Friday

Large Playground at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, CA

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.

26 comments:

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I guess this topic has been a long time coming. I think everyone would have a different reaction. Some would do nothing, or maybe give a stern look. Some would intervene ... others would seriously call the Police.

It's unfortunate that what she was doing probably wasn't illegal ... only corporal punishment is. However, I think I would've tried to step in to diffuse the situation. This caregiver obviously needed to take a time-out.
If she became threatening towards me then that would be my invitation to call the Police on her (which is what I would've liked to have done to begin with.)
Hopefully the little boy is o.k. and someone from his Family will see this and help him.
Sounds to me like there may be some favoritism? I grew up in a house just like that. My brothers were made from spun gold and I was treated like crap most of the time .... (she apologized when I became older) .... and I had a friend who did it too and told her maybe she wasn't realizing it but she needed to cut it out or the kid would grow up with all kinds of issues.

Anonymous said...

So she never yelled at the little girls? Just the little boy?

I think I would have called the cops. There is no way I could have stood around and done nothing for that poor kid.

egg mama said...

OP here, well I don't know what the cops would have done, seriously. The totality of the hitting that I witnessed spanned about 10 seconds. The cops would have been pissed at ME for bringing them out to stare at some lady and 3 kids. Y'know? It's easy to say "call the cops" but it frankly didn't make sense to do so in this situation, at least not to me.

I think the best thing would have been to somehow talk to this woman but what I don't know is what exactly to say and how to say it in a way that might actually get through to her

stefanie said...

Oh Egg Mama,
You have NO idea. Sometimes well meaning people interefere and set the nanny/person/parent off more. And promise a tougher beating at home. If you humiliate someone who is already being a bitch to a kid, how could you possibly think it would turn out well for the child. YOu must find the parents. Find someone who knows these children!

Also, I have heard of people turning on the person who intervenes. Which is uncomofortable to be harassed, screamed at or even slapped by a stranger but not as bad as contributing to the further abuse of a child.

Anonymous said...

4:19, well yeah, I agree! that is exactly why I didn't say anything. But I don't think calling the cops was the answer either, in fact I know it wasn't.

I have this idea that some people are so gifted with how they handle situations that they can actually "say something" and not get harrassed or have the caregiver retaliate against the child. I think it is possible in some similar situations that someone comes up with something to say which is non judgmental but also lets the caregiver know that there is another way. I don't know...maybe I'm being too idealistic. All I know is that *I* don't have the skills to pull this off.


(sorry, I'm OP again, not using other name)

Calanna said...

There would have been nothing wrong with calling the police. It may be legal for PARENTS to "spank", but it's called assault when anyone else uses physical aggression against a child. At the very least, the cops could have ascertained whether or not the woman was the mother, a relative, or other, and responded appropriately. If she was not the mother, they most likely would have contacted the parents to see if the woman had permission to treat the child this way.

For situations where you wish you could step in and say something without making it worse, the only thing I've tried that did seem to work required some time... make eye contact with the adult in a non-hostile way (no matter how furious and disgusted you feel)... sit near her and when there is a lull in the action make some sort of non-threatening comment that acknowledges the situation, such as, "kids can be tough some days" or "looks like you're having a rough day", or something like that.

In most cases that will break the ice at least, and you don't have to converse in such a way as to sound like you condone the aggression or as if you see the child as a brat of course... anyway, it can be worth a try if you have the courage.

Anonymous said...

As a mandated reporter in New York State, I can tell you that corporal punishment is legal: spanking, hitting with an object etc. can be legal as long as:
1. it is a specific "consequence" to an infraction.

2. it is not excessive.

3. it doesn't leave marks or bruises.

Therefore, although I consider any act of aggession towards a child to be wrong, what this woman was doing was not reportable to CPS (in NYS, and certainly not reportable to the police). It is just terribly tragic that people haven't learned better ways to interact with children than to bully them or intimidate them. I wish it were different. Sometimes, I've tried to model different behavior for someone acting aggressively, or encourage the child in a different manner,if I am nearby and they are interacting with my son. Otherwise, I don't know what else I'd do.

