Day 431: Daddies in the Playroom

In Discovery Bay there are some play rooms that are part of the clubhouse memberships.  They are different, and based on the age of your child, you will probably go to one over the other.  I have noticed a small trend happening when I am there playing with the little guy: the other kids want to play with us.

It starts with a kid saying to me: “hello, my name is XX.  What is your name?”  And then you are stuck.  For the next hour, that kid is stuck to you like glue.  They want your attention, they want to play with you.  They want you to play their games.  And on and on it goes, tirelessly, until you make your escape.

Meanwhile, where are their parents or their “helpers”?  Sitting on the side, not even in the play area with their child, on their cell phones.  Always.  On.  Their.  Cell.  Phones.  ALWAYS.  So, they are expecting me, and the relatively few other parents or helpers in the playroom, to basically babysit their kids.

Today when we were in there, the above example happened.  And occasionally the mother would look up at me like I was being weird talking to her little girl (as if I had a choice!).  You should not ignore kids when they talk to you, should you?   Anyway, we were there, and then this little girl pushed another kid off a padded pedestal.  The kid cried, and of course that mother came over expecting me to discipline the little girl.  I said, “this it the problem when the parents are not in the play area, this is not my child, so there’s nothing I can say here.”  I’m not going to discipline someone else’s kid who pushed someone else’s kid.  (there’s a mind bender!)

So, all the sudden the helper AND the mom, both of whom were on the other side of the room engrossed in the cell phones, and they did some B.S. discipline that was clearly just as much B.S. to the daughter as it was for them.  I did get some sideways glances as if I was responsible for this.

Later in the day I was venting to some of my friends about this, and a mom said, “ha!  this exact thing happens to my husband all the time, and he is equally frustrated!  I think the dads are kind of exotic in the play rooms, so the kids want to play with them.”  This could be true, after all a lot of the dads in our community are not present because they work so much – so us dads who are in the play room must be a bit of a novelty.  I was relieved that it was not only my plight, but it is still a fascinating thing.

I will say that I have learned that little kids in playrooms are a bit like stray dogs.  If you ignore them, they ignore you.  But once you acknowledge their existence, they will follow you, expecting you to be their friend.  Maybe it’s all a good reminder to anyone who has a playroom in their community that it is best to play with your kid, not use the playroom as a break from your day 😉

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