I started writing this on my personal blog, but I felt like this was a much better conversation to have with this group, as it kind of pairs nicely with our upcoming Lunch and Learn workshop on Raising Liberated People
(Image of their Firetruck Exhibit)
If you’ve been following me, know me personally, or have browsed my blog, you might have picked up on the fact that I am on this natural journey. But, what does that really mean? Well, nothing really. Apparently my goal is to just be and for others to back the fuck off.
Anyway, my Families for Equity group and our Homeschoolers of Color group have been jointly working together to organize several different activities. One thing that we have been fairly consistent about is a monthly trip to the Staten Island Children’s Museum. It’s an amazing building filled with quite a few interactive exhibits for the kids to play and burn some energy. We mostly go because it’s a way for the kids to get together during the cold months. Now that it is nice, I was hoping their outdoor exhibits would be open, but this last visit happened to have been on a rainy day.
Anyway, the place is amazing, but I’m getting a little tired of getting chastised for not hovering over my children as they play.
This is the text I sent to the other families that I was meeting up with. I think I may need to go into more detail to explain what happened and why I have so much of an issue with this.
I will save you all of the back story and side notes as to just get the basic facts across. The above “J” references my oldest child who is almost 5. He needed to go to the bathroom (which is downstairs). So I attempted to rush him there to prevent an accident. I have 2 other children. It is virtually impossible to swoop the other 2 up in a situation like that. Though, 1 did follow me, the other chose to play. That’s the one referenced as “K” above.
While waiting at the bottom of the stairs, I decided to walk back up to check on “K”. My oldest was taking much longer than I thought and I didn’t want “K” to get into anything. (My daughter, is with me the whole time)
So, as I’m walking to check on “K”, the elevator opens and there is a woman holding “J”, asking another parent if this was their child. I identify myself as the parent, take his hand, and comment that I was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.
We proceed to catch up to “K” and all 3 children play as I sit off to the side. This is when an employee decides to check at the front desk to see if the child was returned to their family. Then, walk over to me to inform me that I need to “watch” my children! Excuse me?? I informed her that I was watching my children. He knew where to go and that I was doing the best I could alone with 3 kids in that situation. We also discussed how my almost 5 year old is not a concern in possibly running off. However, one of my younger children is a concern of mine and I try to keep tabs on him as much as I can.
Our conversation ends, after she introduces herself to me, then tells me what days she works. (I do not remember her name, but do remember that she works Wednesdays and Fridays, days I’m now looking to avoid going on)
Then, one of the families I’m supposed to be meeting up with, arrives. Her children need to eat and decide to go downstairs. My daughter decides to go with them. After they go on the elevator, my oldest, “J” decides he wants to go with them. I tell him to go ahead and catch up. We have been to this place several times, by this point. He knows to just walk down the stairs.
What happens as he’s going to meet up with them? I hear that same woman asking him if he knows where his mother is. I yell out “he’s fine”. But realize she may not be able to hear me. So, I walk over to tell her he’s going to meet up with friends.
She proceeds to walk down the stairs and follow him. (There really is no need).
I’m not sure of the sequence of events, but based on the text, right before this exchange, I had to deal with someone else “warning” me about how my younger son, “K” was playing with a structure. I informed her that I thought he was fine. (Her reaction appeared to be concern and confusion that I wouldn’t be more worried about my child’s well being)
This plank house for reference (to the right in the above image). Apparently it shook when he touched it and she was worried about it falling on him. Ok…
So, with all of that, I start to write this series of texts to my group.
Ugh, the one downside to here is some of the intrusive staff. I let J go to the bathroom by himself. And while waiting for him by the stairs, someone brought him up the elevator. Luckily I was walking by because I needed to check on K.
Then, the other one, who attempted to scold me about it, was just trying to stop him from catching up with S.
This is, of course, after someone else warned me about K playing with this plank house.
OH AND WHILE IM WRITING THIS, SHE JUST COMMENTED. “Don’t lose your children”
I’m gonna get banned from here, if I end up cursing someone out
So, after that last remark about losing my children, I decided to grab my last child, “K”, who was still playing, and join the rest of the group downstairs. This is where I learn that this same woman approached the other mom, referenced as “S” in the texts, and told her that she needs to keep an eye on the kids. Luckily “S” don’t take nobody’s bs and told her that she needs to go upstairs and take that up with the mother. This makes her last comment to me even more infuriating.
So, at this point, I am already done with this woman. The last family joins our group and we try our best to enjoy the rest of our stay. Of course, we still end up seeing her quite a few more times.
Then, we end up upstairs. I comment that I’m going to enjoy it up there because there isn’t as much “monitoring”. We usually rarely see random employees just floating around that aren’t normally up there tending to the space. But, for some reason, she popped up and happened to become the show wrangler for my youngest son’s rainboots that he decided he didn’t want to keep on.
Anyway, let’s talk about this last encounter. So, we finally decide to leave since most of us were just ready to call it a day. We round up all of the kids and make our way to the elevator. And what do you know, this same woman happens to be on the elevator with 2 other families when the doors open. Unfortunately, what also happens is that a few of our children decide to rush on to the elevator before anyone else could get off.
We try our best to explain to the children that they need to wait for the others to get off first. But, this woman is trying to tell the kids that they need to get off of the elevator, so the others can get off. What type of sense does that make? It just adds to the confusion.
Finally we are all on the elevator. Our whole group and this woman. Her back to the doors, blocking the buttons because my oldest, “J” wants to push the button. But, she doesn’t want him to push the emergency button. Why are you still on the elevator? I stand between her and my son, moving him back so that she doesn’t come in contact with him. Then I inform her that he only wants to press the floor button. She finally relaxes, then promptly gets off of the elevator, right before the doors close. I seriously can’t even express how annoyed I was at that whole interaction. Like what is the big deal with wanting control so much of what my child was doing?
I post all of this out of an annoyance that so many people in our society take great issue with letting children just be. Instead of observing what is happening or even asking questions, people are so caught up in wanting to control the situation and just get involved for no reason. Often, making the situation worse.
Now, I have a child who is all over the place. In fact, the young, black woman that sits behind the front desk did come up to me to let me know that “K” was outside. Her tone was neutral and respectful. There was no judgement in my parenting or any need to present herself as an authority figure. I’m just tired of people thinking they need to insert themselves into everything, as if they know what’s best.
We are definitely going back, though. We have a membership that will not go to waste. But, I am going to try to not go on days where his woman will be present. And if that isn’t an option, she is going to end up getting an earful as to why she needs to mind her own business. I’m hoping I will be able to keep it pg, as I really don’t want to get banned from the museum.
Have any suggestions? Or similar experiences? I would love for you to share.