And no, it wasn't even directed at my kids. Another parent pushed probably my most sensitive button today. The "Your kid's a monster and mine is perfect," button.
See, I KNOW my kids are not perfect. And while I do try diligently to get them to behave as closely to that ideal as I can, I am completely aware of their flawed, human nature. (How could I not be when I am so acutely aware of mine and I know that in large part they are little replicas of me?)
But what I also know is that other kids are NOT perfect either. And I know that in a dispute between a 3 year old (mine) and a 6 year old (not mine) there are certainly two perspectives and two accounts and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Also keeping in mind that I was watching said altercation and I did see mine (not perfect) jump over [not mine]. What I did NOT see was Mine hitting [not mine].
When I saw Mine jump over [not mine] I went to the play structure to instruct Mine to stop jumping as there were now too many kids to do that safely.
Mommy Meltdown began when parent of [not mine] came to tell me Mine hit [not mine] (which I did not see,) and that Mine "needed to come down for a time out." When I responded that I was watching and didn't see Mine hit [not mine] I got a patronizing, "Mine doesn't lie." When I further responded that I was watching and didn't see the 3 year old hit the 6 year old, but that, "I'm handling it," Mr. Smug only got more patronizing.
Now see, when my kids do something that I didn't witness, I don't typically take a third-hand testimony (otherwise known as 'hearsay') of what happened over 1) my own personal witness of the situation and 2) my own child's testimony of the situation. And I NEVER let the hearsay party dictate the where, when and how of any discipline that the situation may require.
But, when I couldn't get Mine's attention enough to communicate clearly, I told both of Mine to come down; that we were going to leave. When I asked if Mine hit [not mine] he told me no, and that [not mine] had stepped on him.
Now, I am working to get him to understand that it doesn't matter what someone else does and whether it was on purpose or not, you don't put your hands on someone else--even as a matter of protecting yourself (under those kinds of playground collision incidents. We'll get into the defending yourself against bullies and such when he's old enough to under the difference between accidental and intent to harm, etc).
I should have stopped there and left, but my 'overdeveloped sense of justice' couldn't leave well enough alone and I decided to tell [not mine's] dad that before he leaps to conclusions and tells other people how to handle things, it might be good to get some context. (As in, my 3 year old was responding to being stepped on by the 6 year old which got left out of [not mine's] version of the story.)
More patronizing; new claims of witnessing the situation; more insinuations that [not mine] and siblings are above reproach, mine are out of control monsters and I suck as a mom. At least that's how it felt.
So, my apologies to:
- [not mine's] dad for my parting shot about your kids being perfect and my kids being monsters and that's why we're leaving. And my further apologies (after your smug nod) for my final remark that "it must be nice to have such perfect children; I hope they stay that way." My actual hope is that you see your children for the flawed human beings they are so that they don't grow up with an unfortunate sense of entitlement.
- My kids. I DON'T think you're 'monsters' and today, I don't even think you did anything especially wrong. I am sorry [not mine's] dad pushed my buttons and turned me into the Mommy-monster.
- Parents I encounter in the future who may take it upon themselves to tell me when and how to discipline my kids for an incident that you didn't see. I am all for being told about something that I didn't see, but if I am already handling a situation, giving me additional information might be helpful; bossing me around will not be.
- Hubs--just in case [not mine's] dad is someone you cross paths with in a work context or something; I don't think I gave Mr. Smug the best impression.