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#1 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How does everyone handle having kids that appear to need attention stick to you at the park (or other places)? This has happened several times and for the most part I don't mind and usually enjoy chatting up the little ones. Also, lots of times they will interact nicely with the baby and that's cute.

However, sometimes I'm just tired and want to do my own thing with DS alone and get outta there . And sometimes I've had kids that are a bit too overbearing and just glom onto us :. For example, there are 2 little girls, ages approx. 4 and 5 ish that seem to be there a lot when we are as well. The second they see us they zoom right next to us and fawn over DS which would be really cute but they overwhelm him. They hover over him, constantly attempt to pick him up, both of them standing in his way, etc. I can clearly see he gets upset and I do gently tell them to give him some space.

Or another time, a little girl talked with me a bit and then proceeded to follow us to every single piece of equipment we went on. Not only follow us but jump on first whenever she saw us headed towards something. I know she just wanted to interact and I did try to include her but it got really annoying because I couldn't get DS on anything!

So how do you all handle it? Are all you MDC moms in a great, loving mood all the time and embrace all these kids and give them all the attention they want ? Am I the big meanie that just gets in an antisocial mood every so often ?

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#2 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 05:16 PM
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We visit the park often and I admit at having the same problem.
Sometimes I just want our space-especially when other childrens parents are completely ignoring their little ones and I have to intercede and play parent to the whole park of kids.
When we want time alone we go really early before there are any crowds.

When other kids are being play hogs at the park and the parents are off in la-la land I try to talk to the other kids and get them to take turns etc.


But, ya know, they're public parks so you just sort of have to find a way to get along or just find another more private space to play.

It IS frustrating for me when we're at parks and other parents just aren't paying attention when their kids are acting badly at the park. They just assume if there's one adult that IS watching-its free leave for them to cop out and go talk on their cell phones. >_<
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#3 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 05:20 PM
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If you can work the naps around it, 1 PM is an excellent time to go to the park if you want it to yourself. I've found almost all parks have a lunch/naptime exodus at about 12:30-1. We bring lunch and picnic and then play in peace.

Of course, there are times when we want to go in the morning, and then I just include the other kids if they seem to need attention. We had a little kid that did this in our apartment complex. He was 7 and very sweet with my son, but he annoyed me to tears, and he would follow us all the way home and try everything to get us to keep playing. I found out that his parents basically ditched him with his elderly grandmother, and that he had some siblings that he never saw. I felt bad for him, so I tried to be as nice as I could stand. Just be gentle, but firm.
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#4 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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You never know what the childs home situation is like and your short interaction with them might just be the highlight of their week. = (
For that reason, I am happy with interact with the other kids whose parents are not involved.

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#5 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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I don't think you're a meany! Sometimes it was overwhelming to me, when my own children were small and needy, to have other children demanding my attention.

I still remember when my oldest was a very busy and daredevilish toddler, so I was following her around and spot-checking her on all the playground equipment -- and this little girl of about 5, whose parents were sitting nearby on the grass, kept telling me, "Hey! You need to watch me, too!"

I could understand that she was wanting the hands-on attention that my toddler was getting, while her own parents were just expecting her to play a bit while they enjoyed a little adult time.

And since having my 2nd dd, I've seen that sometimes their needs can change when they see all the intensive care a younger child gets.

Also, when my oldest was 4 and I was pregnant with my 2nd dd, it took a great deal of my energy just to WALK to the park, and while there I wanted to just sit drink my water and read my magazine. And one time this other child (whose mother I think was sitting in the car) wanted me to get up and come push her on the swing --

And I told her, "I just want to sit right now. My daughter is now old enough to do a lot on her own, and I will soon have a littler one who I'll need to follow around all the time, so now I'm enjoying a little break."

Of course the child looked at me like I was crazy -- but I didn't feel too bad anyhow.

Now that my youngest is 4, I find that I actually enjoy interacting with other people's kids at the park. A while back a bunch were gathering around me to have me help them make clover jewelry, and it was a lot of fun -- the "me" in that moment actually reminded me of the "me" I was before I had kids ...

For so long I've just been interested in my own children, and not really feeling any urge to hold other people's babies or bond with their children.

But now I'm realizing that I actually do still like kids. Even though of course I love my own most of all, I really am a kid-person at heart -- and now that I don't have tiny ones needing so much intense hands-on care, I actually have some "me" to spare.

But as far as how to handled needy kids when you feel full-up caring for your own -- I would just be as kind and honest as possible. And let them know that your son needs space and likes to get the chance to do things on his own. I've had to tell older kids this many times when my own were little -- the older kids feel an urge to be helpful, but sometimes need help learning to respect other's space.

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#6 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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I'm pretty happy to interact with other kids at the park.

Our kids are often friendly with other parents, and anxious to get to know other kids, and I appreciate when the other parents are kind and friendly back to them. I try to notice when they'd rather just play with their own kid, or read their book or whatever, and intervene, but generally, I try and be friendly since that's what I appreciate from others.

As for how the other kids interact with your DS, I'd just try to facilitate a positive interaction between them. There's nothing wrong with pointing out that your DS doesn't want to be picked up, or likes and dislikes being treated in particular ways.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#7 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunchiemomma View Post
You never know what the childs home situation is like and your short interaction with them might just be the highlight of their week. = (
For that reason, I am happy with interact with the other kids whose parents are not involved.
That's a great point and I always have some interaction with them. However, I do have 2 chronic conditions that cause me pain/fatigue. On my *good* days, I don't mind so much but there are days where I'm easily annoyed and don't have much to give. I just wish their parents would/could give them the attention they are craving. I do feel sympathy for the little tykes.

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#8 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I don't think you're a meany! Sometimes it was overwhelming to me, when my own children were small and needy, to have other children demanding my attention.

.
Thank you MM! . I'm really not a meany, just getting old and tired

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#9 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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I would probably say, "_____ needs to have some space right now, why don't you try out the slide for a while." I find that suggesting that they do something really well and that they might like to do it goes over well. "I bet you're great at climbing the monkey bars, let's see all the stuff you can do." Then you can give the occasional glance over so they feel like you're paying attention but they aren't hovering over you.

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#10 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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Children don't pick up on non-verbal cues or subtle hints very well. So, if I've had my limit, I tell them that I need some time to myself. If they're stopping my kid from getting on equipment, I tell them. I'm polite, but very direct.

"Thanks for talking to us girls, but ds wants to play by himself right now. He's getting cranky because there are too many people here. Please go play somewhere else."

"It was nice to talk to you, but I need some time to myself right now. Who brought you to the park? Please go talk to her/him right now."

"Thanks for playing, but my kids would like to play by themselves right now. Maybe we can play again the next time we come to the park."

If you've got a condition that makes it hard for you to be 'on' all the time, tell the kids "I'm tired/my head hurts/I need time to myself."

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#11 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 10:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunchiemomma View Post
You never know what the childs home situation is like and your short interaction with them might just be the highlight of their week. = (
For that reason, I am happy with interact with the other kids whose parents are not involved.
Exactly! I just figure when I go to the park that it is part of the deal.

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#12 of 115 Old 09-13-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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We really struggle with this. It keeps us from going to our favorite park these days, because every time we go some lonely child or another follows us EVERYWHERE and won't stop talking. This particular park seems to attract a lot of kids on their own--sibling groups of 2-4 kids from ages 2-12, with no adult supervision. I feel bad for them, so I am not mean, but both DH and I work FT, so when we get a little park time we don't want to be watching a bunch of 5-10 yo kids while we play with our 2 yo. And our 2 yo doesn't want to play with them either! I don't know what to do about it, except not go to that park anymore, so we don't.

I guess I am just a meanie.

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#13 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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We struggle with this too, especially since I'm very 'hands-on' with my own girls (8, almost 5 and 19 months). We usually end up with at least one or two little ones following us around, wanting to play, asking all kinds of questions, asking for snacks, et cetera.

Usually I'm fine with it, but I do wonder quite often why these kids are in need of so much attention- until I notice their parent(s) off in the background somewhere, not interacting at all

I do try my best to smile and play 'mommy' for a bit, but we also tend to go home earlier than planned so we can re-group when this happens

I wish I could provide more, but these days I'm so out of energy from my own little ones that it's hard to muster up the strength to care for an additional child.

So, in short, I don't think you're meany- you're a tired mama who wants to save her energy, and occasionally relax with her own lovely

ETA: after re-reading this, I wanted to add that some kids are just chatty and like to hangout, as well as some who haven't learned much about boundaries... it's not always that they're being ignored or starving for attention, though I do run into the latter often..

