Had an interesting experience today: the kids are with Linda on Tuesdays, but since it’s so beastly cold today (the high was 1F and the wind chill got us down to about -24F, making it one $#@$# cold day!) school was closed. Stuck at home for the morning, she braved the cold and took them to the local city recreational center so they could swim and shoot hoops (the 7yo girl and 10yo boy, respectively).
I go most every day to work out at the same facility, generally late morning but today’s schedule had me showing up late in the afternoon when it was rather astonishingly busy. Not a big deal, but I generally like to get into my “zone” and just focus on exercise, not socialize or have to track kids or otherwise parent.
Which is why when I bumped into my son drinking a Dr. Pepper in the lobby (without permission: we don’t like him drinking soda) it seemed like we were heading on a path that wasn’t going to end anywhere positive…
“Mom let you get a soda?” I asked. “Yup” he answered, and walked away looking a bit sullen.
Not wanting to step into the middle of things, I didn’t pursue it, but still, it bugged me as I was pretty darn sure that he wasn’t being entirely honest and forthcoming about the soda: neither Linda nor I like to have the kids drink the sugary beverages.
Then he walked into the weight room ahead of me, a room that explicitly is labelled “no children: must be 16yo to enter unaccompanied”. I pointed that out and he said that he’d already been in there and that I’d let him be there before.
I had, but when I was in there too, and when it was totally quiet and I could supervise what he was doing.
s/fx: sound of me slapping myself on the forehead
I pointed out that he couldn’t be in there unsupervised so he vanished and when I came back in my workout gear, ready to go in and use some equipment, he came in too and got on one of the very few pieces of equipment that wasn’t in use. It was busy. Busy with adults. There were no teens, it was all adults working out. And my little 10yo man, pumping away and watching the news on TV.
I told him he needed to get out, he was too young and it was too busy.
He took a step or two away, then when I turned back to my own workout, got back on the equipment. We went through that dance twice.
Then I was fed up and climbed off my machine, saying to him “if I need to, I’ll carry you out, but you just can’t be in here.” Yeah, I was probably a bit miffed by that point. I don’t really like when my kids don’t listen and figure that if I’m not watching, they’ve got free reign to do whatever they want.
He skulked out and vanished.
Later I called and explained that the rules of the gym area were that you had to be 16yo to be in unsupervised, and that 12yo’s and up could be in supervised if they’ve already taken an Intro to Weight Training class. “It’s your safety I’m worried about: that equipment is pretty dangerous and you can easily get hurt.”
He heard me, and he seemed to understand, but he wasn’t very happy about the whole experience. Then again, nor was I.
Jeez. I hate to say it, but sometimes it’s easier to just not bump into the kids at all. Y’know?
I think you did the right thing by calling and explaining why you got upset then told him why he couldn’t stay. I know many parents who wouldn’t explain it. Even though you got upset, you handled the situation better than most would.