I've spent 2 hours of my afternoon in an indoor play centre. I assume they have similar places all over the UK, but here in the Midlands they seem to have replaced the 'garden' as the place to let your kids let off some steam. (I'm sure it's because we're paranoid about muck these days and won't let them play out if it's wet!)
My girls both love these play centres. But conditionally. The condition seems to be that there are practically no other children there, OR, that all other children in the place are the same age as them and preferably also girls.
I thought this slightly odd to start with. The first occasion we were in such a place and the elder came running up to tell me she wanted to go home, I thought it was a one-off occurrence. But she was adamant that they were "too many scary big boys". She clearly wasn't enjoying herself anymore, so we did, indeed, come home.
Today though I took the chance to have a good look around whilst we were there. I only had the elder with me, so I could take a breath! And I was fairly surprised to notice the level of aggression the young boys had. Do we really bring our children up to meet such stereotypes? Or are they just naturally like that, and we can't really do much about it, even if we wanted to?
The boys all dived into the 'football' area - of course. Again, stereotype? Who taught them that!? And proceeded to wallop the ball at each other, flinging their legs about in a manner which, I'm sorry, but even I could tell would warrant a red card and a comment about dangerous play. And then, when a ball accidentally whacked them in the head, they squared up to the boy who had kicked the ball and started shouting about how they could take them.
If it were girls, the offending girl would be apologising before the victim had chance to turn around, and the victim would no doubt say, as a result, "it's fine, thanks".
I guess I'm just so shocked that our boys have such anger inside them. And it made me wonder why? Is it our fault as parents? Or are they just dealt that hand of genes?
Just before we left, a girl, was being mercilessly teased by a bunch of about 5 boys. Well, I say teased, but that's far too tame. They were throwing (I toyed with 'chucking' there - and technically, up here in the North, that would be more accurate and, I'd argue, more representative of the manner of the throwing!). They were throwing those sponge shapes they have in these places; that are less like sponges and more like bricks when they hit you in the face; straight at this girl of about 7 or 8 years. She clearly knew them, and was defending herself well, and even attempting a few throws of her own. But then, the boy got too close, and the well aimed kick he received floored him for at least a minute.
I had too chuckle, even though it really, when you think about it, isn't that funny. But come on...I hear some of you say... Did he not ask for it!? If you start violence, should you not expect violence in return? Actually no. And that's why I teach my girls; no kicking, hitting or throwing at people. Because quite frankly it's dangerous, and I worry where it may lead.
Do mums of boys teach the boys that? Let me know. I'm intrigued. Do we really treat girls and boys so differently at such a young age?
Cor - that got a bit deep... sorry.... Back to being yummy next time I think. Tricks like washing your hair and getting the conditioner on so it can do it's thing while you scrub everything else. Or writing envelopes and thank you cards, whilst simultaneously talking on the phone.... I'm full of time saving multi-tasking me! Pity you can't cook dinner whilst sleeping... I'd like that one!