Wednesday, February 23, 2011

yelling hippos

I am going to start this by saying that I rarely ever tell a stranger's kid how to behave. Mainly because I don't want anyone ever thinking it's okay to yell at one of my kids, but also it's not my job and I don't like confrontation or drama.
Kelly wanted to go to the zoo for her birthday. Well, actually, she wanted to fly to Ohio and see her cousin Solana for her birthday, but we had to settle for her 2nd choice...
DJ and Kelly are off school this week, so we drop Paige off at her school and we get to the zoo early enough to see the bears get fed. One of the things I love about being in the city is that we get to go to the zoo often enough that we never feel like we have to see everything in one day. The train is running, so we ride the train -- and let me tell you, Mikey LOVES the train! He giggles and laughs the entire ride. It is super cute!
We have a new hippo at the zoo, so of course we have to go check it out. Next to the enclosure is a near life size bronze hippo that looks like he is half in the water, for the kids to sit and climb on. You know, it's surrounded by the squishy play mat stuff --

While DJ and Kelly are climbing on the statue hippo, Mikey and I are checking out the real hippo and Mike is sitting on the other side of it with the stroller. I am keeping an eye on them, but not paying too close attention. Then I hear DJ ask a little boy younger than Kelly, "Hey, are you trying to annoy her on purpose?" So I send DJ over to Mike to explain why he said that to the kid. He tells him that this little boy keeps following Kelly to where she is on the hippo and gets next to her and pushes her off. He has done this 4 or 5 times at this point. DJ goes back to playing and Mike just called across and told me what was going on. So now, I am paying closer attention.
For a few minutes DJ and Kelly are the only kids there and are leaping over the hippo -- then the little boy came back, along with some other kids, so I made them stop so no one would get hurt and the other kids could climb on it. I watch this boy try and get to Kelly again, but DJ put his body in front of her and the kid backed off. DJ didn't say anything to him, or touch him at all. And at this point, because Kelly is not being hurt, I am really just curious to see how DJ will handle the situation.
Mikey is just sort of running around in a circle while I pretend to chase him, when I hear DJ call me. I look up to see DJ sitting on the hippo and this little boy trying to push him off. He can't do it, DJ is too big, but he is not stopping and DJ is looking at me not knowing what to do --
So I step over to them and say, "We keep our hands to ourselves." I didn't shout, or even look directly at the little boy. He takes his hands off DJ and I take the two or three steps back over to Mikey.
All of a sudden, some woman comes running at me screaming, "Don't talk to my son!"
Well, I don't like to be yelled at --
and honestly, I don't remember all the things I shouted back at her.
But I did tell her her kid was over here pushing other kids and her she just kept yelling, "He's Three!" over and over, and "You should have come and found me!"
I think that was the point where Mike stood up and shouted back, asking her where she was the whole time her kid was pushing everyone --- and telling her if he was only three, she shouldn't have been so far from him.

She grabbed her little boy and kinda hurried away, telling me to f*** off over her shoulder. Mike told me later that I called her a dumb b**** right before that, but I really don't remember saying it.

I still cannot figure out why this woman came at me and was so aggressive.

It was strange, after she scurried away, I looked up and we were surrounded by other parents asking what happened and if I was okay. One mom even said she had had her camera ready to take pictures if need be and another told me not to let it ruin our day. Someone else even said she noticed that DJ never once pushed the little boy back. (Of course not!)
We collected the kids and brought them to the cafe for lunch. Mike of course, being a man, was hoping for chance to confront them again... and I'm trying to ignore my own feeling of wanting just to leave and go home... So we are in the cafe and Mike has the kids at a table while I was getting the food as the same woman was about to walk in. Mike made eye contact with the guy that was with her -- and was hoping to say something to him, when they turned around and left.

I am so used to how big a man my husband is that I am surprised by it sometimes. I mean, nobody ever yells at him.

I wasn't going to write about this, but I had a hard time sleeping for thinking about it. I often ask the kids (usually DJ) when they are angry or they are crying over something, if there is a better way they could have handled it, and I can't help but think I should have handled things differently.
I don't know.
Maybe I am just still mad.

Last night, I am snuggling with Kelly and talking about the day, when she says, "Mama, you got to argue with someone today".
So I ask her why she thinks I was arguing.
"Because that other Mama wasn't teaching her boy that he should keep his hands off people."
I ask her if she was upset by any of it.
"No, only I didn't like being pushed."

Well, okay then.

1 comment:

Cyndi Hendrickson said...

What an interesting story to read. I know this wasn't the point but I literally lol'd about 3 times. I love that you said something to that kid. I don't correct other kids either, but if they're messing with Solana I definitely say something and would approach it just like you did. The generic, "we keep our hands to ourselves" was direct enough to get the point across without actually yelling at that kid. I find it interesting that the mom came running over when you said something but not before.

She must think it's ok for her kid to push other kids. And I sort of think that may be what's upsetting you. You weren't able to explain to that woman how/why she was wrong or teach her the proper way to be a mother. And for her to walk away thinking she was right?!? Yeah, that would bug the cr@p out of me too. But I think you handled it perfectly (well, maybe you could have left out the dumb b##ch part in front of your kids - but that would have eliminated a really funny part of the story) and good for Mike, DJ, and Kelly for their parts, too!

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