Yesterday I went to a splash park with my husband and kid. I’ve worked more than my hours already this week so I seized the opportunity to take some time to frolic in the sun. However, even though it was really warm in the sunshine the water was still freezing! My kid loves it so I will keep taking him but I’m not sure I’ll ever see the appeal of playing in water that’s so cold it makes your lips turn blue and your teeth chatter. The place was full of shivering children!
Anyway, the little guy decided he’d like one of us to be with him so we were taking it in turns to follow him through the puddles and sprays of ice-cold water. He was pottering about whilst I stood near the edge and I saw an older kid, maybe 9 or 10 playing with one of the water jets and standing on it so he could direct the water specifically at other kids.
Now, here’s where I welcome you to my immediately judgemental Mummy mind… I found myself looking around for his parents and wondering if they were aware of how mean their kid was being. He did upset quite a few kids! Then, I thought to myself, “he’d better not upset my kid”, and I wondered how I would respond and whether I would have to challenge his behaviour.
Meanwhile, my kid pootles about and gets right into his line of fire. The older kid jumps off immediately and says, “oh, do you want to come and play with the water, I’ll help you”, and he ushers my kid over and invites him to play, showing him how to tread on the water.
Wow, I was judgemental. This kid turned out to be really sweet and kind towards my little boy. Now, normally I’m a ‘stand back and let the little guy figure out how to handle a situation kind of mum’ but when a bigger kid came in something shifted. Isn’t it amazing how the mama bear protectiveness comes out when we fear that our young are being threatened?!
I’m sure he would have handled being splashed really well, he might even have enjoyed it but at this age where he’s not able to say, “I don’t like that, it’s not kind” I can’t help but be on my guard. I don’t think it’s possible for me to drop my mama bear protectiveness but I’m maybe next time I’ll give another kid the benefit of the doubt until he actually does spray water at my kid. Maybe.
And, as I’m going for full disclosure here, it was actually my kid who got so overprotective of a wooden crocodile that he pushed another kid to the ground yesterday. Man, toddlerdom is a rollercoaster.