A few weeks back..
I took the cubs to a new park. It was the start of the really good weather so we walked. I want them to get more exercise so a 4 mile round trip should make bedtime smoother.
On the way they were as good as gold. Proper respect for the road and in good spirits. We make 2 miles in good time.
The park is beautiful. Part manicured lawns, flower beds and an aviary. We take some time to look at the birds.
A lot of public parks now have rudimentary exercise equipment in them; this one is no different. They kind of resemble what you see in gyms but slightly more weather and wear resistant. My two love them, so I sit back and let them burn some more energy.
As is also usual for public spaces, there were some bigger boys and girls around. Too old for parks, but too young for bars; puberty purgatory before adulthood, raging hormones included.
Their language is a little raw so we move off. There are some more traditional apparatus for the cubs.
In a gated area sits some new challenges. A higher climbing frame that will test her, a rope walk and a rope swing onto a cargo net. All good confidence builders.
We get stuck in.
As you’d expect, there are other families around. Kids aged from about 3 to 10 years old. They’re all jolly.
My two hit the rope and cargo net; a queue builds. My eldest helps her brother by passing him the rope. He pauses, then swings into the net. Since I didn’t tell him to let go, he swings back to his starting position.
His sister shows him how its done, passing the rope back before scrambling over the top, commando style. He’s still on the bottom and duly hands the rope to the next waiting kid. She looks about 5, and helicopter mummy is very near by.
She swings with all her might, before my youngest can get clear. She sends him tumbling.
He rolls, gets up, dusts himself down, looks at her then looks at me. I offer some reassuring words.
The little girl looks at her mum: ‘I’M NOT SORRY!’ she shouts to her. I’m a little taken aback. Her mum puts a hand on her shoulder. ‘I’M NOT SORRY!’ she shouts again.
I’m kneeling now, giving my cub the once over. My [not so] poker face looking at mummy, and daddy, who was feet away sitting on a bench, who say nothing.
Not wanting to serve time, I decide that to roundhouse women and brats is not a valid option.
‘I’m alright daddy!‘ he says, before waltzing off to join his rapidly advancing sister, who appeared to be on her way to level the playing field. I intercept her, United Nations style.
The mum glanced back, pathetically, as she took her brat to another apparatus. The brat was still indignant.
As they walked away, my anger turned to pity. I watched with interest the interpersonal relationship between mum, dad and daughter. I surmised that she was an only child. I also made the assumption that they had struggled to conceive and because the physical manifestation of the everyday miracle was now living and breathing, they were so thankful that she could do no wrong. A huge leap I know, but that child ruled both adults.
Kids have accidents; that’s fine and to be expected. The fact that she vocalised her lack of remorse, and did so unapologetically, told me that this was the norm for her. This was how she behaved at home and that behaviour went unchallenged.
You reap what you sow
The pity in this situation is that at some point in this child’s life, she will meet a situation or person that won’t indulge her. If she’s really unlucky, it won’t be until she’s an adult; the universe has a way of doing that. My daughter would have sped that process up if I’d let her but I’m a good parent.
All 3 of them lose in this scenario. If you don’t set boundaries as parents when they’re small, you won’t be able to do it when they’re adolescents and respect will be a mere concept.
So proud of my two.