So. Now, it seems my children are a hazard to the heath and welfare of other children at the park. Yes. My children are hooligans. Delinquent, rowdy ruffians. Thugs. Troublemakers.
Yes, I like the thesaurus...what of it?
When we finished school and lunch yesterday, we headed out to a local park for some sunshine and active play. (Yay! Homeschool = 3 hour recess!) The boys brought along the usual accoutrement of boyish weaponry...most notably a cap gun (with a bright orange tip, identifying it as a play gun), and a wooden toy sword with rounded edges.
Digression: I gave up on the idea of no weapons when Derek, at two years old and having never watched television nor seen any type of weapon being used, picked up a stick and started shooting. Making the noises with his mouth...the whole thing. Nature vs. Nurture, indeed.
Continuing on...the guys are playing on the play structure, as pirates or soldiers or something like that - going down the slides, climbing up the slides, climbing down ladders, etc. I noticed that they were calling down the tube slide before going down, just to make sure no one was climbing up. They were waiting for "the littles" to go first. They were just generally being the sweet gentlemen they've always been.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a mother get up and walk up to the playground and call her maybe 5 year old boy over. They came in after us, so she didn't know which kids were mine, or perhaps she wouldn't have spoken SO LOUDLY with her cute Spanish accent. (it was cute. i like accents.)
"Andrew! What are you doing? I told you not to play with those big boys. You have to be careful. They're dangerous."
Uh. Excuse me? Dangerous? Are you kidding me? Did you not see them just help that little toddler girl to her feet and give her back her caterpillar after she stumbled and fell?
I watched her for a few minutes as she followed her son around the playground, glaring at him occasionally and staring at my boys as if they were going to haul off and smack the boy down.
They were calling him "lieutenant" and telling him to fortify the base. Evil children.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I walked up to her.
"Excuse me. Hi, how are you? Those are my boys. Is there some sort of problem?"
"OH, yes. There is. I see him playing with that stick and I don't like for my son to be there with him because it is dangerous. The stick could hurt someone. I don't even know why he's playing with the stick, it's so dangerous. He could come down the slide and stab someone in the heart and THEY COULD DIE you stupid woman with THE STICK."
Okay. I added the last part. But that's what she was thinking. I could hear it.
"Okay. How about if I go ask him to let me have the, uh TOY SWORD THAT IS WOODEN AND ROUNDED AND COMPLETELY SANDED TO A FINE FINISH while they play. Would that make you feel better about them playing with your son?" I mean, sure - I thought it was ridiculous, but I'm willing to make concessions for the peace of the playground...
"Well, yes. Because someone could get stabbed and hurt because it is so dangerous to be playing with that SHARP STICK."
So I walked over to Joshua and asked him to let me have the TOY SWORD THAT IS WOODEN AND ROUNDED AND COMPLETELY SANDED TO A FINE FINISH so that no one would get stabbed through the heart and DIE.
He looked at me as if I were a crazy person and said, "okay." Then he stabbed me through the heart gave me the sword and ran off to play.
Then Derek said, "Do you want my gun, too?"
And he ran off and they played with Andrew, and Andrew's mom continued to stalk them anyway.
After all...they are clearly playground punk mobsters.
(by the way - the mom never offered a "thanks for taking the dangerous sharp stick away from your hoodlum son," nor for that matter, a "hello," in response to mine. She did, however, talk to her friend and pointedly glance in my direction repeatedly. nice...)