? said...

Thank you mandated reporter at 745.
A quick question from a nanny in NY and also, I believe a mandated reporter. The children in my care talk about sexual play that occured when they were younger. It sounds like it was between the two of them, but the mother gives me the creeps the way she talks about their body parts and makes suggestions about her own sexual activity. Besides leaving this position, which I intend to as soon as I find a new place to live, what are my obligations?

Anonymous said...

7:45 here:Check out www.ocfs.state.ny.us (or ny.state.us), which is the agency that oversees CPS. They have a link that lists specific reportable events. I don't know if nannys are mandated, but I do know you can report anonymously as well. So, you could always call the 800# and propose the scenario you witness. They will tell you if they can take the report or not. That way, your consience (sp?) is clear. I have made many calls to CPS that were "rejected" including one where I learned the information I posted in 7:45. That call was about a 15 year old boy who was hit with a broomstick. They asked me what it was for (his offense), how frequent, how hard and if there were marks. Since I didn't know any of those answers and there were no noticeable marks at the time he disclosed to me.....no report was taken. Since that was 15 years ago and I still remember it....you could tell that my clear consience didn't help me feel better about this poor kid! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the police would respond to something like this in a small community, but in NYC, no.
I have seen some ugly confrontations in playgrounds, a very risky thing to attempt.
I am afraid the only way to help this poor little boy is to contact the parents. You might try to engage the nanny in conversation, and find out where the older girls go to school, or where they live.

♥marypoppin'pills♥ said...

Maybe NY is different. But not here in Va. Beach.
One of my ex-friends had a 12 y.o. son that got into trouble at school. He came home and she was so angry she slapped him. I don't think there was too much of a mark, but when he went to school the next day, he reported it to a Teacher.
(Good for him!)
That very evening, my friend was arrested.
Her charge: Simple Assault - and she spent 3 days in jail, (nobody would bail her out! lol) and given a fine (can't remember how much).
And I'm pretty sure she hasn't put her hands on him since.

Personally, I believe there are too many other methods of punishment. We used "time-out", and it worked perfectly.
My 6 y.o. son is so well behaved though ... I seriously can't remember the last time he got in trouble. (Yay!) ☺

Anonymous said...

I think it makes sense to call the police. The parents will definitely find out if the police are called even if it turns out that the offender doesn't actually get arrested. I think this post does fit what can legally be considered illegal, because there was no legitimate offense justifying the hitting, and because the hitting was excessive. The OP thought it was excessive; that was her whole point in posting here. So, I feel that if in doubt, report it, call the police. If you think it is wrong, and could be abuse, stand up and say something by calling the police. No one else is going to help this child. So you need to.

Wake up, people.

MissDee said...

7:57-When I worked in daycare, a 2 year old girl was sitting on the floor with a 2 year old boy. The girl grabbed the boy's hands and laid on her back, legs apart. She then positioned the boy's head to go to her privates! I saw what she was doing and redirected the behavior, and reported it to my director, who contacted the mother. They were 2 year olds! Obviously, she must have seen this at home enough to to this. The mother was an airhead to begin with, and thankfully, they were kicked out of the center.

