The other day we were on a bike ride and we made a play stop at a park. You know it's hard work getting pulled in a bike carrier! Matthew gets out of the carrier and makes a run for the playground. Where could he be running? The slide? The monkey bars? Nope...he runs up to a mom who's watching her child at the top of the playground. She's holding a bucket of sand toys. Did I mention that sand toys would probably make "the list"?
He grabs for a blue shovel and takes it out of the bucket. The woman's reaction was to snatch the shovel out of his hand. At that point I was able to catch up to him and give the "that doesn't belong to us...we can't take things that don't belong to us" speech and redirect him to a different part of the playground.
But the attraction was pretty strong and he made at least two more unsuccessful attempts to get one of the shovels. The woman never yelled at him, but she acted more like another child would act than a mom. She wouldn't look at him or talk to him. At the park I directed my words and attention to Matthew, but now I have a few words for that other Mom.
To Snarky Woman at the Park:
1. Just so you know...I don't teach or allow my son to take things that don't belong to him. It's something we are working on and going to the park gives us opportunities to do exactly that.
2. I don't expect you to let him take it, but could you talk to him, rather than grab it back out of his hands? You can say no to him, but in a respectful way.
3. By acting like he was the most bothersome thing at the park you might have possibly created a cycle. I believe he could sense your disdain and that made him want the shovel even more. We all know instances of dogs or cats who will choose (out of a whole room full of people) the one "non-dog" person. Humans can have that instinct too.
4. Lighten up. It's a toy shovel. Not your phone. Not your car keys. Not your purse. A toy shovel.
5. Since I don't know you, I am going to assume you were just having a bad day. If not, I feel sorry for your daughter who will learn from your actions.
For every bad egg, there's a million good ones. So...
To the Husband of Snarky Woman:
1. Thank you for being embarrassed by your wife's actions.
2. Thank you for offering to let Matthew play with the toys. He's used to our local pool's sand area where there are tons of buckets and toys that everyone shares.
3. Thanks for asking how to sign "You're welcome" when we signed "Thank you".
As soon as this man offered his kindness, it started to sprinkle...literally like two drops. But that was enough for this woman to say, "Let's go." I'm guessing they had an interesting conversation on the way home!