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#14 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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I haven't read the other responses yet. Like you, I generally just enjoy chatting with whoever. If I'm uncomfortable with something they do, or if my kids are uncomfortable, we speak about it directly, giving friendly but firm information about our boundaries, then redirect.

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#15 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 08:31 AM
 
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Honestly, I'm kind of anti-social in public situations. I'm certainly nice to other kids when I am at the park with my DD, but it really does annoy me when the other parents are completely ignoring their kid and the child is asking ME to push them on the swing. That is something that I will not do because I feel like it is inappropriate for me to physically lift a child that isn't mine (especially since I'm pregnant). I never ignore other children and I love it if they want to play with my daughter, but if they are just trying to "show off" to me or keep my attention, I will talk to them for a minute and tell them I have to pay attention to my daughter since she is so little. This is rarely an issue at the smaller parks during the week though - seems to happen a lot at the larger parks on the weekends when the adults want to just hang out and drink! I just want to yell at them and say "hey, i want to sit and drink, too!" We especially notice this with DH...I think it's so sad because these kids obviously want some male attention.
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#16 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 08:40 AM
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I just want to point out that when little ones are at the park alone-
I always ask where their parents are if I don't see them.

PLEASE remember to always do this-even if the child seems fine and happy.

I don't ask when the child is with a group of siblings etc-just when they are alone.

So with real little ones alone, I always ask.
I know some parents are ok with it, but I'm always shocked when I see the age little ones walk to the park alone.
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#17 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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Just a thought from "the other side"--

My DD does this. She is not starved for attention and I am not trying to ignore her. But she is VERY extroverted and LOVES to meet new people. She will ignore ME and my attempts to engage her and seek out other people. Unless I superglue her to my side or constantly struggle with her, she IS going to approach people and talk to them. And I can't see myself making a rule that she isn't ever allowed to talk to anyone, or never going to the park.

Also, it is awkward and weird to struggle with her and make a scene with her over her chatting with an adult. In fact, when I feel she is being too forward/ persistent and have had to work hard to get her away from someone, the adult usually says "Oh no, it's fine--I'm enjoying her" or something--which is even trickier because I can't tell if they mean it or are just being polite.

I do keep an eye on her and try to lead her back or away when I feel like it's been too long an interaction. But...she thrives on this. It is her nature. It's like how some kids are just naturally shy. She's the opposite.

That said, I don't mind at all if an adult kindly sets a limit or tells her to go find me or whatever. But I just don't want people to assume that she is doing this because she is neglected or because I refuse to play with her. We play at home, but if we're at the park, I am chopped liver!

ETA that now that she is older, she is very unlikely to do this if there are kids around who are close to her age. BUT if there aren't any kids there her age, yes, she approaches parents of babies and toddlers.

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#18 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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If I'm not in the mood for it I tell them so. If they're bothering my kids or really getting on my nerves (I hate to say that but it's true) I leave and take my kids somewhere else.

I do want to say, though, that parents aren't neglectful just because a child's just because they're not shadowing them at the playground. I have three little boys to supervise at the playground, plus a baby on my back. It is just not fun for anyone if I make them all stay right together and follow them around, so I stand in the middle and watch or sit on the sidelines if that is more practical. Sometimes I talk to my baby, sometimes I talk to other moms, sometimes I don't. I don't think my kids have ever asked someone to watch them or push them on the swings (save people we know well) but I might not notice if they did. And sometimes I might appear to be totally ignoring my 6yo because he doesn't need anywhere near the supervision that my 2yo needs.
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#19 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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My kid is also one that will interject herself into the play of other kids - even much older kids - at the park. I try to feel out the situation and the parents to see how annoying she's being. I often have to go grab her away from situations she's just too little to be in - like on the huge field at the county park when she wants the boys to play soccer with her - but she's 2 and they're 8-10, she doesn't know the rules and they do, etc. Sometimes the older kids LOVE having her around and are tickled pink by her attention, engage her in their play, modifiy the rules for her, etc. Sometimes they don't and I have to grab her before she gets hurt. She has a lot of trouble understanding why sometimes, some big kids will play with her and other times other bigs kids won't.

