Very few things rattle me and leave me speechless. Even fewer things render me entirely awestruck and in an almost frozen physical state, especially when these things happen to involve the most precious person in the world to me: Nixon. That's exactly what happened today and (thankfully) K was with me but even she was puzzled by the "correct" way to address it and handle it. I'm left still feeling like I failed Nixon somehow by my inability to chose a reaction to the situation. I did react, when I felt I needed to react, because it was Nixon's behavior that needed to be addressed and corrected. (OH my sweet potato did it ever! I have NEVER watched my child do what he did today and I hope to never have to watch him do it again! I was appalled at his behavior and disgusted that I was the ONLY mother....well hold on I am getting so far ahead of myself....)
From the beginning: I've been a member of a local meetup group (albeit an inactive member lately) for a while. There's been several changes due to new members joining, "old" members becoming less active due to recent family additions or deployments or (in my case) an avoidance of all outdoor activities during the summer months and just general life happening in general. Last month there was an email for a pumpkin painting playdate. I RSVP'd "yes" and was (foolishly??) looking forward to it. With a little convincing, K agreed to bring Miss Macy with baby girl and join us for the festive playdate. (I should mention my gut kept trying to get me to cop out all week. I ignored it, because I figured it was just anxiety over meeting new moms. I like the moms who I met when the group first started and I wish I had spent more time going to the meetups, but sometimes I just couldn't because of Nixon's naps or Mac's schedule. The ladies are still always super nice when I see them and a couple of them have even friended me on facebook and comment or like random posts/links/photos I post. I was really genuinely looking forward to today's playdate...)
We arrived a little late, let the kids paint their pumpkins, sat them on the table to dry and went to grab some snacks like the rest of the group had begun doing. I recognized 3 of the moms there out of the 8 or 9 there (I think). K and I sat with our kiddos on the opposite side of the room from the rest of the group of moms. MY reasoning was: the kids were running around on the open side of the rec room and I like to be close enough to grab Nixon if I have to. (All the other moms were on the farthest side of the room even though there was an open door to the outside). Yes, I might be overprotective but...I can afford to be. I did smile and say hello to the moms I knew and tried hard to not give off a bitch vibe. I do get overwhelmed when there are THAT many kids roaming around and I'm trying to keep tract of my singleton, making sure he's not running outside (he did a couple times to watch a street sweeper cleaning the parking lot) or trying to catch an elevator (he thought about it twice).
So here comes my dilemma: There were a couple older kids who were pushing down and bullying the littler kids. They'd yell in the little kids faces, knock them to the ground..one jumped over Nixon (Nixon did his usual fall-on-the-floor-in-a-pile act and the kid just jumped over Nixon). One little girl was wearing a cast on her arm, this one kid in particular, knocked HER over! No mother did anything. At this point, I didn't even know who belonged to what mom. (to be honest, I still don't know who they all went home with!)
Nixon, as I sat watching him, targeted a child smaller than him. Nixon grabbed this child's arm and then pushed him over another little boy already on the floor! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!? OH HELL NO! NOT MY SON! I raced up out of my chair, grabbed Nixon's hand, made him apologize to the boy and then put him in the farthest corner for Time Out because "Nixon you do not target someone smaller than you, you do not push or hit and you are not a bully!" Oh you'd have thought I was beating his ass, but I'll be damned if my son is going to become a bully just because he's thrown into a roomful of bullies!
After Nixon served his time he started playing again. He'd run around with them, then run off by himself. He's chase and be chased and would always seem to find Miss Macy in the end.
Then came this:
Nixon and another little girl were growling at each other. The little girl would growl with her fists clinched at her side, Nixon would just growl then laugh. Another little girl came over (so now 2 little girls and Nixon) and lightly punched Nixon in the face! Nixon just looked at her. She punched him in the middle of the chest. Once. Twice. Three times. I sat in shock trying to figure out what the fuck can I do?!?! Can I get up and hold her hand and say "Who does she belong too?" and explain the situation? Nixon wasn't hurt but he sure looked confused. I tried to get him to come over to me but he said "Mommy I'm not bad.", which of course he was absolutely correct. I finally said "Hey, we don't hit!" just as a mom got up....and walked by the situation to address another one involving the kid the jumped over Nixon earlier. This time he and a couple other boys had pinned down a little girl and were making her cry! THIS got one of the moms off her ass and claim him as hers! But the hitting situation with Nixon was never addressed by an adult. (However Karma caught up to her a few minutes later when little "rocky" got rocked by someone else pretty hard! I don't take joy in anyone's pain, but I do admit I like seeing Karma at work...even as a child you're never too young for a good Karma backlashing!)
So first, I can say I'm proud that Nixon didn't fight back after going into time out.
Next, as a mom who is admittedly socially awkward, what is the proper way to address a situation like that?? I know putting my son in TO for hitting/knocking over a child is how I handle it, but if your child is being hit and you don't know the child or the parent the child belongs to.....WHAT DO YOU DO?
K and I were equally stunned/puzzled/appalled by the total free-for-all the older kids had because of the moms inability to let go of their newest bundles of joy (aka infants). They all sat far from the kids playing, talking and socializing barely ever checking on their kids after they'd hopped them up on sugar, nevermind helping to clean up!
I don't have an aggressive child. I don't have multiple children. I don't deal with fights. When Nixon and Miss Macy have playdates together they play. They may squabble over toys but they don't hit/bite/knock down each other...and if they ever did, K and I have no problem putting either child in Time Out when the situation calls for it. But what do you do when the aggressor is an unknown child??
Anyone with any play group experience willing to give some advice?? Please post here for some socially awkward mommas in need of tips!! K and I both will greatly appreciate the help and support. Any other playdate from hell stories, share those too! Share this blog and spread the word....this needs to stop and I need help.....bullying at the age of 5 and under, really??? It's so sad because the moms are right there and too busy to put a stop to it. IS there a right way to handle this??
(PS....it was a PMM sighting in spades yo!)