Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Here's to you mean daddy (of perfect child) at McDonalds who made me cry

Amazing Daddy says I'm over reacting, and I probably am. Maybe it's the hormones or the fact that I got less than six hours of sleep last night, but the man was such an ass.

After blood work and ultrasound at the RE, The Boy and I went to McD's to play in the play land and have breakfast. TB was pretty bummed that no other kids were there when we first arrived. About half an hour later though another little boy about TB's age showed up with his mom and dad. TB was very excited and the two boys played for a good half hour together appearing to have a lot of fun and being real "boys."

After a while I could tell TB was getting a little wound up so I gave him the ten minute warning which he handled fairly well. He went off to do one last trip up the climber and down the slide and the other kid joined him for a few minutes then went back to his parents. I talked TB down finally and was walking him back to our table to get his shoes on when the dad stopped me and told me that my son punched his son and he saw it all happen. Of course I immediately apologized to all of them and had TB come over and say he was sorry. I also told TB in front of them that I know he knows that hitting is not OK and we don't hit people.

Well the dad just couldn't let it go and kept saying that he saw it happen and now his son was so upset they were leaving. His son did look like he had shed a few tears, but he didn't in anyway look like he was so upset he couldn't play any more. So I said that we were leaving and they didn't have to.

I honestly thought I was doing every thing I could to try and "make it right" with his son and with the parents. I apologized several times and made it clear that I didn't think hitting was OK. But this dad just couldn't let it go and starts saying that all they wanted to do was bring their son to have some fun and my son ruined it for them.

I think at that point I said something like "you don't have to be so mean to me." And he responded with something about how my son needed help.

It just all seemed so blown out of proportion to me, but then again since I felt attacked by the dad, I'm not thinking very clearly about all of this.

Certainly this isn't the first time I've had to apologize for TB hitting someone, and to be very honest he's done worse than he did today. I try very hard to prevent these incidents but unfortunately I'm not always successful. I do however, when it happens, apologize profusely and we immediately leave. I never give TB second chances. Short of never letting TB play with other kids I'm not sure what more to do.

If you read this blog you know that TB is getting help for his impulsive actions. A lot of help.

So my question is, what more could I have done? Was this dad out of line? I absolutely understand wanting to protect your child, but was it necessary to attack me in the process?

TB is pretty honest with me about these things. When we got home I asked him if he hit the boy and he said yes. I asked if the boy hit him and he said no. I asked him how many times and he told me "just one time mommy." We talked some more and it actually sounds like TB might have pushed the other kid, not hit him, but I guess I can't be sure since I didn't see it. It definitely wasn't TB beating up the other kid, or sitting on him and pummelling him. It seemed more like typical four year old boy play. God, does it sound like I'm trying to justify here?

During all of this the mom just sat there and didn't say anything or look at anyone. The dad left with the boy and she sat there for a few seconds then threw away the trash and left, without acknowledging me.

By this time I was close to tears. Part of me wanted to run after them and try and make them understand I wasn't some bad mom with a delinquent four year old. Part of me wished I had some snappy come back that would have put this dad in his place. Most of me wishes I could just let it roll off me and ignore it. But it really bothers me and I cried the entire drive home.

I'd love to hear from other mom's out there on how they would handle it. Fortunately most parents have been quite gracious when TB does something and I apologize. I wish I had some "come back" that I could have on hand that would make it clear that we are getting help for our son and that there are reasons for his behavior, although we don't consider his actions appropriate.

This is the kind of thing that will bother me for a long time, even though the rational part of me knows that I'm being silly to let it.


  1. That dad is totally out of line. Kids hit each other- particularly at that age. My son does it often enough and I make him apologize and tell him we have to leave, but he was way out of line to blame you or to keep yelling about it. I know its hard to let it go, but I think you're doing everything right (as far as how to handle it when/if he pushes/shoves/hits) and you shouldn't have to over-apologize. Nor should PA be made to feel like he's got something wrong with him because he's aggressive. He can be aggressive, and you and he are both working on it, and that's the end of the story. I don't see why this man thinks that trying to you or PA feel bad about it is going to solve anything.

  2. Yeah, I can see where the dad was out of line. I, too, feel the need to overcompensate when Zach does something like that (I made him draw an "I'm sorry" card for the girl he clocked before Christmas).

    The best you could have done was make PA apologize to the other child and apologize to the parents, which you did. It reminds me of something a teacher once told me about the Constitution: my right to swing my fist ends where someone else's nose begins. The dad's right to criticize your parenting ends where his son is no longer involved. You apologized, you left, and I think he stepped over the line in saying PA needs help.

  3. I moseyed over from Julia's and I was expecting an account of some bloodbath or something, but really, this sounds like pretty normal kid behavior. I can tell you're on high alert because of particular issues with your son but I think the dad of the other kid overreacted. He may have his own issues. I know it's hard, but don't take it too personally.