I allow my kids to run around outside by themselves, they know to stay in the yard, not go into the street and not to talk to anyone they don't know. That may be the difference with those kids she was talking about...they run into the street. I would stop my car and yell at them!! You might just be saving their life!

    Love, love, love the pictures! My kids thought I was crazy when I asked them if they wanted to run around in the rain once....then they thought I was just the coolest for doing it!

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  23. I'm the parent that would say something like, "Oh, Buddy, let's hop down! If that topples over, it could hurt you."

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  24. As a parent and grandparent,my philosophy is, If its not broke,dont try to fix it.
    http://babyboomers.myblogshome.com


    want to link sites

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  25. Dude... you're a really good mama. There. I said it.

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  26. I *gasp* couldn't agree with you more!!!! I can't go out in public without running into stupid people who don't watch their kids. The best part is when one of those unsupervised children gets hurt, and then the parents are all about "Look what you did to hurt my kid." I want to walk over and thump them in the forehead a-la the V8 commercials and let them know that if they were more responsible their kid wouldn't have been doing jackassish stuff to hurt him/herself to begin with!

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  27. I have run into similar situations before. When I was a nanny I was pretty much the only nanny out on the playground with the kids. All the other nannies sat around talking. If one of their kids was in a position to hurt one of my kids, themselves, or another kid on the playground I would definitely say something. Sometimes the other nanny actually said thank you, but most of the times they didn't even notice that anything had happened. It is a tough situation, but it is never a bad idea to save a kid from getting hurt or hurting others (no matter what that other parent may think of you or say to you).

    Looks like Alexis is having fun in the rain. I miss those days of having no feeling in my body. Now rain is just cold and wet :)

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