Last Thursday I picked up Audrey from daycare, the moment we stepped out of the gate she asked if we could go to the playground. I proposed that we go to the grocery instead then she excitedly counter-proposed “let’s go to the mall!” so I said “ok, let’s go to the playground.” Hah!
So when we reached the playground, she hurriedly went to the slide and just played there. Its not like she loooved that slide its just that there are only 4 things kids can play there – the slide, the swing, the thing where a kid goes inside the net and then you spin it, and the thing that a kid stands on then turns (oh yes this is me being all ignorant on things playground)
Because its already almost night, there are only 4-5 kids there including my daughter 3 of them were playing together. And just as Audrey was almost monopolising the slide – because my daughter isn’t the type that would suddenly throw herself into a group of kids, there’s this boy that climbed up and told her in a very authoritative voice “go away look for some other toys!” or something like that. I may not have heard the exact words but I heard HOW he said it. I kept my cool but I started to check what the boy wants from Audrey does he only want to use the slide or he’s beginning to pick on my daughter? Turns out its the latter and wherever she went he would follow and tell her to play somewhere else. Since I still saw it as a petty kids fight, I let Audrey handle the boy and luckily she just ignored him and played somewhere else.
What exasperated me was when Audrey was climbing up the steps leading to the slide and the boy still followed and told her to go away. I was like, wth?! my daughter is doing her best to stay away from you and you keep on chasing her and you dare ask her to go away?! I stepped in just as he was nagging her and asked “yes, why, what’s wrong?” the boy looked at me and ran away. I let Audrey play for around two minutes more then we left and went home.
I am not good at handling conflicts, but as a mother my first instinct was to protect my child. To be honest, during the 2nd slide scene my heart was already beating I guess around 190bpm I was so pissed I could hurt the boy. My kid exploring the world by herself is something new to me and if I were to choose I’d put her inside some invisible force field so no one would hurt her. But the inevitable truth is that the world is full of mean people – I may have been, at some point in my life one of them. I would of course never teach my kids to start a fight over something so trivial but I would never ever allow them to just let other people step on them especially if they are in the right. It’s a public playground so I suppose we can also play there. As a mother in that moment I can only watch Audrey – see if she makes the right choice and I’m glad she did; to not let the other kid steal her happiness.