Every Friday night there’s a gymnastics company in my local town that has an open gym for $10 per child. During the two and half hours that you allow your child access to the gym, the children are allowed to run wild through the gym and play on all the equipment. This activity to me is sheer chaos. I would never, ever be a volunteer during this event. It amazes me that this gym has continued to offer this service after seeing what they endure week after week.
Each Friday I pay for it, and each Friday my Little refuses to let me leave. We get there and he will insist that I stay and play; yet I am not allowed on the mats. My estimates are that there are maybe 35-75 children during the evening that come to the gym during these hours. 75 little noses to wipe, 75 sets of tears to dry. I usually stay and write my column, or catch up on my emails.
The first night we came there was a set of siblings that may or may not have been thrown through the door by their parents. I didn’t actually see the parents drop them off; they just mysteriously appeared. Within less than ten minutes, the reasons why were glaringly apparent. The siblings were punching, hitting and kicking one another and running into the other children with their antics. Other parents were looking at me; and none of us were making eye contact with the two anti-Christs. I grabbed the little girl by the shirt and told her that she was not appropriate. She replied that I wasn’t her mother and I couldn’t discipline her. She kicked my shin and told me she hated me. These kids are the reasons that parents need a night out.
The next week a little girl who was four years old was bouncing on the trampoline. I sat writing my column, watching her. My stomach was literally hurting FOR her. The gym staff served pizza to the kids and within moments the little blondie was bouncing away again. I should have had a timer on her! Within a few minutes she came running over to me holding her mouth with her tiny little hand. No, no, no, no! I refuse to be thrown up on. When people throw up, I have sympathy pukes. I vigorously started shaking my head “no” at her as she approached and I uncontrollably found myself yelling at the staff, “she’s gonna pukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkke!!!!” By the time the staff had reached her, there was vomit all in her hands and they ushered her into the bathroom to finish. My Little screamed when he saw it, “she threw up her pizza!” Yep; thank you again, Little, for making me stay!
On Halloween they encouraged the children to dress up in costume. Mmmm. So not only were the masses super crazy, but they were acting particularly insane because of Halloween. Another night that Little refused to let me leave. The kids were out of control. Do you think that parents intentionally allow their children to act a fool in public when they aren’t there? What do you think that most parents think their kids do when they are in environments like this? So help me, if my children EVER acted like this and another mother told me, my children may/may not ever see the light of day.
Tonight there are maybe 30 children. There is a current group of five boys who are literally incapable of sitting still during their stretches. They are holding their arms over their mouths and making noises into their arm, giving the impression that they are farting. Again, just to reiterate, I would not ever allow my children to act like this. I’m contemplating locking these five kids in the bathroom, though that may be deemed highly inappropriate. Oddly, these are the five oldest children in the gym. Do you think that boy’s mental stability declines as they reach 10-15 years old?
Big is 12 years old. Yesterday he asked me if he could spray paint his old scooter, to which I told him he could, but he needed to spray either on the side of the house or in the grass. Today as the sun came up, I looked into the backyard to see a perfect little scooter outline in my backyard gravel. There were little handrail marks on the back fence where he rested it to paint it. So *cute* right? The other day I asked him to grab me a water from the fridge – which he did – but he left the fridge door wide open for two hours until I saw it again. He left for school the other morning and left the front door swinging in the breeze; for all rapists and serial killers to enter our home.
I wonder if parents lovingly dropped their children off tonight and wished them well; told them to have a good time, to behave themselves, and kissed them gently on the forehead. Their little angels were off to play. Once the door to the gym shut, the children forgot everything they were ever told and became just plain dumb again.
The parents will return to the feet-smelling gym at 930 pm, after having a great date night. I will have sat here for 2.5 hours, watching children cry, wipe their noses, smell like body odor, and make fart noises repeatedly. Ten pizzas will have been devoured, and 36 ice cream bars will have been melted into the tummies of these rowdy children. I will have watched kids try to do tumbling moves and accidentally kick the children next to them. I will watch the gym coach somehow block all this out, and sing along to John Legend in the sweetest voice I have ever heard.
Parents: your children were not ok. Your kids acted total fools tonight and I witnessed it all. If they tell you everything was fine and that they were well behaved, they are LYING. Enjoy your night out; for me, it’s a parent’s night IN. Lucky me. Coaches: you are the angels. Thank you for your patience and teaching these kids some manners.