Ok, I don't like to have stuff that's too heavy up for long. And I don't get to blog very often. So, I'm just going to tell a story or two that doesn't mean anything, but hopefully will be entertaining.
Story one: As you may know, Pete and I have entered a new living arrangement that doesn't really allow for financial freedom. What you may not know, is that Pete and I often role-play in the bedroom. When one or the other of us is having a bad day, Pete will often send me out to the local exotic clothing store to pick out an outfit or toy. Sometimes, he sees an outfit or toy on the Internet, and buys it, hoping I will be up for wearing it on the day it arrives. There are a few in my closet I still haven't worn.
So the other day when he told me that he bought me a present, I was surprised. I couldn't imagine what he thought we could afford, or when he thought I would be able to put it to any use since we now live with his parents. I don't usually try to guess about surprises or gifts. You'll never find me under the Christmas tree shaking boxes. I do, however like to what day it will arrive. So I said,
"How soon will it arrive?"
"I don't know. I'm not sure we'll even get it. The website seemed a little shady."
"It's not what you think. It's just that I can't imagine that this product would have a whole website dedicated to just it."
"Is it toe socks*? Because I could totally imagine a whole website dedicated to toe socks. different lengths, colors, themes, specialties like having a name or phrase embroidered on..."
"What would make you say toe socks?"
"I don't know, I was just thinking of things that might be silly to dedicate a website to."
"Why? Is it..."
"It's freaking TOE SOCKS! How could you guess toe socks? Did you read my email?"
That was when he started to get mad. I'm thrilled. I know that winter in Florida is kind of mild, but toe socks would be just the thing to keep me warm. I still don't know how I guessed, and neither does he. I don't check his email, I don't remember the password to our bank account, and he didn't tell anyone that he had bought them. I guess we're just actually perfect for each other, reading each other's minds and all.
*toe socks are socks that fit like gloves encasing each toe.
Story Two: So, I spent my life from the age of 12 to 27 living in South Jersey. For those of you not familiar with that area, it's in New Jersey, and it starts when you think of Philadelphia as the closest City, rather than New York. I moved around a lot, but the culture doesn't change too drastically from town to town. We're all trying to be Philly folk. A lot of boisterous attitude, a desire to "take care of our own, first," and no problems making our opinions known.
The other day, I was at a park with my two kids. Valentino, my 1 year old, mostly stays near me at the toddler jungle gym, climbing the steps, and falling down the slide. Lucian, the 3 year old, on the other hand, runs all over the park making friends, begging for food, and trying to join in everybody's fun. Often the other mom's at the park remember me from the week before as the mom standing atop the jungle gym yelling across the park at Lucian. It often sounds like this,
"LUCIAN! NO YOU CANNOT RIDE THAT BOYS BIKE! PLAY ON THE SLIDES!"
"LUCIAN! LEAVE THOSE PEOPLE ALONE! I HAVE SNACKS FOR YOU IN THE STROLLER!"
"LUCIAN! TAKE TURNS!"
I'm not proud. I'm not ashamed, either. It's just who I am.
So this time, I'm doing my normal routine, and in runs a little brown curly haired boy. He's cute, and out of breath, and I can't help but talk to the other kids on the playground. I also encourage Lucian to do the same. So I say something or other to the boy, when Lucian cuts in; "Excuse me boy, but my name's Lucian. What's yours?"
The boy says nothing, makes his hands like Spiderman about to sling some web, and makes a "FSSSSTT" sound, and runs away. I smile at Lucian, and said, "He must be Spiderman, why don't you go tell him you're Superman." And off my child runs.
Now, I had brought cups of water for the boys, and since Val's been sick, I was careful of his cup and whose little hands it might be in. In walks Spiderman, who grabs Val's cup, and his mother is... elsewhere.
Me: "Oh, no,no,no we don't share cups."
Spiderman: *Throws sippy cup at me* "Fucking Bitch!" *runs away*
Spiderman's Mom: *walks over* "No, no. We don't throw things." "..." "Oh, we don't say those things, either." *walks away*
I was flabbergasted! I was speechless! I was unable to comprehend what had happened, or my role in it. I went back to playing with Val.
The longer I played, the more I was getting angrier and angrier. How dare this punk kid say something like that to me! What kind of mother would just calmly wave that behaviour off? Why didn't she at least apologize to me that her kid just cussed me out?
Eventually, the boy was on the swings. These swings are the Special Needs swings. They're made for kids who have CP or some other condition that would make it difficult for them to ride the regular swings. But when there are no special needs children about, they are the kids' favorite swings, because they're different, you understand? Lucian sees the boy and asks if he can ride the swings with Spiderman.
