Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scooters and Socialism: A Rant

My girls received scooters as a surprise present from their father. I took one look at said present and declared it ridiculous: whose 2-1/2 year-olds can ride scooters? Well, as it turns out, mine. They are obsessed and really quite good, soliciting comments at the park ranging from "How old are those girls?" to "My son is an uncoordinated wimp compared to them" to "What f@#*ing mother doesn't make her kids wear helmets?"

Um, me. I don't remember ever wearing a helmet and I'm fine, thanks. Okay, maybe not fine, but not dead either.

But these scooters, these seemingly unproblematic vehicles, are giving me a migraine and might land me in prison. Because every kid at the park wants to try them. WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION.

My husband, a staunch conservative (don't hold it against me) has labeled the forced sharing at our parks as "socialism bordering on communism." I'm a bit more moderate in my political views, but still, I'm starting to agree with him on the communal sharing mentality that permeates city parks. Hey, here's a thought: You want my kids to share their cool new scooters -- bring something equally as cool and maybe they'll be willing to swap for a while.

Because here's the thing: I lug a bunch of shit via a double stroller everywhere I go. I look like the damn Sanford and Son pick-up truck coming ("Ya big dummy!"). I have two kids, two scooters, two helmets (that go unworn but I bring just for show), a soccer ball, a basketball and various little accessories I need not name. Tons of these moms saunter into the park, towing their kid, a Starbucks and nothing else. DO YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR SKINNY VANILLA LATTE WITH ME, BITCH?

Probably not. And then we get stalked. And these moms, these people I swear I might kill one day, sip on their coffee which I don't have the luxury of having because my cup-holders are filled with lollipops and matchbox cars their kids want to steal, and they let their children maul us.

One such mom who wasn't wearing a bra, probably because she is banging her gardner, loudly announced to her friend for my benefit: "If you don't want to share, you shouldn't bring it to a public park." Says the person who brought nothing but silicone, caffeine and a toddler with her. Then she went back to her iPhone where she changed her Facebook status to "Looking like a whore while ignoring my kid at the park."

We shouldn't bring our stuff to the park if we didn't want to share... Except. Except we live in a city, and don't have a backyard. So if my kids can't ride their scooter at the park in peace, where will they ride it? (I have one suggestion that isn't polite and it's between the enormous crevasse on the chest of that women's poorly done breast implant surgery.)

So, listen, I get that you should share chalk at the park. But are my kids required to share their scooters or are other kids required to share high ticket items like bikes? It's becoming a major problem and I'm becoming a major ass about it. One girl of about 5 followed us around today (we finally left to go elsewhere) telling me, "I WILL take a turn on that scooter!" I told her while I admire her pertinacity it wasn't happening. (I borrowed that line from Dave Barry's literary agent who turned down a manuscript of mine years ago. Who knew rejection would come in so handy?)

Am I crazy? Am I right in thinking my girls have a right to decline advances on their stuff in a public venue with people we don't know AND DON'T WANT TO KNOW? Honestly, I don't like being accosted by kids while parents stand by in oblivion.

My sister and her kids came to visit recently. They had cool children's (but real) digital cameras and one mom let her daughter take the cameras FROM OUR STROLLER and use up the entire disk. The mom not only encouraged the child to take the cameras, she showed her HOW TO USE THEM. When my sister confiscated them from these people we didn't know, the 4-year-old said with hostility: "Why don't you want to share?" Like my sister had done something wrong! As the mom gave us a dirty look!

Seriously, I've had strange children rifle through my diaper bag for snacks while her mother looked on, had toys grabbed right from our hands as the father cooed "Buddy, let's give back their Thomas the Train" but let his kid run around with it for 10 minutes and had a mom allow her son snatch a banana from my child's hands, eat half, then coax him into giving it back with a "c'mon baby, let's share the snack" all without apology. When her son wouldn't oblige, this woman then returned the chomped on banana saying in a little kid's voice, "Thank you for sharing!"Except we didn't share. He stole it. I'm thinking of walking into a 7-11, making myself a Slurpy, eating half and handing it to the clerk with a cheerful, "Thanks for sharing!" and see how that plays out.

To put this in perspective for mothers: Suppose you and I are on a plane. You had the foresight to buy the current issue of Us Weekly to see who Jennifer Aniston is screwing and if she's pregnant. I, on the other hand, dawdled, showed up late and didn't have time to stop at the newsstand. Mid-flight, I get bored of reading the plastic-coated emergency evacuation procedures. I grab your magazine and start reading it. "WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO SHARE??!!!" I protest when you ask for it back, making you feel like YOU did something wrong. See my point?

Is it just Chicago??? I am not a disciplinarian. Lord knows. But I don't let my girls' touch other people's stuff, steal shit and pester other kids. Advice? Counsel? Promises to visit me in prison when I snap?

PS -- Whenever we break out a camera these days, the girls immediately put their hands in their mouth and scream "Funny face!" I have no idea whatsoever where this originated. It was funny like the first 50 times. When as adults they ask why there are no photos of them from age 2 to 16, I plan on screaming at them, "Funny face!"

PPS - Remind me to tell you about the nanny who shows up at the park every day at dinner time with a Dairy Queen sundae to taunt the children. Tomorrow I plan to tell her to DQ Something Different.


  1. It seems that the Kohls Children's Museum has expanded to include an outdoor play area in your neck of the woods. You should wire an electric shock thingie to the handle bars of the scooters. Then, when one of those little turds grabs the scooter, you can left them get just a little bit of wind in their hair before you shock the shit out of them.

  2. Uh... the Scoooter Stealing Kids. Not your girls. Though you might want to save that idea for the car when they turn 16.

  3. A to the men on that one.

    Once I was at a park with my daughter and some strange kid took the snack bar out of her hand to eat it. I snatched it back and when his mom gave me a sharp look I replied sweetly, "Sorry! It contains medicine for her illness!" Of course she is in no way ill and I did this when she was 20 months (too young to truly realize I was lying). I still laugh at myself for that, how I freaked out and spontaneously combusted with a bad lie to apologize for protecting my child's food. WTF?

  4. wow. you must have high tolerance and patience levels. i would not be having any of that sharing crap. when we frequented the mall park or toddler parks, if a kid came up and stole food, a sippy cup, toy, or attempted to go through my purse, i would actually take the object/purse away from him/her and let the parents know that "homey don't play that" with an icy glare. i would also let the child know, if they were at an age to understand, that i would like them to not touch my things or take things without asking. usually the parents would intercede by then and take their kid away and apologize. i think that is why most women left me alone. i would roll in like an ice queen and no one made eye contact. i don't like this "forced sharing" and i see parents ignoring their children too often these days, and the kids end up getting injured or causing trouble and the parents just continue gossiping or texting. i do discipline my child, but not with spanking or threats. i do it the old fashioned way...with bribes and losing privileges. i want my child to respect me and other adults, as i was raised to do the same. he has been taught not to take items from others without asking for permission first and adding "please" and "thank you." i think you should keep bringing the girls' toys to the park, and just let the moms/dads know that you would prefer it if their children did not use the scooters, they are personal property and can be dangerous, and if that doesn't work, get some bike locks and lock those suckers up. watching the kids attempting to get the scooters should provide you with a few minutes of enjoyment. sorry for the long post. take care.

  5. I can't believe this actually goes on. Our little guy is only 4 months so we're just now noticing the local parks (I think we live right in your neighborhood...) but haven't really ventured in. Now that I know it's a free-for-all, I'm really not looking forward to the park social dynamics. It's shocking to me that parents (or caregivers) allow that. Last time I checked, taking without permission wasn't sharing - it's stealing.

  6. I hate to say this because I do find you funny, but you find fault in just about everything and complain a lot. What you are experiencing is life...some people have great skills, others have moderate skills, and still others have no skills...behavioral and otherwise.

