I took Baby to the park tonight, which she loves. She plays in the bark, she adores going on the swings, the slides, the little airplane shaped thing that shakes; she just loves the park.
Sometimes there are other people at the park when we go, sometimes not. Today there were teenagers hanging around on the baby equipment. Three of them, just sitting there.
As a middle school teacher, I'm not too threatened by teens. Mostly just annoyed. I get that they want to be cool and hang out somewhere. A park is a pretty local, open place where they can assert their teenagerness and claim a territory. They can scare off all the other people who want to play. Well, not this mama and baby.
I pretended like they weren't there. I didn't make eye contact. I just interacted with Baby like I normally do. I pushed her on the swings. I chased after her as she toddled within two feet of the teens. She noticed them and tried to turn on her Baby charm. She smiled, but they kept right on with their gossiping. She was rather confused that they weren't oogling over her, I think.
The teenage girl who had been sitting right by the slide moved over to the edge of the equipment as we came closer. I pushed Baby down the slides. She loved it. It felt awkward having these teens give me the evil eye, and I really hated the fact that I heard a few curse words, but I wasn't going to back down and leave. No way was I going to lose this imaginary silent battle over park territory. Baby and I weren't backing down.
Then it got colder and darker and it was time to go home.
Until next time. Baby and I will be back.