Here’s a thought: I think kids secretly hate playgroups.
I hosted a playgroup at my house today for the young moms at church, and I really should be taking a nap after all that crazy instead of writing this blog post.
It’s really something that you can’t put into words properly.
I prepped all morning. Even though it was in my backyard, I still felt the need to compulsively clean my entire house in the off chance a toddler and possibly his mommy might step into it for a whole 5 seconds. So, yes, I was cleaning bathrooms at 8 am this morning. And, yes, toddlers used my bathroom and one mom walked in my house. One.
In an effort to make this less stressful for the mommies, they’ve decided that the playgroup should be in the backyard. SO, of course I felt the need to clean that up too. I hauled every toy, piece of chalk and folding chair I could muster up out onto my back deck for fear the little ones would not be entertained. I wiped down wet chairs from the rainstorm the night before, and I cleaned out the sandbox and that cool contraption I bought the other day that my kids are already tired of. I wanted a nap by 9:50 am when it was time for everyone to finally come over.
And, then the troops arrived.
At first, all was going well. We had plenty of shade, and the kids were happy with a new yard to play in. Honestly, I’m not sure how many kids were there. I think there were about 20 kids. I just did a re-count in my head, and yep, there were 20. And, these are all preschool age and younger. Umm. I’m glad they all made it out alive is all I can say.
But, in usual playgroup fashion, the moms stayed on the shady deck while the kids roamed free. I can only imagine how at some point, playgroups just makes toddlers angry. So they start rebelling.
At first, it’s in quiet ways like dumping two buckets of chalk into that water filled cool contraption that I mentioned above. I went over there to check on the little ones that were all too quiet and found water the color of blood. I started scooping the chalk up the best I could. It was pretty disgusting. Note to self: never leave chalk un-supervised in the hands of 20 angry children.
Next, I notice bubbles getting poured out quietly, and down another kid’s back. Some were just being eaten. Bubbles, not kids.
Then, there was a pack of 3-4 year old boys in the lower part of the yard spinning each other like crazy on that swing we just hung up, playing with jagged rocks, and digging up huge ant piles. No big deal.
Next, there were the wanderers. You know, the ones that end up in places that your kids never dreamed of going in your yard before like the tiny crack between the house and the fence, or into the jungle of ivy where snakes are most likely lurking, or even worse, onto your bed in your spotless master bedroom with a package of fruit snacks when we were all supposed to be outside.
At one point, I go inside to wash Chandler’s hands and realize a fruit snack caked with grass is stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Lovely.
My yard looked like a package of over-used dollar store toys exploded all over it.
Then, when the sun starts to rise even higher, and the little ones are losing steam from sheer exhaustion of having to entertain themselves with a soccer ball and some jump rope, they start being more overtly angry. Blood sugar levels start to drop. Poor things can’t always vocalize that they really hate playgroup, not love it, so they do things like slap each other, push each other, steal each other’s toys, and smash each other’s snacks on your back deck.
I sat there, being the only overly-anxious mom that I am and thought, “What must it be like to be a care-free mom that doesn’t worry about 5 toddlers sharing the same sippy, or your kid playing in blood colored water? or the fact that a child you are in charge of is hitting anyone in sight because she just wants some dang goldfish!!”
I realize that I’m in the minority and that most moms don’t worry or stress over stupid stuff like germs and smashed granola bars on the back deck. Maybe YOU are one of those easy-going types that surround me everywhere I look. I admire you, and simultaneously want to shake you.
And, I think to myself, “WHAT ARE WE DOING?!!!”
I doubt my kids even likes this.
In theory, I love them. Moms sitting around bonding while kids play happily together sharing toys and enjoying one another’s company, but when I witness events like I witnessed today, I’m pretty sure that most kids probably hate playgroups.
There were two falls down stairs, several beatings, and one bloody nose at the end of all of it. But, hey! we got the kids out of the house, right? So, we did a good thing today. Right? RIGHT?
All I know is that I’m exhausted, and pretty sure if Chandler could talk he would tell me to never EVER do that again. And, those other 19 kids would probably agree.