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May 30, 2012

When toddlers attack: What would you do?

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Picture this:

We're at the play place at the mall, A and I. Well, A and I and about a dozen other moms who dragged their kids out with the same rainy day sanity-saving idea. 

After saying hi to the slide, tunnel and carpet (I mean that literally, she wanders up to every inanimate object, crouches down and shouts, "Hi!" like it's an old college roomate), A spots the climb-in car 10 feet away. She bolts over and swings a tiny thigh over the edge, grunting gracefully as she hauls herself in.

This car already has a driver, though: A 2-year-old girl with rosy cheeks and big, brown eyes.

"AHHHHHH!! NOOOOOOOO!!" the girl screeches, grabbing A's arm and wrenching it, so that she wouldn't sit in the empty passenger seat beside her. "NOOOOO!!" So I stepped in, lifting A out and explaining that it was the other girl's turn. She wasn't thrilled, but after a couple of kicks and screams she forgot about it and we headed back to the slide.

Fast forward 8 minutes or so - that's about 12 1/2 eternities in 2-year-old terms - and A runs back to the now unoccupied car. Heaving herself back in, she happily steered the wheel and honked the pretend horn. Life was good. Until...

"AHHHHHH!! NOOOOOOOO!!"

Wait a minute... I know that crazy banshee scream... Our little friend was back, yelling at A as she threw tiny fists of fury and tried to physically drag her out of the car.

Now, at this point I should stress two things:

  1. I take no issue with a toddler mid-spazz; we've had our fair share of Starbucks meltdowns with A - what can I say, the girl loves her a double espresso - so I'm not about to pass judgment on that front.
  2. Having been on the other end of that spazz scenario, I'm also more than happy to give a mom a break. A friendly smile, even. And encouraging "been there, done that" eye roll. A flask of gin slipped into her diaper bag.

Point 2, though doesn't apply if the mom is right there on her iPhone doing nothing. Nothing! Completely oblivious to the attempted toddler homicide that is going down right in front of her!

So, what to do? Do I sit and watch, teaching A that waiting her turn earned her a serious beat-down? Do I step in and parent on the other mom's behalf so as not to interrupt her conference call?  It's tricky territory.

In the end I stared incredulously, rolled my eyes, rescued A and took her back to the slide, sighed loudly, rolled my eyes again and ranted to my mom, who had by that time joined us, about how she just stood there and did nothing while her daughter went batsh*t crazy.

In other words, your textbook passive agressive response.

A few minutes later the mom gathered up her rosy-cheeked, brown-eyed girl and the two of them headed home, along with her friend - who as it turns out had been sitting right beside me during my angry, judgy rant. Oops.

Seriously, though - I'd guess we've all been in a similar situation... what do you do?

May 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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