Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mother Avenger

Today we ran errands in the morning and decided to grab a quick bite to eat for lunch at a fine establishment.  When you have children, the term "fine establishment" is loosely defined, primarily meaning that there's an indoor play area.  It's also safe to assume that all meals served there will involve ketchup and chocolate milk.

I opened the glass door that partitioned the play area from the rest of the restaurant, sealing in the squealing and smell of socks, and let my girls run among the other children.  I was the only parent present.  Within several minutes, I heard a little boy's voice calling names.  "Stupid head.  You're a stupid head."

I ducked my head under the slide and saw the boy, otherwise angel-faced, pointing a finger at my three-year-old daughter.  He backed her into a corner and leaned forward.  "You're stupid.  Poopy.  You're a stupid poopy head."

He had no time to react.  I moved directly in front of him and crouched down to his level, suddenly feeling very large and noting how he seemed quite small.  I waited quietly for one moment and then spoke calmly.  "The words you are using aren't kind, and you're saying those words to my daughter.  You need to stop, and you need to apologize.  I am her mother, and I will not let you treat her that way."  I held my gaze.

He stopped.  He swallowed.  He apologized.  Then, he left.

My daughter squeezed my hand.

If only protecting them from getting hurt always could be this easy.

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5 comments:

  1. I am so impressed by the way you handled that - I would have been tempted to call him a poopy. . . but, I hope that when I encounter this situation (unfortunately, I know it will happen sooner or later), I will instead remember your firm, gentle rebuke of this young boy. You are a great mama bear!

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  2. Thank you for providing a great model for me to follow! I'm always that person who realizes afterwards what I should have said, so I'm glad I'm now armed with a good response ahead of time!

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  3. Really good, I think. I've always heard that--if the other child's mother is present--I should give her a moment to handle it. If she isn't present; if she isn't paying attention; or if she chooses not to handle it; I should handle it. I think those are great rules of thumb.

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  4. Oh my gosh...My heartbeat started rising as I read what that boy was saying to your daughter! Bravo on handling it perfectly.

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  5. Brandee, you make a good point. If the other mother had been there, I wouldn't have stepped in immediately. Hopefully she would have handled it on her own in a proactive way, but when no other parent is there, you do what you must do. You become an avenger... :)

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