There's a family in our complex that is 4 kids under 5. The oldest is - overwhelming to me, to say the least. She's nosy. She wants to constantly touch the 3 year old, the baby and me. She asked immediately upon meeting the baby what type of formula she ate, and when her nap time was. She made sure to tell me baby should be sleeping in a crib. I kept telling her to go play. After about 2 minutes of this kid, i'm ready to LEAVE the playground. We have three distinct playground areas in the complex and if I try to leave with DD1 and walk over to the other one, this kid (and the others all in tow, I've only ever seen a parent once) follows us.

For a while there, we were headed to the playground every time we had decent weather this summer. I could NOT figure out how they kept getting there 2 minutes after us. Turns out, we'd walk past their house on our way to the playground, and the older girls was sitting looking out the window for us all day.

We just stopped going to the playgrounds for a like a month. I'd have to get in the car and take my kids to a park to get away from that child.
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#20 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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wow--the OLDEST is under 5 and this kid takes 3 other younger kids to the park with her without an adult?? :

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#21 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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I try to be polite but firm. I'll answer a few questions, but I have no problem saying, "Honey, the baby is scared of people and kids she doesn't know....please go play." or "The baby just wants to be with mama right now, run along and play, or hang out with your own parents."

If I'm already pushing my own child on a swing I'm more than happy to push another child right next to our swing....unless the child is too heavy for me to push comfortably. Then I offer to help them start out, but tell them they need to keep it going. If a child is too heavy I get "swing arm" pretty quick.

If I only have older kids with me and I want to read I'll tell the child that too..."I'm reading a book, this is how I relax at the park. Please let me read by myself."

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#22 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 12:39 PM
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More often than not, when this happens, the child is interested when I'm nursing one of the kids and I see that as a good opportunity to share information and ideas. A lot of times these needy kids are walking around with bottles and may have never seen normative infant feeding/bonding.
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#23 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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I'm like the OP... A lot of times I don't want to be social with all the kids. I think they are a little like cats... they want to sit on the lap of the one who wouldreally rather not! I do try and talk to them for a while though.

Sometimes my uber-outgoing daughter will go initiate conversations with the other parents even though she is hardly attention-starved! I always watch very carefully but for the most part I encourage friendliness although if the other adult is showing signs of not wanting to talk I'll call her away.

IMO that's what the park is there to do... encourage social interaction with people of all ages. (And get some exercise!) It usually works both ways.

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#24 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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I agree that we all need to expect this type of stuff at the park, and sometimes I'm happy to play along, but other times I'm just not in the mood and I have no problem saying so. I'll say something direct but polite like, "Sorry, my daughter needs all my attention today. I'm glad you're having fun, but I can't watch you anymore -- bye!"

IME, kids do very well with that kind of stuff -- once they clearly understand your expectations, they just move on. The times I've run into trouble with this is when I've tried to sugar-coat my phrases to the point where the kid wasn't sure what I was trying to say.

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#25 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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loraxc - yep. But it's not really a park, it's a playground in the open space between condo buildings - a courtyard sortof set up. Still, it's compeltely out of sight/hearing range from their house. Only once or twice did I see her there with the other kids alone, usually it's just HER alone, or her and her 4 yo brother (who doesn't walk and she says he's "different" so i don't know what that means. He seems to hear and understand things just fine. Maybe he's just shy, but I think it's more than that. Anyways, yes the two of them are allowed to go the playground alone. Once I figured out where they lived I have offered to help them get home when she's irritating me at the playground, and that tends to send her back to the playground equipment. I have a feeling things aren't great at home. I've heard the dad screaming at a child for not doing homework and not taking school seriously, but the 5 year old is the oldest child, and She said her mom is a nurse. I have no idea what to make of this family, and just generally stay away as much as possible.
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#26 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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Hey Betsy.. just wanted to say that I feel for ya!

we live in student-family housing and although most of the parents here keep an eye out (there are three different playgrounds) I have also seen a few kids wandering around, without a parent in sight (think ages 2-5). While I understand that some may be ok with this, it makes ME cringe

One of the structures in right behind our apt (20 ft or so from our back porch) and I won't even let my 8 yr old play out there alone, let alone my almost 5 yr old. Our neighbors, who live on the other side of the playground are fine with their 5 and nearly 3 yr old playing without grown-ups, so I DO second-guess myself on occasion. I guess I'm just too paranoid about the what-ifs.

