Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playground Wars, Round I (Mom vs Mom)

So I was at the playground today with my two littles ones and four other mothers and their children.  While there, I was introduced to a new mom by one of my good mom-friends.  We exchanged casual hellos, you know the typical greeting. 

Fast forward an hour later and I'm realizing that this new mom's son is a little aggressive on the playground.  I have two daughters and my oldest is a little timid, at times. 

Ok, here's the situation.  I am pushing my 15 month old on the swings and watching my three year old on the playground structure.  I watch the new mom's son walk up to my daughter, push his finger on her head and push her.  My daughter stands up and looks at the little boy and over towards me regarding reassurance.  Please note, this was all unprovoked.  My daughter had literally walked over the bridge on the playstructure and this little boy took it upon himself to walk up to her and push her.  I saw the whole thing. 

I am also with my 15 month old who is on the baby swing.  So I call over to MY daughter, "It's ok honey.  Just walk away from him."  My daughter is staring at me still wondering what to do.  Again, I address MY daughter, "Just don't play with him and get away from him, honey." 

Enter the new mom, "What happened."  

Well she asked, right?

Me, "Your son pushed my daughter." 

New mom, "Well I believe in talking things out." 

Ok, deep breathes. 

Me,"  Well I don't know you. And I wasn't reprimanding your child.  I was talking to my child and telling her to remove herself from the situation."

Hello?  Where was this new mom when the altercation happened?  She wasn't even watching her son!  If she was, why didn't she walk over and tell her son not to push?  Suddenly she wants to talk things out? 

New mom walks over to her son and asks him if he pushed my daughter.  By this time her son is crying (because I think he knows he's going to get in trouble).  But maybe it's because he's still on the playstructure and new mom is telling him to get off.

Then I hear new mom say, "It's ok.  Did she push you first?" 

Really?  Come on...

Ooh and did I mention that the new mom's friend is pushing her baby on the swing next to me?  One word...awkward.

"No,"  I mumble under my breath, she did not push him.  My daughter looks blankly at new mom, probably wondering what is going on.

Now kudos to new mom for actually telling her son that it's not nice to push.  But then she grabs him and pulls him off the playstructure and mumbles (loud enough for me to hear 20 feet away)..."Unbelievable.  Completely unbelievable."

Obviously these moments of unbelief are addressed at me.  I'm not proud of it, but I take the bait and respond.

"I'm not sure what your problem is?  I don't know you.  I don't know your son.  I was not addressing your child.  I did not reprimand your child.  I was simply telling MY daughter to get away from him and remove herself from the situation." 

Granted I was yelling this across the playground at the woman as she was walking away.

To which her response was, "What a F*&@ing biatch."  Now let me clarify, she used the unedited versions of those two words.  Yes, I do sound like a tattletail, don't I?

Now this potty mouthed comment about me was said to her friend -- who had by this time vacated the baby swing and was quickly heading over to her stroller with her baby in hand. 

But none-the-less, new mom made this comment loud enough that my sole remaining mommy-friend who was sitting at a bench on the other side of the playstructure clearly heard her  -- and it was said directly in front of new mom's toddler -- you know, the one who pushed my daughter.  

Hummm, nice language.  Maybe now I know why your child is so ill behaved. 

Should I have handled it differently?  Maybe.  But then again I was also with my 15 month old and couldn't abandon her on the baby swings to go over and quietly talk to my daughter about moving away and not playing with the little boy.  Does it bother me that this new mom thinks I'm a f$#@ing biatch?  A little but honestly, after hearing her potty mouth I really do feel like my response to the situation was correct.

I don't feel it was my place to reprimand her son.  Or to even call attention to his misdeeds.  I only offered up the facts as to what happened when new mom asked. 

The only thing I did was to instruct my child to remove herself from the situation and to get away from the little boy and play elsewhere.  What would you have done in my situation?  I'm curious, what are your thoughts?


adds said...

Caught ya on social moms. I left a huge post to this on there! I'm a hopping and a bopping blogs tonight! :)
Have a wonderful day!

Signing Mama said...

having 3 kiddos super close in age I have had to choose carefully in similar situations. I have always pondered over how I could watch over 2 or 3 of my kids at the playground and know enough about their tendancies to respond with either the correct "I'm sorry" or "oh did I miss something?" while a mom of ONE kid doesn't stay on top of her aggrevie child. Ugh. It is a tough call, but I have left my toddler in a baby swing in order to make it clear that I need to "help" one of my other children who has been on both ends of said situation. Moms who do have kids that tend to do naughty things on the playground hate to feel like they are being called out. She responded this way because she was either embarrassed, or something of that nature. Just another mom trying to do it all - we have to do way more in our mommy worlds than our moms did and it ain't easy - which is why I don't aim for perfet anymore ; )