This post reminds me of my best friend's mother, and brother who YELL A LOT at the kids, 4 and 10 year old boys. I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with the mother, and well, the brother doesn't know how to parent, neither does Grandma:

The 4 year old made a mess upstairs, and Grandma told him to clean up his mess. He kept coming back downstairs, and then Dad gets home and goes upstairs, YELLS at the 4 year old and kept yelling so loud I almost yelled at him. (The dad) The problem, which I figured out, is that the 4 year old can do WHATEVER he wants, and that's the end of the story. And Grandma yells at the 4 year old too, only whatever she wants done (clean up, getting him dressed, changing his diaper) she does it for him. Everyone yells in the house-the 4 year old took a lighter from Grandpa. Grandpa tired getting his lighter back by chasing him for about 5-10 mintues. Grandpa gave up, and chased him AGAIN, and I don't know if he got the lighter back or not. Yeah, this 4 year old runs the house, and he won't be going to school until August of 2009, when he is 5 1/2. By then, I won't be living here, because according to what I was told yesterday, Grandma's "insides are aching from all this tension", and the sooner I leave, the better. Well, I wonder why you are so stressed out Grandma? You let a 4 year old run your household, you won't put him on the potty, encourage him to dress himself (you dress him-my class of preschoolers could dress themselves and put on snowpants and boots) he watches movies and plays with the same toys all day, you give in to his EVERY WANT,
clean up his messes, and when he does do things that deserve time outs, he doesn't get them! And I come along and this 4 year old listens to me, and I offer to help you take care of him during the day and I even offer to take him out and about to give you some time alone to yourself, but you don't want my help. Oh, yeah, and I don't think I forgot that you told me I would never graduate college being close to 40 and that I lack common sense. Then I stood up to you and you never said anything mean to me again, expect yesterday. I think she's stressed out...and it's due to the 4 year old. Anyone agree?

I am not making excuses for her behavior, yet at the same time, she should stop watching children, because it's obvious she can't handle it. OP: if you saw her again, would you remember her enough to perhaps follow her and find out where she lives?

LA nanny said...

I grew up with a physically abusive mother, and she definately retaliated when anyone criticized her. If you attack someone who is already angry and unable to manage her emotions, there will be consquences.

My sister once went up to a woman screaming at her child and said, "Your little girl is so pretty. What a cute little hat!" The woman was completely shocked and composed herself a bit. Then my sister told the woman she was a mother too, and made small talk.

It diffused the situation and gave the mom time to calm down.

When my friend sees moms losing their temper at the park, she will approach them in a realatively calm moment and ask if their kids can join her daughter on the see saw or in some game that needs 2 or more. Just to get the kid away for a few minutes to allow the woman to decompress

mom said...

Those are great ideas la nanny. I am going to try acting that way when i next see an overly angry adult/child interaction going on. You are right that snapping angrily at an already angry person is only going to make them even angrier. Even if they may deserve to be boiled in oil for their bad their behavior, our ultimate goal should be to help the child involved, not vent our own frustration at the idiot caregiver, potentially at the child's expense.

I love seeing productive suggestions like yours on here.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

This will be a little hard for me to admit ... and I don't know if it's happened to anyone else or not, but here goes.

I was having a particularly bad day, I wasn't feeling good, and my son was crabby as well.
I had to go to the store to pick up a few things and my son was in one of those 'gimme' moods. I told him we were there for only a few specific things, and that was it. (I'm not beyond rewarding my son with treats, but mind you, he wasn't in top form this day either.)
Anyway, after about 10 min., I scolded him ... maybe too loudly (which I did apologize for later) - and this upset him and he started crying. I should've known better, but we all make mistakes.
Anyway, this lady walked up to us and really berated me in front of my son for yelling at him. I was absolutely embarrassed and instead of being ashamed of my behavior ... I became completely indignant and started yelling back.
After trading insults at each other, I stormed off.
As I was leaving the store, I told my son (basically, because it was so long ago) -- "See what your behavior caused? All of this because you couldn't have your way" ... pretty much laying the blame of the days events at my sons feet.
I know ... wrong, wrong, wrong.
Trust me, I've more than made it up to my son since. And more importantly, he forgives me.
But I can't help but think -- had she approached me differently, I think it would have made a world of difference. I went immediately in 'defensive mode' because I felt attacked.

I wish there were some way I could find that lady today and apologize to her, also. Even though I still think she could've done things differently -- she was only looking out for my sons best interest ... something I had a momentary lapse in doing.

mom said...

