The playground is an interesting mix of social dynamics and relationships. You have the burgeoning manners of the children; you have the adult-child parenting styles; and the parents above it all supervising, chatting and daydreaming. We wander into this new land as an observer and reluctant participant.
I popped E out of his stroller to wander about on his own. He’s still at the wonder what this rock tastes like stage so I have to follow close behind. Pieces of paper and plastic are especially enticing…. E spotted a plastic cheese stick wrapper and went right for it. Seconds after picking it up, a little blonde kid named Dylan probably around 2 comes over to tell E “That’s mine.” Hmmm. OK I tell him if you really want that wrapper take it. It saves me the trouble. The kid takes it from E and then I feel bad. He took that from my son but then I was going to take it anyway. Still, it somehow seems wrong. If anyone is going to take trash from my son it’s me.
So I head over to the stroller to offer E some cheerios. “Here you go. You want some cheerios? You want a snack?” and there’s Dylan again. “Snack! Snack!” I give E his cheerios and then look around for the mooch’s father. I don’t know what all the rules are but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to hand out food to other people’s kids. Finally I spot Dylans’ Dad (DD) talking on his cel phone.
“Dylan come here.”
“Can he have cheerios?” I ask, trying for bemusement with a trace of kids are so darn cute and a whisper of get him away from me.
“He can have one.”
I start to open the container for him and think hmm, I don’t know where his grubby little hands have been so I hand him one. I note that neither DD nor the child say thank you and E runs off, probably spotting a piece of trash on the other side of the playground. No, not trash as it turns but some weird fruit that has fallen across the hedge and E is trying to take a bite. Arrrgh, I don’t know what that is but it’s filthy and covered in dirt and I’m guessing a dietary explosion.
I look back and there’s Dylan rummaging through our diaper bag. He’s found E’s sippy cup and is merrily drinking away. Now, I’m pretty sure I can take my own cup away from another child. There is the crying potential though. Should I cause another’s child to wail? DD is still chattering away on his cel. Given his larcenous, demanding ways, Dylan looks to be the type to throw down a fit…. probably not worth the drama.
So I wait until he finishes and I pack the cup away. I wonder how many other cups Dylan has glommed onto. How many germs are lurking on that tiny mouth. I don’t see any other kids crying but still better to be safe. DD wanders by and I contemplate remarking, you’ve got a little Republican here, demanding things that don’t belong to him, stealing from others and never apologizing. You must be so proud.
Hmm that may cross the line. A quick check of our belongings and Dylan’s hands and we’re off.