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My boy raced through the doors of the McDonald's playroom. We'd been on the highway for four hours and being told of this McPit Stop was the only thing that got him through the last 30 kilometres. He quickly ended up in a corner where two girls were playing with this big wheel thingy. My kid loves anything that spins. He wanted to give this a whirl. The girls didn't want any part of that, or of him. "This is a room for girls only," one warned with authority. My son didn't care. He was making that wheel go round and round. He reached for it. She reached for him. They were pushing. I was mortified. "Let the girls play," I said. "They were here first." He let them be and, when they moved a few feet from the wheel, he raced towards it. She raced for him. More shoving, and a little shouting. No. I considered picking the boy up and exiting Playland. I didn't, because he had sat impatiently in the car for this and deserved to be here. As well, I wasn't really interested in hauling him out of there kicking and screaming. I didn't know the little girl and didn't want to speak to her, because that just didn't seem right. So, I demanded he leave the girl alone and stop pushing, even though it really was his turn at the wheel. I suggested he play in another area of the room. He did, but as soon as the girl moved away from the wheel, he zoomed right back to it. And the girl darted right back to him. "Beam me up, Scotty," I said, with no luck. "Clickety click - Barba trick" didn't work either. Neither did my Bat Signal or saying Beetlejuice three times. With no help arriving, I tried diffusing the situation myself. "Go over around the slides," I said. He listened, but started climbing up the slides to my nervous chagrin. What if someone slid down? I told him not to do it, and he stopped, perhaps because he couldn't get that far up the slide. He ran for that blasted wheel again. The girl had walked to another part of the room, but once he touched the wheel, she was back trying to push him away. She and her friend then ran up some giant steps in a large cylinder. And instead of staying at the wheel, my kid chased after her. Oh boy. Soon, they were in the cylinder and she was screaming, "Go away" at him. Enough was enough - it was time to get him out of there before someone really wasn't McHappy. He didn't fuss, but seemed a little puzzled. "Captain," I told him on the way to the car, "you always got to be a good boy, but you're not always going to see eye to eye with girls." Steve Bartlett wants suggestions on proper playroom etiquette when it comes to speaking to other people's kids. Reach him at sbartlett@thetelegram.com or on Twitter @SteveBartlett_
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