When Justin was a toddler, GWE and I used to take him to an indoor play area called “Tiny Town.” (My father nicknamed it “Titty Town” after seeing some of the nannies.) It catered to children of all ages and Justin loved being there. He liked being there so much that we had his third birthday party there. Several months ago, it closed. However, it has recently reopened under a different name. Last night, Justin and I decided to give it a shot. It should be noted that I was (once again) the only dad in this sea of mothers and nannies.
Justin decided that the first toy he wanted to play with was a teeter-totter that was in the shape of a plane. I took off his shoes and he ran to the toy. I followed him and positioned myself on a bench where I could keep an eye on him. A child who was a little older and certainly bigger than Justin was already in the “cockpit” of the toy, so Justin decided to get into the seat behind him. I watched Justin climb on and then start to rock the plane back in forth. All of a sudden, the child in front began to cry. It seemed unprovoked, but I watched curiously and after about 20-25 seconds the other child’s mother left a group of other mothers and walked over to her son to comfort him. After a minute or two more, she pulled him away from the toy and stormed over to me. In a slight Israeli accent, she demanding to know if Justin was my son. I acknowledged that Justin did belong to me. (There is a “slight” resemblance.)
She then proceeded to tell me that my child “was playing too rough.” (As a side-note, Justin does have a reputation for playing too rough. I am aware of it. It’s my fault.) However, this was one of those occasions when he had not been “rough housing.” The hysterical mother proceeded to tell me that Justin hit her son in the head three times. I politely told her that she was miss-informed and that I had been watching Justin the whole time and he never touched her kid. She then said, “Well, he was playing too rough and my son hit his head on the bars of the toy.” She then pointedly said, “You need to control your son.” And then oddly enough, she stood there for a moment waiting for a response. Maybe an apology…..
I paused, collected my thoughts and then unleashed –
My response was simple. “Let me get this straight – you came over here to tell me that my son was playing too rough when the reality is that your son is an idiot who doesn’t know how to ride a seesaw and you were too occupied with your yenta Mother’s Group to pay attention? Your kid either needs better parental supervision or a helmet.” (Yes, I said it. It’s probably on the security tape because I said it loudly.)
The room got quiet and I could feel the cold stares of other mothers and nannies judging me. The irate mother’s eyes flared red and her mouth opened a little. I could see that she was formulating an evil response, but nothing came out. She turned around, went to the common area, collected her belongings and her children, and left.
I immediately emailed GWE with an update of what just happened for a number of reasons:
1) I was pissed
2) I wasn’t sure if this woman would be returning with her Israeli, army-trained husband to kick my ass
3) I was concerned that I would need bail and GWE was 3000 miles away
The rest of our playtime was pleasantly uneventful.