No, really, did I miss the memo that said, "Attention please, any effort to be friendly and share your toys at the playground is no longer seen as anything but ANNOYING!"
Little Guy and I went to a nearby playground to burn off some energy, and I brought along a big red bouncy ball. I figured LG could chase it, throw it, kick it, roll it, and even share it with any other kids that were there playing.
We were there early, and the ball was duly chased/thrown/kicked/rolled by LG. Eventually some other toddler size people came along (with their adult size sidekicks), and LG had dropped the ball to focus on stair scaling.
A new arrival ran to the ball, grabbed it, and had the biggest smile on his face. That smile crumpled when his grandma told him , "NO! That is NOT your ball! Put it DOWN!" As the toddler crumpled and cried, grandma grabbed the ball, gave it back to me, and said, "I brought him here to wear him out. He doesn't need to play with a ball. He has those at home."
My response? The always popular, "Oh..." followed by a silent "What the HECK?" She dragged her grandson away to another part of the playground, away from the ball sharing people. Then they came back, and the scene repeated. Over. And over. And over. Finally granny asked me to put the ball away, and I said "Um, no, LG here is playing with the ball."
Much huffing ensued on her part, which I ignored politely.
THEN, LG saw a little girl. He LOVES little girls. He offered her the ball, and the little girl's dad said, "Oh, no, that's OK, we don't want to take it away from him!" I said, feeling somewhat puzzled at this point, "But..it's OK! we can SHARE!" He didn't drag his daughter off but every time she touched the ball for longer than 30 seconds he made her return it to me. Not to LG, who would have found even that sort of exchange fun, but to me.
Next came a set of boy girl twins exactly LG's age! YES! THEY would certainly be able to share our ball, right?
But no. Their mom said, "I don't think they should share that. They don't know how to share and they might think it was theirs and take it home."
Sit with that a minute. Twins. Who don't know how to share. And who will apparently NEVER EVER EVER LEARN to share, since they are not allowed to practice on the playground for fear they will somehow steal the ball and smuggle it home in their rompers?
The oddness kept on coming, but I'm feeling sad replaying all the crazy don't you touch that's not yours stop right now put it down leave it alone, so I'll end here by asking you the following questions:
- Was this caused by the sunspots?
- Was it possibly the recent full moon that gave all adults unreasonable bouts of weird?
- Was I just being creepy by offering to have LG share his ball? Did the other adults think I'd rubbed some sort of addictive baby-nip on it?
- Or do parents simply no longer make any effort to help their kids learn to share, to play nicely with others, to cooperate, to simply enjoy the offer of a shared toy? Is that now considered strange and bizarre?