Well, everybody's human. There have been several occasions over the years when I have apologized to my children for snapping at them becase I was in a bad mood, or for becoming more upset than I should have for whatever infraction they may have committed.
Not that it's good to overreact with our kids ever, but good grief, who among us is perfect? And dealing with kids all day everyday can sometimes get a little stressful...especially when your child is 5 1/2 months into an unpleasant "phase." I do think it does a world of good for them to hear a sincere apology at those times...to see that we can admit that we aren't perfect and ESPECIALLY for them to get that bit of vindication they so deserve.

Mine have always been sweet and forgiving too. And you know what? Now that all three have experienced being hormonal teenagers, mine have all flown off the handle a "time or two." But a little while later they invariably reappear for a hug and to tell me how sincerely sorry they are for overreacting. I never put two and two together until now..but maybe my apologies to them taught them that it OK to admit when we're wrong?

Here's a "mom story":
Once when my oldest son was about three I was in a really crappy mood over some particular event, which I do not recall, but had nothing to do with my child. We were riding in the car (him in the backseat, but apparently able to see my face in the rear view mirror.) He was incessantly asking questions about this and that. I was in no mood to talk, but knew it wasn't his fault I was in a bad mood, so I was answering all of them and using my happiest sounding sing song voice so as to disguise my mood from him. I was just thinking about reaching back to pat myself on the back for my oscar worthy performance when my son asked, "Mommy, what's wrong?" I said, "Nothing. Why?" He said, "Because you have your mad face on." Then I had to tell him that "Mommy is a little sad, but not at you."

Also, when my kids were little and acting up I would sometimes say something like, "Somebody's tired. You were up too late last night," etc. Well, one day I was apparently being a little crabby, which I hadn't even realized, until my second son, then about three or four years old said to me (in the sweetest most innocent little way possible), "Mommy, did you not get very much sleep last night?" I asked him why and he sweetly told me I wasn't being as nice as usual. (Picture figurative giant boulder landing in my stomach here.) I felt like such a crummy person. Here I was being a crab and this tiny child was trying not to hurt my feelings by telling me outright that I was being a jerk.
Kids can certainly humble you sometimes!

mom said...

Oh my gosh MPP, I just thought of one where I totally blew it...but it will have to wait until a little later because I have have ot go out now.

§mpp§ said...

Mom
I can't tell you how hard it was to write my last post. We all like to think we're the best Moms, and it's hard to admit our mistakes.
When I went to 'proof-read' my post before I put it up, it brought a tear to my eye ... remembering that event, I felt so guilty.
And yes, I'm sure it means alot to our kids to see us being remorseful -- that's how they can pick up a good lesson, too.
But it certainly takes 'the sting' out when other Moms post mistakes they've made with their kids ...
so, as always, thank you for your wonderful posts.
Your kids are very lucky to have you! ☺

mom said...

Thanks MPP. I know it's hard to admit our mistakes. But I think it's worse to pretend we're perfect...to our kids or to other moms. That kind of narcissistic attitude never does anybody any good. Besides, we're all doing our best, and it's nice to have somebody to comisserate with when we blow it.
And if we are all honest with one another, maybe some of us who have older kids can look back and help some of the newer moms keep from making the same mistakes we did.

And, this is the hardest...we all need to be also willing to listen up when maybe somebody else (especially somebody we know and trust...as opposed to somebody anonymous on a blog) says, "You know. I know you love your kids...and I know you're doing the best you can...but what you're doing there has crossed a line. You might need to not do that particular thing any more." It doesn't necessarily mean that person is right...but it should be a red flag for us that we might want to rethink something..or at least get some other perspectives, etc.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I had one friend who thought just about everything caused long term psychological damage. I used to be so jumpy around her because I was a brand new mom, wanting to do my best, and it seemed every time I, or anybody else, reprimanded, teased, or interacted with their child, she would make some under her breath, but just loud enough to hear, comment about the child eventually needing psychotherapy because of it. Eventually I realized that she was simply the human version of Eyeore and started disregarding her comments. In other words, you don't have to jump at everybody's every suggestion...but it's good when we can be receptive to opinions...especially if we hear the same thing from more than one person.

