Lesson Learned

A couple weeks ago, Mabel did two awesome things. Three if you count the picture with the macaroni on her head. 1) She started walking and 2) she consolidated her naps to a once -a-day routine. Mostly. This new nap system enabled us to venture out of the house for more than 45 minutes at a time. And since she started walking, I wanted to challenge and inspire her by surrounding her with bigger kids to serve as role models and intimidate her into growing up.

We started going to a playground in DC called Stanton Park. I discovered it by rubber necking on the way home from dropping off the C.F.O. at work. It has a rubberized surface, lots of shade and other kids. Check, check and check. The kids did not seem to be overtly hitting one another or gambling either. It was perfect. This was to become our paradise. Until we get a pool membership and forget all about this hot, boring thug park.

Mowing Mabel

Mowing Mabel

As predicted, Mabel began to walk in public a lot more often. She stared in amazement at the older girls running around with each other, playing tag or some reasonable facsimile. She has taken a special liking to the slide, despite hitting her head almost every expedition. But her favorite thing to do is to play mow the lawn. She takes the one communal toy, which is a little car that you can push, and she leaves the safety of the rubberized surface to go wandering through the grass, generally around the fence perimeter.

Since this is the ONLY communal toy there, this has caused some controversy on a number of occasions. Because she is usually the youngest person able to operate the car/lawnmower, most parents will ask their child to let her play with it. Also because she’s the cutest thing on the planet when she looks at the toy and then at the parent of the other child with a slight question-y whine and a look of concern.

Last week, however, another girl had the toy when Mabel approached her. The other girl was probably a few months older than Mabel, but also wanted to use the car and more importantly, was “there first.” I tried to steer Mabel away. Look Bunny, the slide! But the grass was high that day. And though I’m not sure with what intent she meant this, Mabel shoved the other girl. Well, she kinda tapped her lightly, but it was the most aggression I’d ever seen out of my baby girl. It is my belief that Mabel was just trying to play with the toy, not necessarily that she wanted to teach this girl a lesson about who runs Stanton Park. After all, the girl was just standing there. The toy wasn’t being respected properly. Grass starts growing the minute you cut it.

The girl’s father told his daughter to let Mabel play with the car and thankfully didn’t press charges. In fact, he didn’t even seem upset at the tapping/shoving. I apologized and didn’t really want to allow this to happen, since what we’ve essentially taught my daughter in her first real confrontation with a child she doesn’t know is that if you shove somebody, you can get your way.

These are just the lessons you learn in Thug Park.

8 thoughts on “Lesson Learned

  1. I am constantly telling our little one to pick on someone his own size at the park. The thing is, this is normally when he’s going after someone twice his size. He’ll learn…

    • Yeah, those kind of problems have a way of working themselves out. He’ll find the proper size people to pick on eventually. And if Australia is anything like DC, he’ll apparently learn that shoving sometimes leads to getting your way. Good luck, Darrell.

  2. That’s nothing. I think parents in general know kids push, and they expect their kids to be pushed around (especially by younger kids), as long as the pusher’s parent is there to do the apology dance. In these two weeks in Israel, I’ve seen a lot of pushing in playgrounds, but when I looked for the parents, all I saw were their “What are you gonna do about it?” faces. Stanton Park sounds like Utopia compared to my last two weeks.

    • So I’m gathering. Since writing this, my daughter has been involved in another 3 altercations, one involving her being pushed to the ground by a boy twice her size (Ed note: He had maybe 5 pounds on Mabel). I’ve noticed it’s just part of the culture. I just don’t want to be the guy who sits idle, shrugging his shoulders while his daughter is playing mob boss. Thankfully, I’ve no trips to Israel on the books for the foreseeable future.

  3. How old is Mabel?
    Maybe, she will surprise you and continue liking lawnmowers when she can take care of your lawn.
    My 6-year-old wanted to push the lawnmower recently while I was mowing. So, I let him but was nervous when he insisted on pushing himself. He actually did a good job but bored quickly.

    • I’m really hoping this translates into a love of yard work. But Mabel is only 13 months old, so I imagine this could only be a phase. Though if she’s actually mowing the lawn, she’s all but guaranteed nobody is going to fight her for it. And our lawn isn’t really the size that will bore anybody.

      Thanks for reading, Larry. And in case you get this, for some reason, the link to your blog isn’t working right now. Not sure what it is. I can get to your about page, but the link to the blog gives an error message. I don’t have a solution. I’ve just making you aware of the problem. Best of luck. 🙂

    • Yeah, but I’m hoping that doesn’t turn into a lesson she picks up on. That’s probably not a helpful thing to learn.

      But yes she is. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *