There’s a Reason I Only Have TwoPosted: August 11, 2011
Given that it’s still so hot, we pretty much make it to a pool every day. We’re lucky to have lots of free city pools, and when I’m by myself I almost always end up taking the girls to one of the shallower wading pools. I can sit and cool off, and it’s shallow enough that the girls can fling themselves around and can still stand up on their own. I don’t usually take them to regular pools by myself because there’s a lot of “Mama! Watch THIS!” and sometimes I’m not fast enough to get there to stop one or both of the girls from doing themselves bodily harm. Adele has a slightly chipped front tooth which resulted from this very situation, so I usually just stick to the little pools. In any case, though, we were meeting another adult yesterday for a swim, so we went to a big pool. Extra adult eyes FTW!
At the big pool, there were a few other parents with kids; one was a mom with four children. Four children is fine! Four children is lovely! Four children is too many for one person to watch easily IN A POOL.
We showed up with our little inflatable monkey inner tube, which Adele likes to use even though she’s pretty comfortable swimming on her own or being held by an adult in the water. We brought it in the pool with us at first, but then just left it on the side as she didn’t feel like using it at that moment. An older boy of about 8, the oldest of the four aforementioned kids, came along an grabbed it to play with it. I have NO problem with this; whenever we bring toys to the pool, other people wind up playing with them, and it’s totally fine. If we’re leaving, I ask for them back and it’s no big deal. Sharing! It’s a good thing!
So this boy was being pretty rough with the monkey and I asked him to please be careful with it, since it’s really for babies and not really meant for older kids. His mom was within earshot, but said nothing; I wasn’t being rude, just matter-of-fact. Side note: I REALLY don’t like disciplining other people’s kids. Like, EVER.
He calmed down a little, but then I saw him sitting on it again and submerging it a few minutes later; Adele saw him too and asked for me to get it back, so I did. (Politely.) May I also make note of the fact that he’s said nothing to me during all of this? Not an “ok, I’ll be careful” or anything along those lines. No big deal, but worth noting.
She used it for a few minutes and was finished with it, so I put it back on the side of the pool and the boy’s little sister (maybe 2 years old?) grabbed it. Again, TOTALLY FINE until he came back up, grabbed it from her and started jumping in to the pool while sitting on it. Again, mom is within earshot; she can see he grabbed it away from his sister (who is now wailing) and has done nothing. I go up, politely let him know that his sister was using it, that it’s REALLY FOR LITTLE BABIES, and I put it under our swim bag, up on the deck away from the pool. We go back to swimming.
Then the little sister sees it, takes it from under our bag and puts it on. Again, FINE. I’m really just trying to keep it from her brother at this point. He runs up to grab it from her, yanks it off her body and POPS IT. Adele sees and starts shrieking because hello, she is TWO and it’s HER TOY.
The mom (finally) comes over and says “Oh, did they pop your toy?” I say yes, because they did, but I’m also holding Adele and trying to calm her down because she’s really upset. And the mom says “Did they apologize to you?”
OKAY. Here is where I need input. Had it been me, I would have had the child apologize to Adele. And probably to me, since I had already tried to keep the toy from him SEVERAL times without input from his mother. The mother, however, did not do this. I said that they had not apologized (really, it was just the boy who needed to) and she… did not do anything. She did not reprimand him other than to say “that really wasn’t nice” and people? SHE did not apologize to me or to Adele.
This is something, as a parent, that I do. If my child is behaving in a manner that justifies apology, I apologize FOR them. I then handle it with my child on my own, after having my child ALSO apologize. And, had my child broken someone else’s toy, I would certainly have offered to pay for it. (That’s really not at all the issue, though… it’s more the principle of the thing in this situation.)
I was really irritated with the whole thing, and we left not long after.
So my question is… am I wrong to be irritated? Should I just write it off? It takes a lot to get me hot under the collar, but for some reason I’m still annoyed when I think about this.