A few weeks ago at the park, the girls were playing on their favorite jungle gym when a host of other little children arrived and started to play too. Ari had been going down the slide, over and over, taking her time and enjoying herself immensely. As she made to sit down and position herself to go down the slide again, one of the new little children, a little girl around 4 or 5 ran up, leaned down and put on the ugliest face she could to intimidate Ari.
“Get out of the way.” she sneered.
Ari looked at her, got up and moved back. The little girl bounded down the slide and Ari watched her disappear into the tube before disappearing herself behind the clubhouse wall where I couldn’t see, but I noticed her bottom lip start to curl before she was completely out of view.
I stormed up the stairs, imagining I was knocking all of the little brats, even the well behaved and polite ones, over the railing as I went. She sat on a tiny bench, arms folded across her chest and head hung low, her dark hair hiding her face. I scooped her into my arms, this tiny little thing that still fits into all my motherly nooks after almost 4 years, and hugged her to my chest. She wrapped her arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder, whimpering, and my heart hurt. It hurt especially because I thought she was so tough, that she’d never let another children run over her that way – I thought only her sister was that tender.
We stood under an old oak tree to the side of the sandbox and I leaned back to look at her.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
“No.” she cried, her dark eyes swollen and red.
“Do you want to go to the other part, and swing?”
“Yes,” she answered, wiping her round cheeks off with her dirty little hands.
So we left, The Bella remaining at the jungle gym with her father. I pushed her on the swings for 15 minutes, her big smile returning and her eyes sparkling like they had been before.
She forgot all about the previous incident. But I didn’t.
My eyes stung and I wondered where the hell that little brat’s parent was. Who the hell let her think it was ok for her to pick on other children, to be so rude without any hesitation, to a child she barely knew?
I was angry, angry that children are so mean to one another, that it comes so naturally to some. I was angry that this little girl was rude to my child. And I contemplated searching out that mother, just to glare and watch and see if she even paid attention to how her kids behaved.
As I stewed inside, Ari and I went back over to the jungle gym where The Bella was playing alone. The other children had moved on to the seesaws. Ari reclaimed her slide and I stood with my arms folded, pissed off.
Shitty parents. Rude kids. Ugh.
Another group of children ran up, climbing the stairs and making their way to where The Bella and Ari were. Bella saw them coming and stretched out her arms, grasping either side of the walkway and blocking their entrance. She furrowed her brow at them and said “You can’t play up here. Go AWAY.”
My sweet, easy going, friendly, never harsh to anyone, Bella. Being the playground asshole. Being rude.
And making me eat all the thoughts I’d had over the past 1/2 hour about the parents of, and the little girl that had hurt my baby’s feelings.