yeah that's right- a title with no caps. deal with it.
Confession: Some parents just don't seem to give a crap what their kids are doing.
The title is a little wordy, but in this case, it works for me.
I mean maybe, maybe, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it's not that they don't care but rather they just don't know.... but is that really better?
Remember when you'd bring a kid home and your mom or dad would be all, "that kid is no good." And you'd be like, "yeah right mom- you can't tell if they are no good." And now you are a parent- and turns out- yeah, you actually can tell. Pretty much from the second my kid brings somebody home, I know whether or not they are bad news. And you would be damned surprised at how many kids in the 7-10 age range are bad news already. Or maybe you wouldn't. And I ask the question I ask myself each and every day when I look out my living room window- what is up with these parents?
When I was in middle school, there was this guy, we'll call him Billy. Okay, no we won't. We'll call him Roman... because that was his name. And I don't think anyone will take offense to me using his real name since 1) he very sadly passed away several years ago and 2) I doubt all that many people who I was friends with in the 8th grade are reading this right now. Anyway, back to Roman.
Roman was like 16 or 17, or maybe 18- I honestly have no idea. As I recall, he was still in high school, although I never actually saw him go to school, and he looked about 35. I was 12 or 13. Probably 13. For some reason, Roman was that guy who was always hanging out with us younger kids. For reasons unexplainable to me at the time, he liked hanging out with us. Sure, he had some friends that were his age; friends who were probably like "dude why the hell do you keep hanging out with these young kids"... but for the most part, he was always around the younger crowd. We thought it was because we were clearly so much cooler than our same-aged counterparts who did not get to hang out with Roman and his pals. As a parent and grown adult, I can probably safely say now that Roman hung out with us for a few reasons. First, he probably didn't really have that many friends his own age, or maybe he just didn't feel accepted by the kids his age. And second, it was probably a lot better to hang out with a bunch of kids who think you are the really cool older guy, that just some average nerd. It kind of worked to both of our advantages though. We felt important because we got to hang out with the older crowd (crowd being Roman and whatever 1 or 2 friends he could convince to hang out with us at any given time). And he got to be a hero. He got to be the cool guy. He got to be the one that we could count on to do all the stuff that we couldn't do yet (drive, buy cigarettes, stay out late, etc.)
Anyway, why am I bringing up some dude that existed to me in another lifetime, many, many years ago? Well, we seem have our very own little Roman here in my neighborhood. A real life high school boy and his "crew"- and by crew I mean 2 little kids that follow behind him and do whatever he says. And for whatever reason, they like to hang out at the park, with the kids in my daughter's class- my 4th grade daughter. Now, I can totally get why these 9 and 10 year old kids want to hang out with this kid, but for the life of me, I could not understand why he wants to come down to the park day after day and hold court to these... children. And then I watched out the window one day. I watched as this boy did tricks on his bike, as a gaggle of 10 year old girls sat in awe. I watched as he climbed to the top of the jungle gym and sat on the very top, where no kids are supposed to go- as if he were the king of world. His loyal subjects below him staring up, mouths agape, at his bravery and coolness. And suddenly, it was Roman all over again.
Here's the thing with that though: Roman got me in all kinds of trouble back then. I got grounded more than once for breaking curfew with him. I got caught smoking. I was riding around in cars with boys... stuff that if I catch my daughter doing at 12 or 13, I am going to be livid.
Granted my daughter is 10. She just turned 10 last week. She still plays with Barbies. And she is by no means allowed to play at the park with this Romanesque character. But the curiosity is there. She watches out the window as her friends, who are allowed to go out unaccompanied to the park, follow these boys blindly... around the park.. into the woods... and I am lucky- for now. Because she still listens to me.
But it certainly doesn't make it any easier that most of her friends are allowed to do things she can't (i.e ride their bikes around the neighborhood and go down to the park and play there by themselves.) But it's not so much the things they are allowed to do as it is the things they do anyway that bother me. Like cursing like a truck-driver. Or smoking. Or staying out late. Or yes, hanging out in the woods with kids much older than them. And I again I have to ask what is up with these parents? Because I have to believe that no parent is going to let their 9 or 10 year old willfully engage in this kind of behavior. Or maybe they do?
I'm not saying I am perfect... okay I'm not saying it right now... but I have to question the decisions that parents make sometimes. I want to believe that 99% of these kid's parents do not know that they are hanging out in the woods with boys that are several years older than them. And not that they just don't care. But I am tired of being the park police. Keeping your kids from engaging in bad behavior is not my job. And yet if I don't do it, I have to watch it- day in and day out- and allow my kids to be exposed to it. And quite frankly, I don't want to.
I'm no lawyer. And I don't have a clue about the difference between libel, slander, character assassination, etc. but I am pretty sure that if I start putting kids real names up here and outing them for their crappy behavior, I am going to have an angry mob of soccer moms at my door ready to kick my ass (or at the very least run me over with their Honda Odyssey or their Volvo station wagons). Then again, maybe that wouldn't be so bad. At least if they came down here beating on my door to defend little anonymous kid's honor, I would know that they give a shit- which is a lot more than I can say right now for most of them.
Monday, November 14, 2011
the one in which i tell the cold, hard truth, thereby alienating many of my neighbors and ruin any chances i ever had of being inducted into any type of mom clique.
yeah that's right- a title with no caps. deal with it.