  7. I live in Chicago. Communal toys in the sandbox, fine. Scooters, no. Is it really that hard? I spend lot of time explaining to my three-year-old why she can't just ride someone else's bike, and don't see why other people think it's ok for their kids to simply hop on her tricycle and take off, leaving me to forcibly kick the kid off because we're leaving and need the bike. We don't even bring the practically-sacred Princess pail and shovel (and related princess-themed sand molds) to the park because there will be no sharing of those.

  8. it doesn't really bother me when kids do this...IDK, I kinda feel like "whatever" about it. Kids are kids you know and even silicone enhanced mommies are probably maxed out like the rest of us and need a 5 minute break while their kid rides a scooter around...I would never let my kid take anothers toy without specific permission but my oldest is 4 and we have a neighborhood park where most of the items that kids bring to the park are considered "shared" toys. Its a small neighborhood and we all bring bikes, scooters and tricycles and whoever ends up on them I don't think anyone even notices. Point being, I could see how when my daughter goes to another park she could be confused about the specific park policy:)

    I guess I feel like this...when I bring my US magazine on the plane I certainly expect you to wait until I am done reading it but as soon as I put it in the seat back pocket feel free to nicely ask for it and I have no problem...

  9. I need to clarify something based on an e-mail I received calling me a hypocrite ("You admitted getting Botox!"), which truth be told I often am. As I've said on occasion (I think) I am not against plastic surgery (HELL NO) but I am against women who show up sans bra in low-cut shirts with certain anatomy peeking through. It's a park, not a strip club.

    That said, I have a list 4 pages long of stuff I want done. Number one is an ass amputation if such a thing exists. It's so out of control lipo won't cut it.

    PS -- I would gladly share my Us magazine with any readers of my blog if we were on a flight together. But mainly because I buy about 25 magazines every time I fly. And I'd want it back.

  10. I don't care what anonymous says...I hate other peoples's kids and I almost always hate other parents. I don't think this is just "life".

    Having unknown kids dig around in MY bag looking for a snack is LIFE?

    Unknown kids at a park riding my childs toy without asking is life?

    Unknown kids taking a snack, toy, drink, out of my child's hand to either consume it or use it is life?

    All while some dipshit parent ignores all of this because their latte is soooooo good.

    This is not life, this is bad parenting.

    Yeah sure jerk, keep texting, update your Facebook status, or myspace (whatever) I watch your kid break my kids stuff, trash the park, steal a snack...

    These kids are one step away from robbing a 7-11.

  11. I like telling off other people's kids. I also like telling off mothers and caregivers. This may be why no one talks to me at the park any more.

  12. Wow, I was completely unaware that Santa now resided in Chicago.. wait, what, he doesn't? So why the hell do all these parents think you're there to provide new toys for their revolting children to play with. That's their problem if they only have crap toys for their kids. That they're not bringing to the park to 'share' which seems so important to them.

    And the whole sharing concept that all these other parents are so big on - isn't that a concept we try at home with children that we know (and can at least tolerate) that we've invited there to play with our kids. Then I expect my kids to share their toys. Not in the park with all those motley snotty nosed cretins I don't know.

  13. Jennifer Aniston's pregnant?

  14. Maybe you should, in a stage whisper, offer to give the food-stealer's mom some cash so they can have a good meal. Or offer to help her apply for food stamps. But then, does WIC cover organic bananas or only the low class regular bananas?

  15. I'm a day late and a dollar short on this one but I wanted to say two things:

    1) you are absolutely right about not having to share with every child at the park. It is unrealistic to teach children that they can have anything and everything from someone else in the name of "sharing". It's just another way that parents avoid telling their children no.

    2) For anonymous why thinks you complain too much... it's FUNNY!!! Just like a stand up comedian doesn't tell us about all the gloriously uncomplicated and easy aspects of their life. I am all about appreciation your blessings but sometimes you have to laugh at lifes little annoyances.

    Love your blog girlfriend!

  16. First of all, I promise to visit you in the clink. And bring lots of dum dum suckers, because who know what they are worth behind bars.

    Second, the problem is with these parents, totally not you (and I'm not just saying that because I love you blog).

    Third, what Kiki and Susan said.

  17. I am with Jessica! Anonymous does not appear to have a sense of humor. Whatevs.

    I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this post. How 'bout the play-dates at your house with your actual friends and their kids that come over and destroy your house all while their parents (your friends) pretend it is not happening? And then they leave without lifting a finger to restore order.

    Also, can't stand those people who think their kids are so cute when they are being obnoxious. You know, the same ones who never say "no jumping on someone else's, you can't eat a messy ice cream in their living, you can't hang out in the parents master bed with a drippy popsicle". What happened to manners, people!!!

  18. I don't blame you for not sharing. If one of those other kids gets hurt on one of your scooters, you better believe the first thing those parents will do is sue your ass! Ps I'm not a mother,but you seems like a very cool mother to have...Happy 4th of July!

  19. This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Those parents have no manners and they are teaching their children the same thing. Heck no, the girls don't have to share their toys at the park. I swear, these days it feels like we're participating in an episode of Animals Gone Wild every time we go to the park and my two year old is attacked for her Nutrigrain bar. I'm supposed to tell her it is o.k. that another little boy grabbed it out of her hand, smashed it and then ate it? Makes. Me. Crazy. My daughter is now screaming and crying and her son is happy as a clam. Thanks asshole. Ahh, I feel much better now. BTW, thanks for coming back to the blog. Your latest posts have been fantastic. Please write a book. This could be its own chapter.

  20. I feel torn about this as I have a 1 1/2 yr old who wants to check out every bike or scooter brought to the park. He just wants to check out the wheels and say hi to the kid and maybe share whatever he's got.
    I kind of feel like bringing big toys like that is akin to bringing ice cream to the playground. I'm not saying they should just give up their toys/snacks/whatever, but you should realize there are savage kids in this city. Kids should learn they can't have everything, but they should share within reason.

    on the other hand, I don't think any kid should rifle through anybody's bag or take anything without asking. That's just wrong no matter how young/old.

    It has nothing to do with socialism or communism in my opinion. Most of the parents you describe are most likely not red in any way. We're dealing with people who buy everything to make them "happy" and pass that value on to their kids. Those kids go out into the world and see the stuff that makes other kids happy and take it because that is what they see their parents do.

  21. I'm glad to see that you feel this way and that so many people agree with you. We do have a backyard, and we also have several great neighborhood parks. So often I feel like I'm not 100% sure of the etiquette. No, we don't usually bring big-ticket items, but that's just because my kids are scared of their bikes. But more than once, we've been at the wading pool, for example, and some other kid is there with something awesome like a floating dolphin, or something interesting like a ball, and my kids want in. And every time, my policy is that its just fine to say hi to the kid, even to ask if you can have a turn with the toy. But if they don't want to give you a turn, it's not okay to yell "You're mean! You have to share!" And if they do act like jerks, as kids sometimes do, I always not only let them know that it's not okay, but I make sure to do it in a way that the other parent can hear.

    Yes, some people are just jerks. And yes, kids can be little brats sometimes. And yes, exciting toys are tempting for little hands. But I absolutely cannot tolerate the parents who let their kids' unacceptable behavior go unchallenged. If we're going to live together, we have to agree to certain rules and follow them.

  22. I agree with you. You need to go all crazy on their asses. These people are out of control ridiculous. When we lived in the city, I was a maniac about labeling everything with our last name. Every shovel, every bike. Because I'd spend a lot of time trying to run around and gather up the things we brought and other children took. It was ridiculous. The labeling started after arguing with another mother over whose stuff belonged to whom. Also, I hear you when you mention that you bring lots of stuff and then the other moms just show up. I have some good friends like this. Oh, can we use your sunblock? Can I borrow a wipe? Do you have a diaper that you can spare? NOOOO!! I have to pack twice as much as you people already. Bring your own damn stuff!! Whew. That felt good. Wish I has the you know whats to say it in person.

  23. I am looking for kids electric scooter .I was looking at the storm scooter but can’t find reviews on it.Any help would be appreciated.