Earlier this week, I took the kids to one of the outdoor play areas in town. The kind with AstroTurf and big fake animals and tunnels and stuff. I normally stay far, far away from those things because they just look like they’re crawling with poop and snot viruses. I swear the one at our mall has brown squiggly lines floating up in the air above it, indicating there’s a large quantity of smelly things in the vicinity. The one I took the kids to never seems to be overrun with 8,000 kids at one time, especially on a weekday morning, so I figured it was a safer option.
Now Maddie’s still two, but she’s massive. Everyone thinks she’s at least 4, so a lot of times other kids will expect her to understand them and go along with what they’re doing. She usually just stands there with a smile and says something like, “I have Tinkerbell panties!” and then chases herself in a circle. The older kids will pick up on the fact that she’s not quite on their level and leave her to play by themselves. I feel bad for her, but she’ll understand sooner or later that you can’t just start talking about your panties the first time you meet someone. A girl can ruin her reputation that way, amirite ladies?
Sometimes kids leave Maddie out and sometimes they get along like long lost friends, bonding over sand or a rock. Interesting stuff. This particular day, she made friends with a group of four year old girls. They were all so sweet, it was killing me. One of the girls came up to me, told me her name and that her favorite Jamba Juice flavor is Mango-A-Go-Go. She kept coming over to check on Jack while I was holding him, making sure he wasn’t too cold. The other girls showed me their bracelets and told me what they were going to dress up as for Halloween. Such delightful kids. Their moms weren’t quite as charming though.
From across the ‘field’, the three moms were sitting on a bench. I’m not trying to gossip or be ugly here, but the best way to describe them would be pageant mom types. That’s a legit descriptor, right? Bedazzled, poufed, sprayed, lip-lined, all in a nice little tan package. While their daughters were playing with Maddie and talking to me, they were engrossed in their conversation and ignored the kids, except to scream, “I TOLD YOU TO STOP RUNNING!” every few minutes. Mango-A-Go-Go’s mom scolded her for talking to me (a stranger, which is good), but she gave me a dirty look like I was doing something wrong. I wasn’t being overly chatty with the girl because I didn’t want to give the mom any reason to worry or be weirded out (I’m very aware of those kinds of things) but good Lord, I was just answering her questions. I wasn’t prompting anything, the girl was just friendly. I really didn’t like feeling as if I was a scary stranger, especially when the moms weren’t paying them attention except to yell. I felt bad for the girls, that’s all!
When they were ready to leave, the moms stood up and turned their backs to me and walked off. I told Maddie to say goodbye to the girls and they waved as they left. They were kind in spite of their weirdo socially retarded moms.
This is just one example, but I find myself in these types of situations a lot. I smile at strangers and am ignored. I say “excuse me” when it’s someone else’s fault and get ignored. I try to strike up a conversation with the mother of Maddie’s new playmate at the park and don’t get any response. I know, poor me, boohoo, but REALLY? Why are moms so freaking rude?? Aren’t you supposed to be teaching your kids how to behave in society? I get that people have bad days and maybe I’m just too quiet for anyone to hear me when I say hello, but regardless of the reason you’re acting like a snot, your kids are watching you CONSTANTLY and pick up on every little thing. That’s a scary thought.
I’ll continue to strike up conversations with other moms at the park because sometimes you find a gem. There are just as many nice, polite moms as there are rude ones and I have so much appreciation for them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s sick of the high school dynamic. We’re adults, let’s be nice to one another. If our three year olds can figure it out, shouldn’t we be able to as well?