Play places as “no-sorry” zones

Play places are a god-send when parents decide to take their little ones out of the house for a few hours to get some interaction with other kids, get some fresh air, or just a little change of scenery. Parks, indoor or outdoor playgrounds, gyms, and other for-children-only play places all provide that much needed location for social interaction, plus the added bonus that you don’t have to clean up after the mess your kids make while they play. No need for the destruction of your own furniture when you can let your kids climb, slide, and jump all over heavy duty “child-proof” play things.

But, here’s the catch. If you spend any amount of time in these play places, surrounded by other kids and their parents, you’ll soon realize that you spend most of your time there apologizing for your kids behavior. Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that you kid isn’t being the bully of the playground, but is it really necessary to have to say “sorry” every time your 2 year old decides that it’s their turn on the slide and jumps in front of the 3 other kids patiently waiting in line?

The whole idea of visiting these places is so your children get some social interaction and start to learn from the things and people around them. Sharing, taking turns, playing nice, not pushing – those are all valid lessons they will *hopefully* pick up on. But why, WHY, do parents feel obligated, or guilted into feeling like their child is constantly doing things that need apologized for?

Yes, my kid probably did steal that toy. And guess what, if I saw it happen then I will use that moment, or another one of my choosing, to teach the lesson about not stealing and instead sharing the toys. But right now, I don’t want to have to turn to the other child’s parent and say “Sorry, he’s still learning about sharing.” “Sorry, she takes a while to go down the slide” “Sorry, we are still learning about taking turns.” Why should we be sorry that our children are learning lessons, learning how to play nice, learning what happens when they don’t? Why should parents have to apologize constantly for kids being kids?

I know what you’re going to say, “What about the kids who are being purposefully mean to other kids and the parents aren’t intervening?” Well, frankly, you chose to bring your kid to a place where that might happen. The way that you teach your children probably isn’t the way someone else teaches their own. That’s life. Instead of passing judgment or expecting that kid’s parents to apologize to the whole playground, why not instead move your kids to another area of the swing-set and move on. If your kid was being the mean one, would you really want to say “sorry” to every parent present? Probably not. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have your 2 hours of playtime and be able to head home feeling like naptime will be a huge success today? Instead of being on-edge the whole 2 hours as you constantly micro-manage your child so that when they forget to wait their turn you are there to apologize for their child-like action?

It should be one of the unwritten rules that these play places are gathering spots for parents and children alike, where there is less judgement, less parent-to-parent guilt. These should be “no-sorry” zones. Let’s let parents off the hook here. Let them watch their children without feeling constantly aware of the judgment of every other parent in a 10 foot radius. Let them and their kids play without the need to apologize for every action. Play without the “sorry” around every corner.

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12 Signs you’ve reached Terrible Toddlerhood

We’ve all been warned: The Terrible Two’s! What they didn’t tell you is that the “terrible” part starts as soon as that little one learns to walk and talk, and doesn’t really end until they’re at least 4…If you ask me the worst is right when they hit about 3 years, they can run faster than you, talk in sentences and therefore tell you exactly why they aren’t going to do what you asked, and they are starting to learn they have their own say in what happens.

Here are 12 tel-tale signs you’ve entered into the Terrible stage of Toddlerhood:

1.  You argue over food. Try convincing a toddler that a graham cracker that has been broken in ½ is the same thing as one that is full-sized. I dare you. Hint: you won’t win.
2.  Everything is a playground. Nothing is off-limits anymore. Not the counter tops, and especially not all those doors you put the baby locks on.  Somehow in the last few months they’ve figured out how to master scaling every chair, how to make those baby locks obsolete, and now they can reach every door handle in the house too.  Start locking the bathroom door…
3.  Costco is your #1 shopping place. Since you are now in need of mass quantities of mac n cheese and fruit snacks.
4.  You’ve forgotten what it feels like to not have a small child attached to your limbs at all times or your toes stepped on constantly. Or hearing the words “up, up, up” on repeat 24/7.
5.  You live inside the Shadow Game. Everything you do or say is repeated over and over and over.
6.  Every time you turn around your kid will have another bruise, and most the time you have no idea where it came from. Running into the table, sure. Falling off their chair, of course!  Refer to #2…
7.  They want to help. With everything. Ev.er.y.thing. Don’t even try to feed the dog without letting them help fill up the bowl or be prepared for an instant tantrum.  Get used to everything taking twice as long…but don’t worry, all those newly learned skills will translate later in their lives, right?
8.  If you have any pens, pencils, crayons, markers in your house, lock them up or forever hold your peace. Your toddler will find anything that makes a mark and apply it to every surface of your home. Maybe just accept that you will be re-painting every wall in your house in the next few years.
9.  They never stop moving. Even in their sleep. If you have a camera monitor you’ll see them literally roll all over their bed, spinning full 360’s over and over all night long.
10.  Say goodbye to adult conversation until after bedtime. Unless you like being constantly interrupted and trying to pick up where you left off for the zillionth time.
11.  You will have to interpret every word they say. Especially in public. If you don’t then every other word out of their mouth will sound like “fuck” or “shit”. Think about it, they don’t have enough enunciation for the T in trUCK, and everything ending with –it will sound like a cuss word.
12.  Most the time you’re not sure if you want to laugh or cry.  When your little munchkin has been so oddly silent for the last 20 minutes and you discover the reason has to do with a permanent marker and, well, anything in your house, for instance.  Laugh at the rediculousness of the circumstances? Or bawl like a baby?