This weekend I took my two kids to our local splash park. The weather was a bit chilly, but I thought my oldest son might enjoy playing with the other kids.
Oliver, 15 months, was a bit shy about going into the water. Not only was the water a little cold, but it also shot up out of the ground in an unpredictable manner.
I stood on the side with Jack, 2 months, in a front-pack baby carrier. The water was definitely too cold for him to be exposed.
When Oliver just got brave enough to walk out into the water, a group of six-year-old boys started spraying him with water! They were incessant and did not quit when he started crying. Poor little Oliver just stood there shivering, lip-quivering, and crying, but they didn’t let up.
I ran out into the water to help Oliver when those boys started spraying me (and baby Jack!).
Now, I’m not sure how most women would react, but I was really angry. Everyone knows that you should stop doing something if your actions make someone else (especially a baby) cry. Right? Those kids should have paused when Oliver got upset, but to continue spraying his mom and baby brother… oooo…
I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I just carried my two soaking wet babies out of the splash park and explained that getting wet is part of being there. I told Oliver that if he doesn’t like getting wet, he should feel free to leave and not let other kids spray him. (I don’t honestly think a 15-month-old can understand this rationale, but I needed to say something and I’d rather he hear this than what I really thought about those brats.)
We got all dried off and loaded into the stroller when a trembling, teary-eyed six-year-old boy came over and told Oliver he was sorry for spraying him.
My heart melted for this poor kid. He was visibly upset and I felt like maybe there is hope in this world. But, I did wonder why only one of the four kids had this kind of reaction.
I don’t know where the kids’ parents were. I know that kids do silly things and this will be one of many instances when mama bear isn’t happy. But, wouldn’t it be nice if more kids were taught a little empathy? Or, if they were at least made to apologize when they scare the crap out of a baby?
The way we raise our kids is the way they will act as adults. Don’t we want a little more courtesy in the world, or are we okay with a bunch of bullies?