Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tales From the Playground: Welcome to the Real World, Kid

It was a rough afternoon of difficult life lessons for young Thumper today. We went to Jungle Java later than we usually do. School was out, and the joint was chock full of kids. Older kids. He climbed up into the big playscape, but immediately looked like he regretted the decision. One boy sprinted past him, giving him a push that was almost subtle enough to go undetected. Almost.

Thumper lost his balance, jumped up, looked right at the kid, and said, "Soddy! Soddy!" Now, I say "I'm sorry" to the boy if I accidentally bump into him or step on his toes. I make him say "I'm sorry" when he gets a little too rambunctious during play and clubs me in the face with a toy. We say we're sorry. This boy that pushed him down, though, looked right at Thumper and didn't say "sorry." He didn't say anything at all. So Thumper turned, looked at me, and burst into tears.

Back on solid ground, Thumper picked up a toy from the toddler area. Eventually he dropped it in order to concentrate more fully on flirting with a pair of moms. A little girl, about his age, picked it up and brought it over to him. When she held it out, he took it and, filling his daddy with pride, said, "Tank you, baby!" A few minutes later, he carried it back over to her. He held it out. She took it. And she walked away. He turned and looked at me, not bursting into tears this time, but clearly thinking, "Well, why do I have to say it, then?"

Regaining his courage, he climbed back up, once more into the breach, as they say. Jungle Java is big on hanging, padded cylinders. They swing. You run through them like you're running football drills, I guess. Thumper came around a corner just as another boy was using one of the cylinders to pretend he was a champion kick boxer. He smashed the bottom of the cylinder into Thumper's face. Down he went. Up he jumped, yelling, "Soddy! Soddy!" And again, no "sorry" was forthcoming. And again, Thumper burst into tears. It wasn't so much the injury as it was the injustice.

Then, to cap off the afternoon, he spun and spun in circles, got dizzy, fell over, and bashed his cheek into a chair leg. That's going to leave a mark.

And so the lesson of the day was: Mama and Daddy make you say "please" and "thank you" and "I'm sorry." And in return you get squat. Welcome to the real world, little man.


anniemcq said...

Oh, God. I'M Sorry, Thumper. He reminds me SO much of JH at that age. I so feel for him, and you, as you watch him learn this shitty life lesson. Good manners aren't as appreciated as they should be, and even then, it's not until later in life when you actually understand the value of having them yourself.

Hug your boy tight. And take an extra squeeze for you and Aerie too. Here's to your good parenting. It's not for nothing. I promise.

Anonymous said...

Poor little man! It is rough trying to do right by our kids when so many out there don't give a damn to reinforce MINOR etiquette issues. If some can't convince their kids to say sorry,please, and thank you - especially older to younger...I don't know. It breaks my heart to see such ruthlessness around kids. It definitely was not the childhood I grew up in.

tricia said...

You keep on doing what you're doing. Be proud of how you are raising your son.Wish ALL parents were as diligent as you in teaching their kids manners.Poor Thumper is having to find out the injustices.

She Said said...

Eee, gads! Poor Thumper! Poor you! I have watched Braedyn get the short end of the manner stick before, and it feels like someone tore out my heart and ate it right in front of me. As a parent I want to protect him, and it's like a slap in the face that you can't always protect them from injustices. It hurts so badly to see it happen.

Oh, then something happened, Braedyn got older and I saw him being the one not so nice. I took him over to the other kid and asked him to not forget his manners. Please. So, he challenged what he knew to be right probably because he had experienced injustices first hand. Just stay on top of it; you are doing an awesome job!

suttonhoo said...

I laughed. I cried.

great story.

poor Thumper.

but talk about character.

& that kid can bust a move.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks for the kind words. We try to do right by the boy. Today balance was restored to the universe. We met the nicest pair of moms with the nicest pair of daughters. His good manners were appreciated and reciprocated, and snacks were shared by all. Peace and love reigned, and no injuries were sustained. Though one of the daughters was semi-distraught by Thumper's belief that her Tasha was Pooh.

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