On a recent trip to the playground, two kids were throwing sand down two side by side metal slides because the dust made them slide down faster. Their younger sibling was standing at the bottom of the slides throwing sand on the slide and everything else her path.
My timid daughter wanted to use the slide but was afraid that the sand would make her go too fast. As I was trying to clean off on side the slide with my coat sleeve so she could take a turn, the kids threw more sand down the slide.
“Please don’t throw the sand down the slide while I’m trying to clean it off,” I politely asked. Without missing a beat, their mother pounced on me. “I think it’s perfectly acceptable to throw sand down the slide,” she announced.
“OK,” I replied, a bit taken aback but still trying to multi-task as I cleaned the slide while negotiating with her. “But my daughter would like to have a sand free turn. Could you ask your kids to wait on the sand throwing until she takes a turn?”
In a very put-out tone, the other mother then said to her children, “This mommy doesn’t like sand throwing. I think it’s perfectly okay, but to make this mom happy, can you please not throw sand for a minute?” She continued a monologue to herself about how uptight some people are.
The kids refrained, my daughter had her turn and we moved on to the swing set where I tried to digest the situation. On one hand, I couldn’t believe I just got in a fight over throwing sand. I personally think sand hurts especially when it gets in the eyes and am not an advocate of teaching kids to throw it in any situation.
Before I let myself get too worked up over the underlying issue or weird way in which she choose to ask her kids to respect my wishes, I reminded myself that she had respected my wishes and that should be enough. I attended a lecture once where the speaker noted that even if your child is sassing off to you as they do the dishes or clean their room, you should let it go and focus on the fact that they are cleaning their room.
While I followed that advice and kept my distance for the rest of the playground visit, I kept wondering if there might have been a better way to handle it. Any ideas?