OK, I'll still have to postpone my story...I'm off again.

pasadenamom said...

aww, you gals have me in tears. i recently wrote a message and posted on my mommy group's message board expressing how fustrating being pregnant mommy and raising a tyrranical and rambunctious two year old has been for me. i needed to read/hear/visualize your personal experiences today. what a blessing and relief it has been. thank you all, especially mpp and mom. *deep breathe*

now i can go away knowing that tomorrow i can start over fresh with my little and be the best mommy i can be, even if i "loose it" occasionally.

my brains are shutting down. heehee.

nighty night.

♥mpp♥ said...

Awww pasadenamom
You'll be just fine. I can tell you have empathy and compassion ... and if you make any mistakes (like I did/we all do), just admit to them, and try to get past them.
Being a Mom is a different experience for everyone. Some were made to be a nurturer, some weren't.
The kids that belong to those Mothers that are very nurturing ... are very lucky kids.

NURTURE:

1. to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development.
3. to bring up; train; educate.
–noun 4. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
5. development.

Add a huge dash of love and that says it all .... ♥

mom said...

OK. Here is my bad mommy story.
This happened when my older son was in second grade, and my younger son was around four.

I must start with a bit of background. (Because, you know, I just can never seem to make my posts LONG enough!) My second grader was suddenly using some pretty "ripe" language, much to my husbands and my dismay. It seemed like he had a new word or two every week. (Including, but not limited to "Blow job"...just so you get the picture...and this was "pre Clinton.) Every time he would manage to slip his newest little gem casually into a conversation we were more and more upset. Of course, we always asked, "Where did you learn that!?" Everey time, he said, "Junior taught it to me." Then we would forbid him to use the word again and encourage him to NOT play with Junior anymore. But it seemed to be no use...Junior was a veritable encyclopedia of pornographic terms, and all too willing to share with the kids at recess.

So....I was up on a ladder busily adorning my older son's ceiling one afternoon with a large moon and dozens of glow in the dark stars...and hanging his model airplanes from strings. It was pretty cool, if I do say so myself. (One of those times when you are able to look at yourself and reasonably decide, "I'm such a great mommy"...which, ironically, always seem to be just the times when we get forcibly slapped back into reality.)
Anyway...meanwhile, little bro (Let's make him "Timmy") asked if he might play Nintendo. I asked my second grader (let's call him "Sam") to go set it up for him and they bounded off happily together. Sam came back to watch me work on his room and we were having a nice time chatting and working.

A little while later the phone rang, so I asked Sam to go answer it and tell whoever it was that I was unavailable and would call them back. He bounced off happily and quickly returned. I was totally immersed in my work at this point, so it took a little while before I realized that I hadn't even bothered to ask him who called.

I said, "Who was that on the phone?"
Sam said, "That was Mr. AliBahai." (I recognized the name as a dad from Cub Scouts so didn't think much of it.)

I worked for a little while longer befor realizing that I hadn't even bothered to ask what he wanted.

I said, "So, what did he want?"

Sam said, as if it were perfectly normal and natural, "He's coming over."

Me: "Huh? Why?"

Sam(nonchalantly):
"Because "Timmy" called him and said 'I'm a butthead.'"

I had a moment of true confusion at this point. Usually my kids were usually pretty good...and especially in public or with other adults... so this was definitely out of the ordianry territory for me. I was in a little bit of a panicked fog as I tried to make sense of the whole thing. Timmy was pretty meek and not in the habit of saying bad things. Timmy doesn't know Mr. AliBahai's phone number...or even who Mr AliBahai is. How does Sam know that Timmy did this? Just working to make some sense of the whole thing in my brain.

