So I’m at the playground with Zoey. We’re having a perfectly lovely time — strolling from the slide to the swings, pausing to pet a tree. The breeze is gentle, the sun is sunny, and we can smell the ocean (which is about 50 yards away). Zoey is singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ from the sound of music as she holds my pointer finger and leads me towards the twisty slide.
In quick succession 3 mini vans pull up. Before the first van is fully stopped the the side door is flung open and 3 boys jump/push/climb out. Zoey and I stop in our tracks, alarmed to see kids launching themselves out of a MOVING VEHICLE. The next two vans pull in and more boys pile out. All 8 boys are now running directly towards us as we are between them and the playground. Zoey is clinging to my leg. The boys are yelling. Mostly just making noise like ARG! and YAAAAA! Except for one boy who is inexplicably yelling, “Die! Die! DIEEEEEEEEEEE!” The boys, none of whom have a sense of personal space, run within 2 inches of us. Zoey hides her face and begins to mutter, “No no no no.” Several of the boys pick up large sticks and begin to hit them as hard as they can against the side of the slide. Two of the boys are wresting on the ground. The mothers, wearing over-sized sunglasses and toting ginormous Coach purses, climb out of the vans and teeter across the playground in their high heeled flip-flops.
I pick up Zoey and take her to a part of the playground that is clearly designed for the under 5 set. But the boys swarm us. The boys are running (!) with sticks (!!) pretending they are guns (!!!). One of the other mothers comes over to us. She waves vaguely in the direction of the sweaty mass of running/wresting/yelling boys and sighs. “Three of them are mine.” “Wow. They certainly are, um, energetic” I offer. The woman does a half smile and looks longingly down at Zoey. “You sure are lucky to have a girl. You and your daughter are at home having tea parties and my boys are out picking up dead animals.” Before I can even think what to say to this, the woman is charging across the sand to one of her boys, “I told you not to hit him on the head or the face! Give. Me. That. Stick. AndImeannowmister!”
I take Zoey’s hand and lead her towards the car. She’s holding on to me tighter than before and I’m feeling sort of smug. My relatively mellow girl child and I are headed home where she won’t pretend that anything is a gun and she won’t be roaming the yard for dead animals. I am happy with my one daughter. Who isn’t a boy. Or three.