I’ve mentioned the mall playgrounds before, I believe, both in the paper and online. Well, we were back there again this past weekend. This time it was all four of us, and we were letting the kids blow off some steam after a productive shopping trip.
They both ran immediately to a giant plastic car that was unoccupied. By giant, I mean it was about six feet long – big enough for the kids to sit in and climb on. They hopped right in and started pretending.
Soon other kids were coming over to look. They’d run over, watch for a little bit, and then go back to the more active play structures. After only a few such trips, C hopped out and ran over to join them. N, suddenly finding himself in the car by himself, climbed out and started to walk away.
As he left, another child hopped in.
N was tired. His older brother had just run off to play with the other kids, and now he’d lost his seat. He turned back to the other boy and said “No! No! You get out!” The other boy, who was at least three years older, clearly didn’t understand why this two year old was trying to boss him around. He just shrugged and went back to playing.
N burst into tears. I don’t know if it was because he was so tired, or if he was trying to manipulate the situation. Either way, though, I needed to go get him. I was standing on the outside of the play area and watching. I walked rapidly to the entrance and headed in.
C was faster than I was. Before I could even get in the play area, he came running to his brother’s rescue. Stepping past N, he got right in the other boy’s face. “No! You get out of there right now! Right Now! Get Out!”
The other boy, who still didn’t know just what was going on, got out and ran away. I arrived as he disappeared. I tried to call him back so I could apologize, but he was gone into the crowd of kids. Who could blame him?
I turned back to find N sitting in the car, happily steering, and C walking back to the playground.
I scooped them up and we headed out, of course.
Now I’m torn. On the one hand, it was really good to see C come running to his brother’s rescue. On the other, N’s tears dried up awfully quickly.
I sense trouble brewing.