For what it's worth- the other mama (of the boys who play without supervision) is wonderful and very attentive when she is outside. I think she may even be on mdc

I would be curious as to what the parents in your post teach the kids when it comes to strangers, as well as being prepared for emergencies.. hopefully a lot!

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#27 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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It the playground. Its where kids go to PLAY with other kids and people. I think that it should be expected that kids will want to play with other kids and therefore the adults around them. That's why we go to the playground. The equipment helps facilitate that, but I like when ds plays with other kids and he's only 2! So I fully expect him to be playing with other kids older and younger when he's 5.

I think its totally okay to say you don't want to play, or that your kids needs space etc. But it is unrealistic to go to a playground to be alone. And for a lot of people having their kid go play with other kids (and therefore the adults those kids have in tow) is the *point* of the going to the playground
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#28 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It the playground. Its where kids go to PLAY with other kids and people. I think that it should be expected that kids will want to play with other kids and therefore the adults around them. That's why we go to the playground. The equipment helps facilitate that, but I like when ds plays with other kids and he's only 2! So I fully expect him to be playing with other kids older and younger when he's 5.

I think its totally okay to say you don't want to play, or that your kids needs space etc. But it is unrealistic to go to a playground to be alone. And for a lot of people having their kid go play with other kids (and therefore the adults those kids have in tow) is the *point* of the going to the playground
I am the OP and I didn't nor did I recall anyone else say they went to the playground to be alone. Some of us said that every so often, we just wanted to spend a little time with just our kids. FWIW, my DS just turned 1 so he needs me to be there for him and he really doesn't "get" playing with kids yet. But I have no problem letting him try. I am a WOHM and deal with chronic pain. There are times after work where I have to get it together to take my son out because he deserves and needs it. On those days, I just don't have the energy to spend on someone else's kid. My child is going to get everything I've got.

On another day, I may be feeling pretty darn good and you better believe I'll spend time at the park interacting with the social butterflies.

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#29 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 06:09 PM
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OP, I totally can understand and appreciate where you are coming from and I too often feel this way. Perhaps it is that I'm nearing the end of my 4th pregnancy with three other children to take care of. I am a sahm and we homeschool. The only other support I have in my life is DH, so needless to say my breaks are few and far between. My children can play independently (and politely and will take turns/share/not bully but I am no more than 20 feet away on a bench) and I do go to the park to allow my kids to play. If they want to play with others, fine, but *I* am not there to play with other peoples' kids, push them on the swings, or just pay attention to them. Perhaps I am harsh and unkind and mean-spirited, but honestly, if I wanted to take care of other peoples' kids, I'd open a daycare. I have NO support, I get NO breaks, nobody comes to watch my kids for an hour so I can run an errand or go to the doc's office unencumbered, perhaps I am bitter, but WHY on earth should I be giving these other parents' a break? Are they going to watch my kids for me for an hour? Umm, no. Perhaps I am remiss in not using babysitters- over the past 7 years just as my kids have grown to an age where they would do ok with someone watching them, we have another baby who needs mama. I am very much an introvert and while I enjoy my kids, sometimes I need them to run off and play at the playground for 45 minutes without needing me to get snacks, waters, change diapers, and be present for them every.single.second. As much as I wish I was able to recreate this independent play time at home, it really is easier at a park where there is playground equipment and even other children to keep my kids engaged so I don't have to.

And yes, there are times too when I am down in the sand building castles, telling stories and keeping others' kids engaged too, but sometimes *I* need a break.
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#30 of 115 Old 09-14-2009, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Perhaps I am harsh and unkind and mean-spirited, but honestly, if I wanted to take care of other peoples' kids, I'd open a daycare. I have NO support, I get NO breaks, nobody comes to watch my kids for an hour so I can run an errand or go to the doc's office unencumbered, perhaps I am bitter, but WHY on earth should I be giving these other parents' a break?



You're not mean spirited and I'm tired just reading your post! Believe me, sometimes I hesitate to even SAY that I get exhausted with just 1 kid but between my job and my health, it takes a toll at times. I really do applaud those that have the time, energy, and patience to never get annoyed or tired with others, I just can't always do it. But it sounds like you really do need some kid free time to regroup and breathe a bit. I hope you can get it before the new babe arrives.

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