Finially I asked, "Are you sure?" (Yup. He was.) "Why?"

Sam said (again, as though it were perfectly normal...and obvious): "I told him I wouldn't turn the Nintendo on unless he did."

Me: (Now hyperventilating, as things are now clicking and lining up in my brain.) "Why is he coming over?"

Sam: "I don't know."

Me: "Well, what did he SAY when he called?"

Sam: "He said, 'Is your mother at home?' And I said, 'She's not available,' just like you told me to. And he said, 'That's OK. I'm coming over.' And then he hung up."

Now, a good bit of time had passed between the time the phone call had come in and the time this whole conversation worked itself out. I was in full panic mode, realizing that an angry man was on his way to my house. Still on my ladder, I turned to the window and saw a large car turn onto my street, speed up the cul de sac and stop at my door. Crap! I had had no time to think and no time for anything rational to pass through my brain at all. I actually considered hiding and not answerig the door, but realized that would look pretty stupid since he knew we were home...and we were going to have to see him again at school and Cub Scouts.

I now see him storming angrily up to my house. Now, we are a pretty quiet family... all of us a bit shy...and we have little to no experience with fighting with people or dealing with people being angry at us or our kids...so I am completely out of my element and scared witless at this point. When I answer the door there is this big, angry Arab guy (not that that should matter...and we have Arab friends... but he looked especially scary with being so big and all covered with hair.) He immediately started yelling at me in a booming voice about what horrible brats my kids were and how they belonged in reform school using that kind of language (I confirmed with him what was said, since from his reaction, I thouoght maybe he had used a lot worse words than "butthead"...but he hadn't) and how if his kids ever did anything like that he would not let them out of the house for a year. I was stunned speechless. I managed to eek out a profuse apology, which one would think might help diffuse the situation...but that seemed only to energize him for a second round of screaming and insults about me and my family and my children. Apparently he thought the death penalty was not even sufficient for them. The whole time I could feel my kids behind me, each gripping tightly to a leg and peeking out from the safety of being behind me.

When he finally stopped screaming and stormed off I shut the door and was totally shaken up. So were the kids.

I immediately screamed at both boys, swatted their behinds, sent them to bed, and informed them that they would be writing apology letters to that man. After what they had just witnessed at the door, they were both also quite rattled and willingly agreed to everything I demanded, running off to lay in their beds as I had demanded.

A little while later, after I had calmed down a little bit, I started to wonder...since I knew a great many of the kids both at school and in the neighborhood..."just whose father is this man anyway?" I was certain that his child must be perfect, or nearly so anyway, based the very rigid standards of allowable childhood behavior he had thoughtfully outlined at my door.

So I went in and asked Sam, "Who is his kid?"

Sam: "Junior."

Me (Again feeling a bit dizzy from that "inability to compute" confusion I had experience earlier): "Junior? Not the Junior who teaches all the kids bad words at recess? Are there two Juniors?"

Sam: "No. It's the same Junior who knows all the words."

Me: "That man who came to the door is THAT Junior's dad?"


Sam: "Uh huh"

Me: "What? WHAT? WHAAAATTTT?!"

Then I ran to each boy and apologized, hugged them and told them they would not be writing any notes to that man and that I wished I had known in advance who he was so that I could have made it a two way conversation about what kind of unacceptable language actually might constitute grounds for reform school...or a year's worth of grounding. I did make sure, however, to let them know that it was completely unacceptable to play on the phone that way...and especially to say bad words...even though Timmy had called himself the butthead, and not Mr. A. (which, in hindsight, makes me chuckle.)I told them that, while they did deserve to be in trouble, I had made a huge mistake in going off the deep end like that. They were perfectly sweet about it. I think we were all in shock for the rest of the day over the entire thing.

