This afternoon I took the kids to the library for a little bit. The library is, of course, next to a very exciting park with a playground and swings and a pond with about a million ducks and geese, so of course it turned into a trip to the park. The weather was nice for once, so I didn't really mind. We started by heading over to the large playground.
There were plenty of kids there, but not so many that it felt crowded. However. There was a group of 4 or 5 boys, around age 11 I'd guess. When we got there, one of them was trying to skateboard down a slide. Two others were perched on top of the tunnel slide, trying to wrestle each other off. Now, I understand very well that boys that age have a lot of adventurous and roughhousing tendancies. Lord knows I will have to holler at Ethan to get off the roof of our house more than once when he's that age. My problem, though, is that they are acting out these tendancies on a playground, surrounded by little kids.
As I've gotten older, I've become more and more likely to speak up if someone is doing something that bothers me--remember this little gem? I tried to exercise self restraint, though, really. First I just glared at the boys for a while. Finally I couldn't take it any more, and I asked the one skateboarding down the slide to please leave the slide for kids who wanted to use it correctly. He nodded and scurried away. In his haste he left his skateboard at the bottom, and came back for it in a minute, avoiding eye contact the entire time. I thought about making a sudden loud noise to see if he'd jump.
Eventually, they all ended up on the swinging bridge, which is the only way to get to the largest slide. I watched Ethan make his way to the bridge--the boy loves a good slide. I took a deep breath and prepared to intervene, but before I had a chance, Ethan bellowed out "MOVE, GUYS!" You should have seen those boys scuttle. That's my boy! A few minutes later, Abby made it to the bridge. By this point the boys knew which kids were mine, so when they saw her coming I heard one of them say, "Quick guys, let this girl through." HA! A triumph.
Fortunately we didn't have to deal with them too much longer. I heard one of them say, "Let's go throw rocks at the ducks!" and they all tore off. It was all I could do not to chase after them screaming. But then I remembered something very important. The ducks at that park are MEAN. Those boys probably got their eyes pecked out.
Hey, turnabout is fair play!