This weeked was packed with family time with DD’s peeps. Saturday was his nephew’s first communion with a little league baseball game thrown in for good measure. Sunday was his aunt’s birthday complete with a bbq and several rounds of Catchphrase.
Something that has me pretty excited these days is the progress I’m making with DD’s two nephews and niece (Ages 8, 6, and 2 respectively). As an only child, I don’t have a lot of experience with kids. This makes me rather afraid to have kids of my own someday. I seriously have no idea how to interact with them. Seriously, I use big words and they look at me like I’m a crazy person. As a result, I’ve spent the majority of the past 2 years staying on the outskirts of playtime.
The tides seem to be changing, though. Over the past month or so, his niece has started to recognize me and even remembers my name. Before, she barely acknowledged me. Usually, his nephews are so wrapped up in their cousins and other little people running around at family events that they don’t even say hi. This weekend further solidified our progress because for the majority of it, it was just the immediate family.
On one such occasion, we all took a little walk to the park. DD’s cousin and her fiancee joined us and the three kids. His niece seemed particuarly drawn to me — wanting me to hold her instead of DD, wanting to swing with me, wanting to go down the slide with me, etc. etc.
It’s been years since I’ve been to the park with a child. As we walked up, I was hopeful that we’d have an enjoyable time sliding and swinging and climbing, and maybe even meet a new friend or two.
Boy was I wrong.
The park was packed with kids due to a birthday party nearby. DD’s niece (we’ll call her V) immediately climbed up the steps to go down the slide and his cousin and I followed her. At the top of the platform was a little girl, probably about his niece’s age. I thought to myself “oh, isn’t this nice, maybe a little playmate.”
No. Instead of being friendly, the little girl just kept butting in line. In fact, there was one time when I was standing right behind V so that I could grab her and go down the slide with her on my lap. Instead, the other little girl crammed herself between the two of us and V was so excited to go down the slide that she flew down before I could grab her. Luckily it was the little slide, so she didn’t have far to go and landed safely on her bum in the dirt. Still, I was annoyed.
After that, the little girl continued to follow us around, which really wasn’t a problem, except she didn’t say a word to us (not even a baby-sized word), and I never saw her parent. For a child that age, it bothered me that she seemed unsupervised.
Then, when V and I had graduated to the big slide, we were getting ready to go down (this time with her firmly on my lap), and some boy about 5 or so was sitting at the top of the slide. Not coming, not going, just sitting. I asked him if he was going to go down the slide and he said he was waiting for someone. He called another little girl’s name and she proceeded to take no less than 5 minutes to get up to the slide. While V and I just stood there. I asked him if we could go while he waited and he stood there, firmly planted in his spot at the top.
If I wasn’t a mature adult, it’s possible I would have socked the kid for being a slide hog.
While I had these two rather negative encounters with our fellow playmates, I didn’t think anything of it. Figured I was just uptight or something and didn’t understand playground politics. But then we joined back up with DD and the boys, who had been off to the side doing something else. As we walked home we talked about the park and DD’s cousin and her fiance made a comment that the kids at the playground didn’t seem very friendly and some were even down right rude.
It was then that I realized I wasn’t uptight, that those kids were losers. I totally should have told V to hit the slide hog.