That was my first big lesson about parents who think their own kids are perfect and are so willing to judge everybody else's kids by their own unreasonable and completely misinformed standards. The thing I feel worst about is that I spanked them. How do you take that back? And the little guy especially. He just wanted Nintendo on...so badly that he was willing to call a stranger and call his own little self a butthead for the privelege.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Wow, Mom.
You know, I must say ... we can pat ourselves on the back all we want but there is nothing better in this world than your kid coming up to you ... out of nowhere, giving you a big hug and kiss, and saying, "You're the BESTEST Mommy in the WHOLE world!"
The first time my son did that - I just completely melted right there on the floor!
That is one of the sweetest rewards of being a Mom!

Another story in the Trials and Tribulations of being a Parent:

Just as you said: there are some Parents who think their kids are perfect. Well, I think my son is for the most part a really good kid. But I don't have my blinders on. I know we have to be realistic ... kids will get into trouble.
My son gets a sticker every day that he behaves in class. Last week, he only brought home 2 stickers. I asked him what happened and he said that he didn't do anything wrong, and he doesn't know why he didn't get one. I thought at first he was hiding something because he didn't want to get into trouble.
So I held back from scolding him and thought - O.k, I'll just go down to the school and find out what's going on tomorrow.
He comes home from school that afternoon, and there's a note in his bookbag ... "On the days that the students didn't receive their stickers, there was a Substitute Teacher" (!)
All I could think was OMG, what about the kids whose Parents punished them for thinking they misbehaved? I felt so sorry for them.

I took a deep breath, and was SO thankful that I gave my kid the benefit of the doubt this time.

mom said...

MPP Your first paragraph couldn't possibly be more true. It's nice when we can find a moment or two when everything seems to come togethet just right and make us feel like we are doing well as moms...but there's nothing in the world like the times when it comes from our kids. Those moments you never forget.

Your school story reminded me of another (Shorter!!!) one. As I said, my kids were pretty well behaved at school, so discipline was rare occurrence. But one day I went up to help in my oldest son's kindergarten class. They were at recess when I arrived so I spoke with the teacher for a bit. She said to me that the weirdest thing had happened earlier in the day...that my son had run into the class ahead of the others after a prior recess and proceeded to run all over the place making a lot of commotion. She said it was so very unlike him that it actually made her want to laugh...but that she had made him sit outside the door for 10 minutes (the usual punishment for anybody who misbehaved.)

So I went up to my son and said (and I said it nicely because he was usually good and every kid does something wrong sometime), "Did you get into trouble earlier?"

He said, "no."

Me:"Are you sure?"

He: "yes"

Me, "Because your teacher said you had to sit outside the door after recess."

He' "I didn't"

Me: "Did you run inside your class and make noise after recess?"

He: "No."

Me: "You need to tell me the truth."

He "I didn't."

Me: "Oh that makes me so mad! Your teacher told me you did that and you are SURE you didn't do it?"

He "I didn't do it." (Meanwhile giving me his most ernest attempt at an innocent and angellic face.)

Me: "She told a lie? I don't like that one bit. Lying is not nice at all. I'm gong to go outside and yell at her right now."

(The expression of panic and horror on his face here was priceless and indescribable.)

He: "No mommy, don't."

Me: "Yes. I must. Nobody tells a lie about my boy and gets away with it. You might have gotten in trouble for something you didn't even do, just because she told a lie. That's not fair. I'm going to yell at her right now."

He" "Its OK mommy. I don't care if she did."

Me: "I care. Wait here. I'm going out to yell at her now. Or...you can come watch if you want to."

I start walking toward the teacher. I could see the wheels spinning in his head. He ran after me and confesseed the whole thing...being sure to let me know his teacher had told me the whole, exact truth and he was the one who had told the lie.

He then went and apologized to the teacher for his prior behavior and we saved the talk about lying for after school. (Although I did share our conversation with the teacher and she laughed.)

☼mpp☼ said...

Ah, priceless. LOL

See ... a little reverse psychology never hurt nobody.