Playground battles


Picture by Robert Gomez Hernandez

I am still shaken by my experience at the playground today. I feel totally flooded and numb by another mother’s anger executed and poured on me (and my son). I still can’t believe anyone honestly thinks and behaves the way this woman did. I have no acceptance, no tolerance and no understanding for what has happened.

Sequoia found a bucket and a shuffle laying in the sand and started to calmly play with it. A few minutes later an approximately 5 years old girl approached him and wanted the toys. Sequoia certainly did not just give her what she wanted. He is 2. The girl left and shortly after her mother approached me, saying: “I want you to give my daughter her toys back.” Knowing that Sequoia will be understandably upset by her demand, I suggested that we wait a few minutes until he is done with his explorations and she can have her toys. The mother looked at me as if I am crazy and aggressively countered:”Not later, now! These are her toys. If your child wants to play with toys, bring your own!”I said that he neither took it from her nor did he do anything upsetting to her child. But I did walk over to Sequoia, knowing that I cannot have a healthy conversation with this woman. I shortly talked to him and the girl and when I suggested that they try to play together, her mother reminded me that these are her daughters’ toys and not my sons’. I, immediately and unwillingly removed the toys from his hands and handed it to the girl, thinking that this hopefully ends this torture. Her mother watching me with crossed arms and I could feel that this was not over. She looked at me almost triumphal and added this:”You need to have more control over your child.” WHAT the FUCK was this woman saying??!! How can anyone think this has anything to do with control? That was the moment when I lost it.I lost control. I completely dove into this horrible scenario, feeling the unnecessary need to protect Sequoia’s behavior and also stand up for what I believe in. With a trembling voice I said that my son is not even 2 years old and that he did not do anything except playing with her daughters toys! She did not even let me finish my sentence, just kept on yelling at me. I got furious and at the same time frustrated about not being able to parent the way I believe it is right. I was also stunned by her bewildered aggression and about how she interpreted the situation, but most of all that she got what she wanted. While our voices got louder and louder, the children around us all started to play with her daughter’s bucket and shuffle. When I pointed that out, she ignored it. When I said that little children don’t understand the property of others yet, she ignored it. Then I yelled at her that she should either bring more toys or no toys! No reaction, no opening, no nothing, just an aggressive ice block ranting. I am the one that needs to have better control over my child. I felt sad, ungrounded and also a bit crazy not really knowing what I would do next. I was in a tunnel, feeling my heart hurting, loosing more and more my centre, my brain thinking without feeling, an energetic dead end going in circles…Awful. I did not even see that another woman approached us and neither did I notice a man walking over. The guy was probably the dad and very annoyed by me, asking me to stop talking, the toys are back and everything is fine! I could not believe my ears. Then the other woman chimed in and said to the couple that she hasn’t seen such a mean behavior on this playground ever before. These few seconds helped me retain some ground again and I realized that I just had to let it go, take my son and go away. Yes, they were mean to me.

While we are walking away, Sequoia turns around and walks back to the playing children, he kneels down and throws a handful of sand on the girl with the bucket. Of course he should not throw with sand and of course I stop him. While I kneel down to the 2 children, say sorry to the girl, explain her the situation, caress the sand out of her hair, her father screams that she should throw sand back at Sequoia. This time, I am the one that ignores and continue my actions. When I stand up, I almost yell at the guy asking him how old he is but instead I say that this is not about revenge, it is about understanding what happened and saying sorry when it is appropriate.

For a few minutes I was thrown back and forth like a ping pong ball by a stranger using me. I let myself be thrown back and forth, I let it happen and I still don’t know what I could have done differently. I am unsatisfied about how I handled this situation. She was mean to me and I am not used to that.


4 thoughts on “Playground battles

  1. Hi liebe Carmen! So ein unschönes Erlebnis braucht man tatsächlich nicht… Leider gibt es immer mal wieder solche Eltern, ob im Turnkurs, im Schwimmbad, im Kindergarten, auf dem Spielplatz oder auf der Straße. Mit Kindern kommt man auch mit Menschen in Kontakt, die man sonst nie getroffen hätte. Ein spannendes Lernfeld, an dem auch ich mich immer noch ausprobiere.
    L. G. Und ich drück dich!

  2. Hi dear..
    There are some weird and lost people around ..
    Ich bin mit meinen 8 Südfrüchtchen zwischen 1 und 3 täglich unterwegs und hab da auch schon unschöne Begegnungen der Zeit hab ich gelernt mir die wunden Punkte nicht mehr drücken zu lassen und schneller zu spüren,wenn gewaltinduzierte Energie im Abmarsch ist und uns zu schützen,indem ich in solche Szenarien vermeide ..
    Tatsächlich bringen mich entsprechende Auseinandersetzungen aber weiter,wenn ich darüber reflektiere und ich kann deine ehrliche Betroffenheit und Wut sehr gut verstehen..
    Hugs from Cologne

    • Ja, die wunden Punkte …ich hätte gerne die Fähigkeit gehabt früher zu spüren, dass es sich hier um ein Machtspiel handelt und nicht um parenting styles…dann wäre ich vielleicht früher gegangen und hätte diese aggressive Energie nicht aufgesaugt wie ein Schwamm… Hugs back to you, Carmen

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