We met my friend Mo Mommy and her Things at the children’s museum downtown today. They have a membership, so I was able to freeload and get in with no cash, only a little guilt. It’s been hotter than asphalt here lately, so a day inside where the monkeys could have fun was a welcome outing.
When we first got there, it was quiet and mellow, only a few people- yippee! It’s getting harder and harder to keep an eye on diverging monkeys, and a baby. Granted, the baby doesn’t move much, but still, two eyes, two arms, three kids…I feel like silly putty sometimes.
While we were there, the boys were playing happily, having fun, and then I heard Jeffrey shriek. He had been messing around at the water table, and when I turned around, he was in a head-lock from a boy who was quite a bit bigger than he was, and he was struggling while the boy tried to take a boat from his hands. ( I really want to make the kid into King Kong and give him a villainous mustache and black cape for you, but really he was just a boy who was bigger than my kid.)
Immediately I intervened, pulling Jeffrey from the headlock. He was fine, and he had been trying to fight back, so I think his 4 year old pride was up in ire. I’m ok with that. Here is where I’m not sure I did the right thing- I very sternly (but calmly) looked at the other boy, as he was gathering up all the other boats for himself, and told him first, that he had to share, and second that he was NOT to put his hands on other people like that.
Was I in bounds? Should I have looked for his mother instead? My kid was fine, other than a slightly bruised ego- should I just have removed us from the situation and let the kid to his own devices?
Disciplining other people’s kids is always touch and go, and while I would be ok with a mother telling my son he was out of bounds for such an obvious violation of person, not everyone feels that way. At the same time, I DO want my kids to know that if someone hurts them, I will protect them and insist on their personal space and bodies be respected.
We left shortly afterwards, mostly because I finally have the chops as a mom to see when my kids are going downhill and cut them off at the pass. Eric was running out of steam, and had we stayed longer, I would have had a full-blown Mackerel on my hands, and Abby needed some attention, and no one had eaten lunch yet, and my parking meter had expired, and so on and so on.
(The rest of the truth is, it was getting really crowded- and I hate crowds. Have I ever told you all that? I hate crowds. Hatethem. Ughhhh.)
How would you have handled it?