Posted by: Jamie Stamm | September 30, 2008

A post-afternoon-at-the-playground rant

I felt like a bad mom today. Not toward my children, but toward another mother, who was carrying a child in each arm when a pacifier fell from one of their mouths. My initial reaction was to abandon my son on the slide and rush to her aid, but I hesitated.

Because each of the girls that she was carrying was at least Anthony’s age.

Which means they should have been walking on their own.

And that neither one of them needed a pacifier.

So instead of lending a helping hand, I stood there and watched her struggle to bend over, with both toddlers still in her arms, to pick up that pacifier off the ground. And all day I’ve been wavering between feeling like I neglected a fellow mom – and wondering why she just didn’t put down the kids.

Or leave that pacifier-for-a-toddler on the ground where it belonged.

I am anti-pacifier and have been since before my kids were born. While there is part of me that understands their value for infants (hey, I had one baby who wanted to suckle all the time and one who was colicky for six weeks, although I was able to soothe them both without artificial rubber nipples), it drives me crazy to see a toddler who’s dependent on a paci. I can’t stand to see a parent pop a pacifier in a 2-year-old’s mouth because the child is being fussy or – God forbid – talking too much. That’s what young children are supposed to do. Let you kid express herself. Pull out that pacifier and encourage her to talk.

And in other judgmental thinking:

  • Parents of preschoolers, put down your books and cell phones and interact with your kids. While I think it’s fine for a child of Cera’s age to go relatively unmonitored at the playground, those under 5 need pretty much constant supervision. I can’t tell you how many times I cringed today as toddlers tumbled and stumbled on the playground equipment while their parents chatted away – completely oblivious – on their flip phones (thank goodness none of the children was seriously hurt). Not to mention how many times I had to correct my own son’s manners when he tried to cut in front of another child in his quest to be the first to reach the biggest and best slide. Yet there was no one there to chastise the little girl who barreled my son out of the way as she raced to the monkey bars. In fact, I couldn’t even venture a guess as to which mother was hers.
  • This may make me seem like the ultimate party pooper, but I’m still going to say it. Don’t let your child climb up the slide. Ever. I have seen so many kids come flying off slides crying after running into someone going the wrong direction (especially in those giant tube slides that you find at many fast-food restaurants). And, parents, please don’t be like one of the moms at the park today, who kept telling her toddler, “Don’t climb up if someone is coming down.” He’s 2; he doesn’t understand “if.” Just be firm and tell him never to climb up. That’s why the slide has stairs. After this mom gave her wishy-washy objection and let her son climb up the slide for the first time, that’s all he wanted to do (and this is a huge park with lots of other options). I saw her pull him off the slide on at least three instances as other kids (including Anthony) came flying at him at full speed. I never let my kids climb up the slide, even when we’re the only people at a park. Does that make me popular with them? Nope. But at least I know my kids won’t be the ones injuring someone else’s babies.

I feel much better now.



  1. AMEN!!!!!!!!!

  2. Preach it girl!

  3. gee , guess whose mom lets the grandkids climb up the slide when they’re the only ones in the park? Oopps

  4. No shit.

    Now that I’m charge of four herds of eighth-graders, I can pick out the ones whose moms let them have pacifiers until they were 10. Some of them may still have them. One came into class today with a little blanket. There aren’t enough parents like you two. Gimme a holler.

  5. Where is that girl’s mother? Probably talking on her cell phone…

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