I told him no. I told him in front of the boy's mother that because he used words that in our family only grown-ups use, I didn't think it was appropriate for him to play with him. (Yes, I use big words with my son. He seems to understand them) I told him he could take a turn on the swings when the boy was done. When it finally was his turn on the swings, Valentino joined us and as I pushed both of my boys on swings, I told Lucian to not play with Spiderman, and that if Spiderman said or did anything that made him feel uncomfortable, he should hit him as hard as he can. I don't know if you agree with what I told my child. But the fact of the matter is, my boy is kinda... um... weak. He melts down if a kid doesn't want to play with him, or says something mean to him. And I don't want him to be that way. I also don't want him to grow up to be a bully, but he should feel he has a right to defend himself if someone makes him feel uncomfortable.
Of course, I would rather it didn't come to that at all, so I steered my children over to play with a set of twins that we sort of know from play groups and playgrounds. I was enjoying the type of conversation you have with a stranger you have only one thing in common with. Polite, with some humor, and some comiserating. I look up to check on the kids, and Spiderman has filled his mouth with water from the drinking fountain and is spitting on the twins. The twins start to melt down because they were told to play carefully as they were going to Grandma's afterwards, and Mommy didn't want them to be a mess.
And Spiderman's mom?
Is sitting quietly off to one side, and practically whispering, "...that's not nice..."
I had had it. I don't have a long fuse. I marched over to that woman and told her that I felt it was time she take her kid elsewhere. At this point I think I should tell you, this woman, and her son were brown. I don't know what shade of brown. I wouldn't be able to guess at whether hispanic, or middle-eastern, or some other cukture I'm unaware of. I hadn't spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, and it was irrelevant to me until the next thing she said to me*:
"No. No. This is a free country, and my people have been discriminated against long enough. I have a right to be here, and so does my son."
"What? Yes it's a free country, yes you have a right to be here, but I have a right to have a place where my kids can play without fear of being bullied by other kids! I think, after seeing his behaviour that yor kid maybe needs a time out. Tell him that if he can't play nice, he isn't going to be able to find kids to play with!"
"Well, he needs time to run it out and get his energy out."
"Maybe. But not at the expense of my kids' safety. You should know that I told my son that if your son makes him uncomfortable, he should hit him as hard as he can."
"Good. I hope he does. He needs to learn he cannot treat people that way. Hopefully your son straightens him out. (I just gave her a blank look of surprise) You can hit him too. He deserves it. He needs it."
"What?! I would never hit someone else's child! I'll tell you what, though. Your kid does anything to me or my kids, I'll march over here and punch you in the eye! I can't even believe that you would suggest to someone that they should hit your child! Maybe, instead of hitting, a simple time out. Something more than a weak 'No, no,' is in order here. Surely you see that?"
*These are not verbatim, it has been too many days for me to remember the actual words said, and in fact somewhere in here I did say something about it not being right that her kid be allowed to "terrorize the other children at the park."
While I was doing all this, her kid was sneaking up on my one year old. Just as I was about to give her discipline tactics from my parenting classes, he pushed Val off a ledge and into the mulch. I can't say how high the ledge is, but it's marginally higher than a curb on the street. I ran to pick up my crying baby, and contimplated how well I'd do in a fight with a baby in my arms, but decided it was time to leave.
As I walked out of the park, calmly telling Lucian that no, we were not leaving because of the "bad Spiderman," but because Valentino needed a nap, the other mom's in the park were saying, "Shame on you, calling that woman a terrorist."
Spiderman and his mother hurt my sense of decency, because I could never imagine letting my kids get away with that kind of poor behaviour, nor would I feel comfortable in public if they did. The other mom's who assumed I was upset at the mom because she was brown hurt my pride. I know that as a Republican, many people view me as a close-minded, puritan, conformist who wants to rid the world of the not-white people. But it's not true. On most, if not all, social issues, I fall pretty far left. And I have never been labeled a racist or a biggot (well, one time when I was 12, but it was a misunderstanding). Honestly, I think those other moms were the biggots to assume that it was her skin color that was the problem. Or that simply because of her skin color she was incapable of raising her son to be a decent person. I'm still distressed about that. It bothers me when I run into people like that. I feel like I'm living in times before Civil Rights, when people thought, and said aloud that they felt sorry for the blacks because they were too stupid to find real jobs.
It's just crazy. And, as always, feel free to tell me I'm dead wrong. Tell me I shouldn't yell at other moms about how their children behave, or that by using the word "terrorize" I'm making this world worse, or whatever. I never said I'm perfect.
P.S. I wrote this post for like 3 days, so if it sucks, I blame my famdamnily for asking me to eat meals, sleep, and go play.