I am not a confrontational person, I can usually find a way around very confrontational moments. Maybe the “Minnesota Nice” has grown on me, but I really try to avoid them. But, when it comes to my kids, like most moms, we can usually step out of our comfort zone when needed. Well, today was the day I managed to defy my own odds. We were celebrating Asher’s first birthday with family and friends. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a light breeze, perfect for our playground/splash pad party. We arrived early to set everything up. By the end of the party, the kids were having a blast and the parents were relaxing and enjoying conversation. At one point the kids came to us upset because another child on the playground was squirting them in the face with a squirt gun. At point blank range. So, our initial response was to tell them to tell the child not to do that. Ask him nicely to stop, if he doesn’t then come back and get us. Kids will be kids right? I do realize, my kids aren’t perfect. Honestly, it’s usually me having to tell them to take it easy, watch out for little kids, quit running. You get the picture. Besides, who knows if they were playing back as kids tend to do? But really, who brings a water gun to a splash pad? Isn’t there enough water anyway?
About 5 minutes later, I see this kid squirt one of our kids in the face, about 8 inches away. They’re telling him to stop and he’s smiling and not stopping. Elijah is even trying to move the gun away from him, clearly getting frustrated. We’ve worked really hard to teach Elijah to be patient and not lose his temper. He did really good but got blasted hard in the face. He came over, clearly ready to cry and was really frustrated. So, another parent at the party, and myself, walked around the playset looking for the boy to tell him to stop, since clearly his parent was not watching him, or didn’t care. This continued for several minutes to the point that a few of us were looking for the parents because the boy, even after we told him to stop, did not. I have to admit, I did have a moment. You know, those moments where you daydream something happening only to snap back to reality. I thought perhaps if I were to get the water gun from him, I could just break it in half and he could take it back to his parent. But, I thought it would be better to just try to talk to the parent instead. So, we try finding them and no luck. So we go sit back down. We’re all sitting there talking about the situation and why wouldn’t the parents be watching, who needs a squirt gun at a water place anyway?? Well, it continues, even to the point that I saw him squiring another girl (not with our group) and she was telling him to stop. We finally notice a woman talking to the boy. My friend walks over and asks her if the boy is her son. I’ll paraphrase the conversation below (my memory isn’t always great after such events).
My Friend: (calmly) “We wanted to let you know that your son has been squirting our kids in the face. And he has continued to do so even after they are telling him to stop.”
Lady: “Well, they were asking him to do it.”
Me: “Okay, but they did ask him to stop and he didn’t, so we’re just letting you know.”
Lady: “Well he’s been cooped up since Tuesday because I broke my ****ing foot.”
Me: “You don’t need to use that language. We’re just letting you know that he wouldn’t stop even when asked.”
Lady: “You don’t need to talk to my son.”
Me: “You need to control your child.”
We proceed to walk away, because at that point, I was shaking and nothing good was going to come from continuing the conversation. The worst part, she and her friends were the group of people that were sitting at the table NEXT to us and were listening to us try to figure out who his parents were!
Chick, I get it. You broke your foot, you’re crazy little boy probably has been climbing the walls wanting to get out of the house. But that doesn’t give him a free pass to be a brat on the playground! He could have hurt someone, or honestly, gotten hurt because I know a few of our kids were teetering on the edge of getting physically confrontational. Your lack of parenting, and my need to step in to protect my child, does not mean that you can get mad at me. Step up your game so we don’t have to correct him. You have a couple of other friends with you that could have told him to stop. Better yet, don’t bring a stupid squirt gun to a water park! Play with the stuff there and save the toy for home. Either way, if he doesn’t know what “no” means now, I hate to see what happens as he gets older. At the end of the day, I survived the confrontation, no children were hurt, and I have no regrets about calling her out. I only hope, for her sake, he gets his ya-ya’s out at the park. Because I can’t imagine what he’s like at home, if that’s how he acts in public.