Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tot Spot Frustrations

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who don�t think rules are meant for them.  This annoyance probably has something to do with my inability (at least post college) to really defy any rules. 

Take for example our recent trip to the Greensboro Children�s Museum.  The Greensboro Children�s Museum is a fabulous, if slightly expensive,  place to spend a day with your child.  There are all sorts of stations to truly pique your child�s creativity and keep their interest for an eternity.  I mean, I don�t understand how any parent gets out of there without a complete meltdown from their kid.  �No, Mommy, I don�t want to go. No, no, no.�

One of my favorite things about the museum is that it is set-up to provide entertainment for children of varying ages (0-10 years).  There are Legos, train sets, and gymnastics equipment for older kids; a play kitchen, school, and theater for preschool, early elementary, and really all age kids; and there�s even a toddler-only Tot Spot with tunnels, balls, and ride-on toys.

Of course, it�s that Tot Spot that sits at the center of my frustration.  At the entrance to the toddler section, there is a sign that clearly states, �For children two and under.�  Now, I know any child under 6 years of age cannot be expected to read this sign but their parents should.  So why is it, that while Linus and his other 13 and 14 month old friends are safely enjoying their play zone, in come children who are definitely not 2 and under.  They look to be around 5 years old.  They are accompanied by their parent but they are definitely not being supervised.  Now in fairness to the rule breaker, she has  brought a toddler along and is standing near the toddler gabbing with another adult.  I, of course, understand that the parent cannot be in two places at once.  I understand that the older child needs to be nearby.  What I do not appreciate, is the crazy and rowdy behavior that the parent is allowing the 5 year old to have while in a toddler area.  These kids are running at top speed narrowly missing and even sometimes actually knocking over the early walkers.  They are leaping in front of the crawlers and pushing them aside to go through the tunnels. 

My breaking point was almost reached when one of the 5 year olds came up to Linus while he was pushing a ride-on toy around.  The child placed a hand on the toy preparing to yank it away.  He paused just a moment to see if his Mommy would say anything and then started tugging.  Linus, not ready to be finished, yanked back and fearing domination belted out a loud, �Grrrr�.�  Luckily, this scared the 5 year old away and allowed me to avoid having to intervene.  I was rather proud of my little man for standing up for himself.

That mini confrontation only increased my frustration at these older children being set free to terrorize the littlest of visitors. 

I know this sounds very sanctimommy of me but with the way the museum is set-up, it is possible for parents to situate themselves in a location that allows them to play with a toddler in the toddler-zone and still supervise the older kids while they explore other parts of the museum.  I mean, from the toddler zone, a person can see into all the make believe play zones along "Main Street".  At the very least, I wish this parent would have explained to her older children that they would have to play calmly with their younger sister for a set amount of time and then they would all go and explore the other parts of the museum together.

Am I wrong to be frustrated?  Is this just my ignorance as a parent of an only child?  Do I not understand how difficult it is to manage more than one child while playing at a children�s museum? I hate to pass judgment on other parents for their parenting style but when it affects my son, I guess the protective instincts just kick in.

An original Triangle Mamas post. When she's not passing judgment on other mommies, Abby usually has other things to say about motherhood on her personal blog, My Sweet Babboo.


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