I recently purchased a Groupon voucher for Alfresco Restaurant in Muldersdrift. While this post is not about that actual experience, I will say that I was not happy with this deal. The food and service left a lot to be desired, and the voucher itself was misleading. I understand this is the risk one takes when buying these vouchers, but I’ve never been as disappointed with a deal as I was with this one. Suffice to say, we will not be visiting this place again. Voucher or not.
But yes, we went to this place for lunch on Saturday.
The kids immediately bolted off to the play area as they always do. It’s the same scenario wherever we go: they rip off their socks and shoes, yell their drinks order to me (usually 2 cream sodas or a bubblegum milkshake for her and a Bar One milkshake for him) as they dash off to play. I usually grab them back by their collars to make sure they know exactly where we are sitting and to make sure they are cognisant of their surroundings and remind them for the 1879th time to be careful, play nicely, don’t talk to strangers and yell if someone does something to make you feel uncomfortable… much eye rolling from the husband at this point.
We were sitting at a table quite close to the play area and I could see them perfectly. They moved over to a jungle gym where three other kids were playing, and I clearly heard this little
horrid selfish naughty brat girl and presumably her brother say to my two that they must “go from here” and “go play somewhere else.” The third child didn’t say anything but didn’t object either. They were between the ages of 4 – 6 possibly.
Liam and Hannah were shell shocked and ran back to our table. I felt the heat rise at the back of my neck when I saw the tears in Liam’s eyes. This kid. He is such a softy. Hannah was like “THOSE KIDS SAID WE CAN’T PLAY THERE MAMA, WHY?”
I put on my best pursed lipped fake smile and said to both of them that they could play ANYWHERE they wanted to. I said to Liam that if anyone told him he couldn’t play ANYWHERE he wanted to play, he was to tell them that THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY AND I CAN PLAY ANYWHERE I PLEASE AND IF YOU DARE SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN, YOU WILL FORCE ME TO USE MY KARATE MOVES ON YOU.
No, I didn’t say that.
I told them very nicely that they could play wherever they liked. I said that if anyone gave them any trouble, they should first tell them that they could play anywhere they so wished and if that kid was still troublesome to come and CALL me and I would talk VERY nicely to that kid.
Of course Liam did not want to go and play anywhere near those kids again. But my Hannah… bold, brave Hannah. She just makes me laugh! She went back to play, and forced Liam to go with her. I could hear this kid getting all lippy again, and much to my husband’s annoyance, I got up and walked casually over there and proceeded to give all the kids, including my own two, a lecture on playing nicely together and sharing all the equipment. Note, these children’s parents were all within earshot the WHOLE time and not ONE of those adults got up to do anything. My speech promptly shut those horrid children up, and the main instigator sulked off back to their table.
I was so MAD. Firstly at those kids. And I am not an idiot, I know children can be naaaaasty, I know they can be ruthless in their likes and dislikes and they have absolutely no filter, I get that. But the part that I don’t get… aren’t all parents trying to raise their kids to be good? Aren’t all parents trying to make sure their kids are at least civil and if you physically see your kid being mean, don’t you step in? It blows my mind that you would allow your kid to be mean to another child. Had the tables been turned and it was my kid behaving like that, I would have dealt with my kid right there and then. Yes I am one of those mothers who WILL embarrass you in public if you are ugly to someone else or if you behave in an offensive manner. I know all about playground politics and my husband and I have VERY different views on how to deal with it. My husband encourages our children to fight back, to stand up for yourself. While I promote standing up for yourself, I absolutely do not believe in fighting back, I believe you run and tell the nearest adult PRONTO. Husband believes that this opens your child up to being bullied when he/she is constantly running to Teacher with complaints about the other kids. I am of the believe that encouraging fighting is NEVER the answer. (Although I won’t lie, I’m not paying for karate classes just for the cute uniform if you get what I’m saying.) I’ve always said no hitting, punching, biting, no NOTHING, basically you don’t touch another person unless you’re hugging them. But I also don’t want my kid to be the playground push over. While Liam has a lot of “mouth,” he is really a big softy and this worries me as he ventures out into Big School next year. I won’t be there to defend him, both of them in fact. I won’t be there to go all-ghetto on those bratty kids. And I won’t be there to tell them what to do. I witnessed first hand this weekend what Liam would do, he would walk away and have a cry! And that BREAKS my heart! We chatted about it on the way home and both Dad and I encouraged them to stand up for themselves if they know someone is being nasty, but what else can one do?
How would you handle this situation? How are you gearing your kids up for playground politics?