Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Why do parents take their kids to places specifically designed for kids to enjoy and then not allow their kids to direct what happens there? Now forgive me, for I am a relatively recent mom, but I am judging parents of children very close in age to mine, so I feel justified. Just hear me out. I am a parent who believes strongly in child driven outings. Sure, I pick the place we go to and hopefully it's safe, easy to herd triplets around and entertaining to us all, but once we're there? If they're not happy, we move on, if they are content, there we stay. This is admittedly difficult with three completely different personalities but so far it's working.

Last week we went to a local children's museum. I brought along the usual diaper bag with all the back ups, including a change of clothes for each kid. I knew that outside the area we were planning on hanging out at had a 'stream' of sorts for the kids to play in. Being an intelligent human being, I could predict that there was a chance we'd end up in said stream. Water and toddlers necessarily means wet kids. Wouldn't you think?

But in the 20 minutes we spent playing in the stream I heard two different parental units admonishing their kids not to splash. You heard me, two unrelated toddlers, a boy and a girl, were expected to play in a stream so carefully as to not wet their clothing. Wait, you bring your very young child with very little self control to a child centered facility with a stream designed so perfectly that it is at their height and has toys for them to use swimming around in it and swirls and swishes around curves and bumps and you want them to play in the water without splashing? Are you missing brain cells? Why did you bring them to the stream where children splash if you didn't want them to splash? Did you forget the spare clothing? Are they going to melt if they get water on their clothes? What is the point people???

As for the schedule driven parents, I suspect they are behind the nature of the gym class I took my triplets to two weeks ago on a test run. Once class began we were given bells to ring to sing a song, 2 minutes later at the end of the song we were to rip these same shiny, never seen before, silvery, jingly bells out of our toddler's fingers and move on to walking around in a circle.Okay. Then we were to run in a circle and then we moved on to somersaults, and then it was time for the parachute and then it was time for on top of the parachute and then it was time for around the parachute and then it was time for the balls and then it was time to give the balls back, and then it was time for the balance beam.....well you get the idea, right? How fun is it for a toddler to get a ball and then have to give it back 2 minutes later? How fun is it to have a parachute come out but only be allowed to run in a circle around it for 2 minutes, then get under it for 2 minutes and then get on top of it for 2 minutes. Come on people! Let's relax a bit. I know the attention span of toddlers isn't great but they want to keep the ball for a little longer.

And today at the zoo, here's a father in the zoo playground with a daughter no older than 2. Yes, we're at a zoo and usually one goes to the zoo to see the animals, but several of us parents had ended up here at the playground. It's a great option for restless kids who have been strapped to a stroller through the zoo, right? It's our first trip to the zoo but I can tell you my kids liked the playground the best. So what if we paid money to come to a playground, the kids are delighted. So there's this other little girl who wants to swing in the swings for a bit. Dad has been half heartedly helping her play all over the playground for 10 minutes that I've observed but here, apparently, he puts his foot down. No, it's apparently time to see the kangaroos. This girl cries and begs and pleads and he just sits down and reads his paper until she gives up and goes to see the kangaroos. I ask you, what harm would it have done to allow her to swing? Why the rush? Wont the kangaroos be there tomorrow? Have you forgotten for whom you came to the zoo in the first place?

So, parents out there, I ask you to lighten up. Sure, take the kids to special places, plan in advance what you hope to accomplish or avoid there, but go with the flow for goodness' sake. If your kid has more than 10 minutes interest in something, isn't that great? Wasn't the point just to entertain them for x number of minutes anyway? Who cares if they get wet, they're kids! Roll with it, and that's an order.


  1. Yes, us parents tend to forget for whom the adventure is. I think I will start taking them to places I want to go instead, then i won't feel guilty for asking them to act how I want. Sounds, good. Maybe a trip to DSW for shoes should be on the agenda for tomorrow:) Kidding! We'll wait till Sunday when Hubby is at work!

  2. I couldn't agree with you more! And to be honest, I wish there were more places we could take our children to in order for them to just be children (if that makes sense LOL).