Yep, I let my kids be <gasp> little kids. When a kid is a bit cranky I do the same thing I do for a baby. If they're potty trained I probably don't need to check their diaper. Are they hungry, low blood sugar can make anyone cranky. Are they thirsty? dehydration can make anyone moody. Do they need cuddled, everyone needs a hug and a smile. Do they need some fresh air, it does the body wonders and the change of scenery can change a mood. That's right folks, I don't punish crankiness.
I also let my kids play in puddles, even if it's a mud puddle. You should have seen the looks, comments, and shock that occurred at the park today. People were quickly rushing their kids away from the puddle. Don't even think about it, don't go by the puddle. I would have thought that maybe it was the radioactive rainwater that people were worried about. Except that this has been happening since before I was even a mother. I remember doing nanny work in college and seeing mothers rush their kids from the puddles. I looked and inspected the puddle but never could find what crime it had committed. I knew with all the fuss over the puddle that my kids would soon find it. Sure enough, they found it. They then put rocks in it, found sticks to stir it and made a lovely stone soup. People were not too impressed with the fact I let my kids play in it though. Oddly enough, the kids came clean and their clothes made it into the wash just fine. They had a great time, if that matters.
If you don't like them getting wet in puddles you probably wouldn't want to watch them play in the rain then. Oh how we love a warm, thunder less rain. If it is at least a moderate rain, it is such fun to go out to the gutter (since we live on a hill) and let the water rush over our bare toes. It's a fun way to "roll" the ball too, if someone stands at the gutter at one end of the driveway and puts the ball into the water to rush down to the other end of the driveway. This also works well with leaves, Crocs, etc.
Not only do my kids have a sand table for playing in the sand but we have a Mud Pie kitchen. Yes, complete with a mixer to mix the mud with. Sorry, I own a bathtub and washing machine so I just don't take much issue with messes.
Another thing people seem to take issue with is noise. It is perfectly OK for an adult to speak loudly, especially in the middle of a restaurant or when attached to a cell phone. A baby is not allowed to squeal in delight. An adult can scream at a sports player or team while watching a game outside (or heck, many even inside). A child shouldn't yell when they are excitedly playing outside though. You'll have to excuse me if my kid is yelling at the park, I don't see a reason she shouldn't be allowed to.
My autistic daughter rode in the stroller until she was 6, she loved to block out the world with the canopy. She was known (and still is) to wander away. Besides, you really don't want to see her when she gets overstimulated. She looked just like any other 6 year old so I am sure you thought her quite lazy when you saw her riding. You probably thought her quite rude too, when you asked her if she was too big too ride and she didn't even acknowledge your existence much less answer back "yes ma'am". My son is HUGE, he is over a head taller than some kids his age and the same size as his older sister. You probably thought he was 6 too when you saw him riding when he was 3. Luckily you didn't ask him if he was too big to ride because he probably would have growled at you since he was pretending to be a dog that day.
I am not sure if the way my kids have been known to dress is their own sense of fashion or a lack of fashion. Having seen some of the designer clothes out there, I think it is their own style. Yes, that is my daughter in the dress at the park (playing in the puddle). Yes, that is also my daughter with 9 ponytails (haven't you ever heard of the Pokemon, ninetails). The ponytails rival her sister's dozen flowered clippies lined up along the hair near her forehead. My son dresses himself every day, he is very proud of himself, even if those 2 shades of blue clash to most people. Most importantly, rain boots go with everything (rain or shine).
It's OK if you don't agree. We can just agree to disagree.