Play group politics
Since when did having a play group mean a get-out-of-minding-kids free card? I will be the first to admit that the play group time was more for me than for them. You put the kids in a pile and pop open a bottle of wine and start gossiping.
But it shouldn’t mean the “off duty” sign goes up. Take your kids to the play area at International Plaza in Tampa and you'll see what I mean. Moms gab away as their little ones push a toddler off one of the climbers.
One rainy day, I took my toddler to St. Petersburg’s main library to kill some time. We had just pulled out a pile of puzzles when in marched a play group of about four or five preschoolers and their moms. Sure enough, the moms plopped down at a table and started yakking while their kids ran amok. Soon, I had to decide whether to ignore the 3 year old climbing atop a bookshelf or telling a stranger that she better watch her kids. Instead, in a voice laced with honey, I said, “Sweetie, you might hurt yourself, why don’t you let me help you down?” He wandered back to the group and his mom was oblivious.
Maybe we need a Bill of Rights for playground politics. We've got the Freedom of Assembly down, but the Cruel and Unusual Punishment for fellow players has been overlooked.
Maybe it's the group setting that's the problem. With play dates, you only have one other family to deal with, but that can be whole 'nuther can of worms, like do they have a gun in their home or are they aware of your child's food allergies?
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne