You were looking vexed.
The older lady asking if the two toddlers heading out of the park towards the carpark, clearly annoyed you.
How did I know?
It was the total look of disinterest, lack of reply and eye contact and laid back position on the grass that gave you away.
The grass must have been comfortable because there you remained while the lady stood next to your children, the children she was worried would be hurt, while you half heartedly called out to them to come back.
I cringed when she called out to you. Probably because I know it would have annoyed me too. They had not long scootered out and the most likely outcome was that they would turn around and come back. But I think I mostly cringed because you were so rude. It doesn’t take much, you could have even pretended to be concerned, if you couldn’t muster real concern.
I know why I cringed. As a parent I like to think I know my child’s limitations and boundaries.
Sometimes I wish I could say mind your business of course I know how far they’ll stray from me, when they’ll turn around and come back, how high they can climb and still be safe, whether I can leave them to climb the tower while I push child two on the swings. Stuff like that. And no one (or maybe it’s just me!) likes to be told what to do, so when someone calls your attention to your own children, sometimes you might feel like telling them to *(&^ off. And maybe you felt the same. But for some reason, this time I put myself in the older lady’s shoes.
Older lady watches two children under two head towards a carpark, worries that they will be hit by a car. It’s beyond the level of risk that’s she’s comfortable with. Conversation in her head goes something like this….I don’t want to say anything but if I don’t and they are hit I will never forgive myself and it will be too late the children will be hurt or worse. If I do say something those parents may be annoyed, too bad I can’t risk them being hurt I can’t have that on my conscious and she’s call to the parents.
Dear Mums at the park,
I wonder if next time you could humour her. Smile, look towards her, answer her.
“Yes they’re our kids, thanks for that, they’re okay, they know to come back.”
Lie if you want.
Do it through gritted teeth if you want. Moan about her to your girlfriends the next day if you want. You don’t even have to mean it but to answer her would be nice.
One day that older lady at the park might not bother mentioning there are two under two’s heading towards the carpark and it might just be the one day you wished she had.
Has anyone ever commented on your children and you’d rather they hadn’t? or has someone not commented when you wished they had? I’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments below.