Mr. Potato Head

Quote: “I consider conversations with people to be mind exercises, but I don’t want to pull a muscle, so I stretch a lot. That’s why I’m constantly either rolling my eyes or yawning.”
Jarod Kintz, It Occurred to Me

During the heat wave a couple of weeks ago, Mike and I took the kids down to Port Discovery in Baltimore.  We had a great time at the museum and we spent the whole day in the air conditioning.  Best part was the kids didn’t fight at all and that is RARE in my house.  In fact, the only one who got in a fight was me…over a Mr. Potato Head.

 Chance and my husband went to the ground floor to play soccer and I took the three girls up to the third floor where there was a special exhibit. HUGE bin of accessories and mounted potato bodies around the outside of the bin. The girls immediately became engrossed in the game.  Other parents came by with their kids for a few moments and then wandered off to another section of the museum, but my kids kept going so I went over to a bench a few feet away.
I did some people-watching, but mostly just enjoyed sitting there watching my kids getting along.  Eventually Sylvia walks away from the table to get my hand and lead me to her creation.  But there is a problem.
She tips her head and then looks over at her neighbor’s creation.  THERE ARE THE LIPS FROM HER POTATO HEAD.  Sylvia reaches over, takes the lips, pushes them into place, nods her head and says, “Here’s the Potato-man I made, Mommy.”
     “That’s great, sweetie.  I really like it.”
Sylvia goes back to creating.
Now, it’s been a couple of weeks so I don’t remember the exact words, but this is pretty close.

Father-Dude:  That’s really great.
Me:       I’m sorry, what?
Father-Dude:  Your little girl just took a toy right off my daughter’s and you didn’t do anything.
                      I look at the cute little girl, smaller than Sylvia, and then at Sylvia.  Both are playing.  Neither is upset.  Neither is complaining.
Me:  It was on her Head first.  Your daughter took it off of my daughter’s.
Father-Dude: Well, she shouldn’t have left the table.
Me:  She left the table to come get me, to show me what she made!
Father-Dude:  Maybe you should have been right here with her.
Me:  The bench is five feet away!  It’s my height if I were laying down.  And she was playing nicely.
                    I wanted to say that I wasn’t a helicoptor parent, but I couldn’t think of the word.  So I rolled my eyes.
Father-Dude: No wonder children are rude.  They learn it from their parents.
Me:  (more eye-rolling)  Whatever.

So I cross my arms over my chest and stand there, helicoptoring, while my girls play. I do a Junie B. Jones huffy-breath a couple of times.  He leans forward to ask his daughter if she needs help.  She doesn’t.  Then Diana asks if I’ll come to her side of the table to look at her Potato-Man.
  I look at the Father-Dude.  “No,” I say in a snotty voice.  “I’m scared to move from here.”
Father-Dude sets his jaw.

Well, now I feel bad.  I’d like to apologize to Father-Dude.  Just because we disagreed didn’t give me the right to do all the theatrics and eyeball rolling.  I stated my case — my daughter didn’t “leave” the table and thus didn’t “give up” her right to the toy.  He was concerned that his child was being robbed.  I get it.
And, I also finally heard what my husband said about how we don’t have to always agree, we just have to communicate.  Dude and I were squabbling about our kids —- the ones who were ignoring the silly adults and getting down to the serious business of play. 

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