Park Throwing Sand

What Would You Do? Sandbox Edition

My kids were playing nicely in the sand at the park the other day, when two young boys came over to join them. As children do, they all began to play some randomly made up game together and things were going well. That was until one of the boys, a four year old, began lightly shoveling sand onto his brother’s lap. The brother didn’t seem to mind at all but his mother asked him to stop doing it. The young boy decided to tempt fate and shoveled one more scoop into his brother’s lap, at which point the mother walked over, leaned down, grabbed a handful of sand and threw it in the four year old’s face and mouth.

I have to be honest, I was shocked at the choice of punishment for such a minor crime but I really had no idea what to do, so I continued to just stand there, stunned, pretending everything was cool. The tactic backfired as well, as the boy wiped the sand from his mouth and stated with glee, “Mmmm, I love sand in my mouth!” At this point, I gathered up my children and we started the walk home.

It’s easy to judge parenting methods, so I try to keep my nose out of other people’s business and don’t typically write about the things I see but this one struck me as odd and it didn’t end there. Nothing was said about the incident as we walked home but as soon as my four year old daughter got home, she went running to her mom and explained the whole sand throwing story. We then spent the next few minutes trying to explain why it was a bad idea for the mommy to do that and telling her that she shouldn’t ever throw sand in people’s faces. Like I said, I stay out of other people’s parenting business…until it affects my ability to parent my children.

That brings me to my question. What would you do if your child was the one throwing sand at the park?

A Moment In Time

Amidst the chaos in the fenced off kindergarten playground, I watched him quietly shovel sand into his bucket. If there has even been a time where I could ignore my surroundings and focus on a singular event like he was, I certainly can’t remember it. I realized today that I am lucky to have had the opportunity to hang around to watch him play and interact with potential new friends. Next year he will be thrust into the real world that is grade 1, where his school life will truly begin.

One of the most important things that being a parent has taught me is how to stop and enjoy a moment in time. This was going to be one of the last times that I would be able to watch him interact in the school yard and I was going to soak up every last second of it. At one point he glances over and flashes a smile my way. I played it totally cool, while my emotions raced with a thousand memories of his youth. It’s a lot harder to let go than I imagined it would be. He’s sheltered right now, with kids his own age, oblivious to what awaits beyond the steel gates of the kindergarten sanctuary. Soon he will learn about bullies, girls, structure and peer pressure, and I worry about whether I given him all the tools he needs to make the right decisions. Time will tell, I guess.

What I do know, is that I still have four months left with my kindergartner and I have no intention of rushing through that time. We’ll worry about bigger kids and heartbreak when we get to it, but for now, we’ve got some memories to create.