Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chronicles of the Mean Lady

Do you ever have days/weeks that you feel like you're just the meanest person in the world - not because you're trying to be mean, but you're trying to help kids learn and grow?

Yesterday at about 3:15 I was standing in my living room and watched the 3 year old neighbor boy take a toy from my yard and run.  I walked outside to confront him, but he was gone.  Sadly for him, his bike was still sitting in front of my house.  So I moved his bike to my porch and walked to his house.  I couldnt' see him, so I hollared to him that he could have his bike back when he brought my toy back.  I'm so concerned about this kid because he's 3... almost 4, and roaming my neighborhood, regularly unsupervised.  We don't live in the worst neighborhood, but this side of town is not known for safety.

Anyway, he came back several minutes later with his head hung low (one of the adults that is at his house sometimes - I don't know who lives there and who doesn't - had found him and sent him over with the toy).  He dropped the toy on the yard, and as he lifted his head, he saw his bike.  His jaw dropped and his eyes grew wide.  "You can't take my bike" he said to me.  So mean lady said, "If it's okay for you to take my things, then it must be okay if I want to take your things."  He did not like that idea.  I let him know that once he brought back my shovel (which I had seen him with 2 days before) and any other toys he had taken from my yard, he could have his bike.

Somehow he figured out what shovel I was talking about and brought it over in exchange for his bike.  Within minutes of me going inside, he was in my yard, picking up another toy.  Lesson learned?  I guess not.

TODAY: I felt so mean - I let the boy I babysit cry for nearly a full half an hour while I washed dishes and made lunch.  He's been gone for several weeks to visit family, so it's hard for him to adjust to being back, I'm sure.  As soon as I sat him at the lunch table, he stopped crying.  He ate nothing at all, but fell asleep on the table.

THEN: My own son, 18 months old, was drinking his milk.  He drinks from an open top cup at home.  He decided it would be fun to stick his hand in the cup.  We have regular "discussions" about that.  Mama was not in the mood to play the cup game, so took it away after only 1 warning.  Mean, mean mama.

Have you felt mean recently?  Has anyone learned from it?  Have you learned from it?


  1. I can't believe that neighbor boy thought it would be okay to take toys from your yard after you'd already taken his bike! I know he's young, but wow. Maybe you need to be a little more mean. Sometimes I feel really mean. Some days everything irritates me.

  2. I think Chronicles of the Mean Lady would be a great book title.

  3. Unfortunately, I am not sure the neighbors have many adults that are actively involved in their lives. They've got lots of adults in and out of their house, but frequently they seem to be free to do what they want.

    Elizabeth - I thought that too, that's why I used it.

  4. PMS struck our house again recently. I've been mean for a few days now. It's not like I do it on purpose, but there are times when you just have to let a kid cry or only give one warning - if not, you may just lose your sanity!

    And I'm the "mean mom" in our neighborhood. I don't mind - at least the kids know how to act around me, if not their own parents. (And, no matter WHAT kind of neighborhood you live in, a three year old can get hurt or into trouble! No child that young should be left unattended to roam the neighborhood!)

  5. I'm a mean neighbor lady too... I've always told the kids in the neighborhood that they have their own yard to play in please don't be running through mine, playing on my deck, on my patio and such. I said after a YEAR of complaining to not leave any toys in my yard or I'd throw them out when the trash came (of course I never did). after 3 years of having to pick up their toys and such out of my driveway when I came home.. I finally took this kids skateboard and threw it away. I told him that's it .. i'm throwing your skateboard away you must not want it since you left it in the middle of my driveway (AGAIN!.. 3 years now) for me to run over. They are rotten kids though. They play in every ones yard, on everyones porch, with everyones stuff, I had one of these kids POOP under my deck.. and pee on my tree. Needless tos ay I was not too nice about that one. They see me drive up and they run away. what ever I don't want my little one playing with hoodrats anyway!

  6. I really don't mind the neighbor kids playing at our house - if they are being supervised by the adults who are in charge of them. I just think it's scary that such little kids are free to run. It does make me crazy when they take our things, but again, I think it goes back to being watched.