Received Friday, January 25, 2008
Physical description of caregiver:
White female around 50-55 years old; short salt-and-pepper straight hair; very overweight; around 5'3"; jeans and pink hoodie.
Physical description of involved child/children:
3 children - 2 girls, around ages 6 and 9, both wearing jeans and pink shirts of different styles, and a little boy around age 4, wearing jeans and a dark blue hoodie. The little boy had brown hair, his sisters (?) had lighter, long hair.
Address or venue of observed incident:
The large playground at Mission Bay Park, San Diego, CA. (The playground with the dragon slide)
Date and time of incident:
Today, January 25 (Friday), 2008, around noon.
Detailed description of what you witnessed:
I do not know if this caregiver was the mom, grandma or nanny, but she was awful to the little boy she was watching. She was watching two little girls and a little boy, and they were all sitting at one of the picnic tables in the middle of the playground, eating lunch or a snack. She was yelling "SIT" at the little boy in a very harsh voice and then repeatedly smacked his butt/legs, while yelling at him. I was right there and gave her a surprised look and she looked sullenly at me. A couple of minutes later my back was to the table and I heard her yelling again at the little boy, turned around and she appeared to have smacked his face, although it is possible I was mistaken and she had just smacked his leg. At any rate she was angry, hostile, and hit him at least 3 or 4 times while she was in plain sight. What is she doing in private??
Later the little boy hopped down from the table and went to play and she kept her back to him, couldn't see where he was or what he was doing. I kept a wary eye on him and on her, and a few minutes later she finally got up and went over to him and supervised him. At this point I left the playground.
I thought of confronting the woman after I saw her scream at and hit the little boy. It was VERY harsh and inappropriate treatment, but I know that spanking is not illegal and I also did not want to cause problems for the little boy later by making this woman even angrier. She had an angry, sullen, tight-lipped face and honestly I would NEVER want this person to be in charge of children, just based on her expression alone! But this isn't about her facial expression; it's about her mistreatment of this little boy. Once she saw me looking at him she crossed her arms and seemed to be very conscious that she was being watched, and then after I had turned my back she acted harshly with the little boy again.
I do not think this was a mom - due to her age I think it was either a grandma or a paid caregiver. Either way, this woman is NOT up to handling little ones. Maybe she was just having an off day and she's usually a good sitter/grandma, but if my mom was watching my children and I found out she had treated them this way, she wouldn't watch them again. I apologize if the description of the incident is not very eloquent - it is hard to get across how shocking the woman's behavior seemed to me. My heart raced and after the second time I witnessed her hitting the little boy I resolved to confront her if she did it again and tell her I was calling the cops. But I didn't want to have to confront her, because a) I was afraid she would "retaliate" against the little boy in private and b) I was with my own child and did not want her to witness a hostile confrontation. If anyone has any tips for what to do in such a situation that will not escalate it, please let me know.
Description of vehicle, bag, stroller that may aid in identifying involved caregiver:
Didn't see a vehicle, bag or stroller.