Forgive me, loyal readers. I haven’t written anything in a while. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to write about, but with the new year comes busy times!  But I had to write about this one. I know I usually write about my learnings, things that have helped me along the way, or even cautionary tales. Today, I am asking you for advice. Let me start by painting you a picture.

We are at a playground. It’s late in the day, witching hour is upon us. A three-year-old is screeching uncontrollably at her mother and grandmother while her brother runs around. Fifteen minutes later said three-year-old pushes my 18-month-old away as she approached some vacant play equipment that I was standing by, stating aggressively “my turn”!  I try to indicate that actually, no, it was the little baby’s turn, she was here first, but that doesn’t work, and miss and I shrug and walk to the slide, where missy proceeds to trundle down the slide for what feels like an age.

Later, miss three decides she wants to walk up the slide. “OK,” I think, “That’s not a problem, we will just take turns”. After all, kids will be kids (though I can still hear my own mother screaming at me when I had the audacity to walk up the slide). This works for a while. But then miss three decides she wants to control all of the slide, and she climbs up it, pushing kids back as they make their way down and sits at the top of the slide, holding her arms out, while four kids bundle up behind her, mostly patiently waiting their turn. My 18-month-old is second in line, and she’s wedged between kids, trying to take her turn while miss three holds the slide hostage. She then begins to aggressively push my daughter, screaming (and I mean, SCREAMING) “no, no, no!”. Now, I don’t blame the kid. She was clearly exhausted. She didn’t want to be there. Her eyes were hanging out of her head. The problem was, there was nobody there to calm her. I could not get to my daughter to remove her from the situation, and she was getting pushed rather hard by a girl twice her size. So, I took the arm of the three-year-old away and said, “No. You need to stop pushing her.” At this point, someone did come in, and laughed about how miss three was having trouble learning to share – again, not a problem. At no point do I blame the kid.

Now, I remember those mums at the playgrounds who tell you off. I remember feeling ashamed when a parent who wasn’t my own scolded me. Moreover, I remember feeling quite angry at them. I wasn’t an overly naughty kid, but these things happen. The thing that bothers me is, I don’t want to be that mum. The whole thing left me feeling really uncomfortable. I’m not entirely sure I handled it the right way. It wasn’t the three-year-old’s fault per se. But what was I to do? Allow her to keep pushing my daughter over? Keeping in mind I wasn’t in a position to move my child from the situation (which I did the moment she made it down the slide), what would you have done? What’s the right thing to do in a situation where the other carer doesn’t step in? No wrong answers, folks!

Next: I found myself judging a fellow parent

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