Dear Other Moms at the Playground,

Hi, it’s me. That mom at the playground who you either a) ignored, twice or b) glanced at and in one quick motion, picked up your kid and trotted off to the other play set. Remember me? I have the cute little boy who was dying to play with your kids? The little boy who toddled over in your direction and then you walked away? Yes! That’s me. You remember! I knew you would . . .

Anyway, the reason for this letter. Maybe no one taught you this when you were growing up but, around these parts, it is customary to say, “Hello,” when someone says, “Hello,” to you. You can alter it, if you want: Maybe go for a, “Hi” or, “How ya doin’?” Doesn’t really matter exactly what you say, you just usually should say something. And if you don’t, and if the person who originally said a cheerful, “Hello,” to you, coupled with a little wave of the hand, decides that maybe you didn’t hear her the first time, so she gives you a friendly, “Hi,” a little later on — again, it’s customary to give some sort of response. And, I hate to break it to you but it is considered a little bit rude to just look at the greeter, say nothing, and then turn your head.*

Another little thing: A one-year old boy, excitedly walking over to you and your kid, chattering away in his one-year old way, isn’t going to do you and your big kid any harm. I can guarantee that. I know that little jobbers who are half the size of your kid can be scary — what with their smiles and all. But, you might want to try to get past that. One-year olds generally just want to see the big kids, check out what they are doing. And the moms, especially those moms who are standing right next to them, are usually watching them. So, really, no reason to fear the toddler.

No reason to look at the toddler and quickly grab your big kid, saying something along the lines of, “Let’s go play over there now.” Your big kid didn’t even have a chance to play on the first play set.

That’s it, really. So, next time you’re at the playground, and another mom greets you, try to be nice, OK? Or, if a toddler walks over to you, try not to run away. I can’t stress this enough: one-year olds really aren’t harmful. I swear! And a mom saying, “Hi,” generally doesn’t mean any harm, either.

Sincerely,

Me

*Some of you may be thinking that perhaps I should consider that the mother might be deaf. Well, I did. I considered it and when I later witnessed her talking on her cell phone — loudly, while completely ignoring her child — I realized she was not.

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