When I was a wee tot, the rules of the playground were simple. As a shy kid the decisions were obvious; if your friends are there, play with them (even if they are playing on the dreaded hand-over-hand bars). If your friends aren’t there, play quietly on whatever is vacant lest some strange child tries to talk to you or – much worse – judges you for some reason because you caught his/her attention. My mantra was don’t challenge, don’t rock the boat.
Moms aren’t allowed to be shy. The comedians have covered it. Children make you interact. Kids make you smile at strangers because your precious little one just drank from a stranger’s sippy cup. As if a sheepish smile makes your sippy-cup obsessed baby less odd or the nasty germs he received and spread any less nasty.
But my shy instincts are there. I freeze when my little guy takes a toy from a kid – especially an older one who is likely to react badly. Do I say “no, Milo” or apologize or ignore it or tell them “sharing is caring”? What about when someone takes a toy from my baby? I’m inclined to roll with it because although Milo is grabby, he is fair; he doesn’t care when others are grabby (unless it’s a sippy cup).
Parents are all “how old is your baby?” and I’m all “blankty-blank months” and then I freeze because I know I should ask how old their ugly lump is but 1) it now sounds fake and 2) I just don’t care. There is no more isolated section of the playground I can escape to now that Milo beelines for the other kids. And everyone is always talking to me and judging me.