Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bone Crusher @ McDonald's

Just came back from McDonald’s play place, where I had a disturbing experience. A chubby 4 year old boy pushed my toddler to his back in the ball-area, and by the time I dug into the scene shouting “No, no, stop!” as firm as I could, the chubby boy was about to jump off the tube right on crying E.

The boy’s father caught up with me, shouting things in Russian. The boy grew frustrated. He started explaining things either in gibberish or Russian. I really don’t know. Then he found a girl in the tube, pinned her down and started pushing his body on top of her quite severely. She was older, though, and got away fast as she could.

Watching chubby boy, I put pieces of earlier incidents together. The mother, who was in the table next to us, was shaking her head since we arrived, like she was sad or distressed. The father who wore a Postal Service tag was calming her down. He looked tired from work, and she looked like she was blaming him for not being around. The chubby boy was continuously dug out of the play area by the father while throwing a fit. I had assumed that chubby boy was being bullied or that his parents were overly protective.

Staring into my toddler’s terrified eyes, I felt as confused as he is. With a shaky note, I looked chubby boy straight in the eyes and shouted “No jumping on other people!” Chubby boy looked equally terrified. His eyes were slightly dazed, while his attention shifted between me, his father and things happening around him. He, then, began shaking nervously and his father pulled him out.

My body heated up as many thoughts raced through my mind. I helped little E. up and didn’t know what to do. Chubby boy was NOT normal. He does not look like he’s bullying on purpose. However, his mood shifts and aggressive tendencies made him a danger to other kids. I sympathized with the parents who might be here, because they need their time out and away as much (and maybe more) than any other parent. Yet still, I could not act happy and forgiving either. Its just hard to say “Oh, I understand that your child was about to crush the bones of my son.” I could not report the incident either.

With shaky hands, I helped little E. slide one more time, so he wouldn’t feel defeated or develop fear of the play place. Once he came down, both a smile and tear on his face, I sang our way out the door. Neither the chubby boy, nor his parents looked like they were leaving soon. I walked home with unsettling feelings. Wondering if I had done the right thing…


Cairogal said...

One can only guess what was going on. You did the right thing. It doesn't sound like you were unkind or unreasonable. It sounds like the little boy needs a reminder about boundaries. He could very well be the victim of bullying by his own dad.

Hning said...

I once attended a community facilitation/meeting for maternal and early childhood health program. One of the children there was being disruptive to the meeting: screaming, nagging his mama to take him home, and rolling on the floor for attention.

I thought, "My mama woulda slapped my butt raw before I even think of behaving like that."

And the facilitator, agreeing with my thoughts, said: "Mothers, tame your children. They're supposed to know how to behave in the presence of adults."

See, if someone had the balls to bring children to the world, they have actually agreed with God, the society, the country, the world, to raise these children. And raise them well.

Otherwise, someone else would. If not you, or me, then the state prison.

You did well. Next time, shake that little b*st*rd in fron of his parents. If they don't bother, then we should.

For the sake of our own.

Aafke said...

A very scary story. Luckily you kept an eye out for your child.

I think you did the right thing. It is impossible to get a grip on what's wrong, there obviously is something wrong, but you could in no way find out or do anything about it.

It really sends the shivers down my back!

Marahm said...

You not only did the right thing, but you did it efficiently and diplomatically.

aga said...

Wondering if I had done the right thing ...

I can't imagine that you could have done less, and whether you should have done more, I think, is a question that you will answer if and when you are confronted with a "similar," abnormal situation. On this occasion, I think you did exactly the right thing under the circumstances.

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

You were right, don't fret.

My middle child, who just turned 8 today, has severe developmental delays however, upon first glance and if she hasn't opened her mouth, she appears "normal". Unfortunately, she's very, VERY strong (I keep saying I'm gonna turn her into Saudi's first female competitive power-lifter) and she has poor coordination so a seemingly innocent gesture gone wrong can knock a person out. She's broken my nose twice and just today, smacked the classes off of my face by trying to indicate a locked-door with a hand-gesture too close to my face! My poor little Indonesian maid's been knocked straight onto her butt while playing with her more than a few times!

I've exhausted myself since her toddlerhood shadowing her as much as possible, trying to keep her from injuring other, smaller kids. I wish I could say I've been successful 100% of the time but unfortunately, some really gruesome accidents have happened and some really angry parents have tracked me down. Even with that background and understanding, the approach that you've described with the "bone crusher" wasn't over-the-top and if you'd reacted in a similar way to my child's behavior, I couldn't be offended or upset by you.
Your child has a right to play safely and not be intimidated or harmed by other children, you were doing your duty as his mother and no one should think otherwise, especially you:-)

Dotsson said...

"You did well. Next time, shake that little b*st*rd in fron of his parents. If they don't bother, then we should."

Yeah do that and then we'll get to see you in CNN. "Islamic Terrorist Beats Up underage Infidel at McDonald's."

Aysha said...

Thank you guys for your support and insights. (yeah, yeah, if you read me long enough you'll notice I have limited vocabulary choice :P)

I was concerned that the case is either child abnormality, or abuse. Similar to what cairogal and daisy have guessed. I don't think it is lack of discipline hning. Dotsson, thank God I didn't get that idea (CNN!) right there and then, I might've done something drastic just for easy access to stardome :D

To be honest you guys, what bothered me the most that day, and what gave me the scare was my lack of ability to diagnose the situation. To be able to pick the little details and recongize what/who I'm dealing with.

We never get to choose how our children's health will be like when they are born, nor will the children choose what family the will be born to-but if the child is sick, or if the family is not good, isn't it our responsibility to be aware, concsiou and ready for when it is our turn to be of help? Even the littlest of help.

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

wow, you really are tough on yourself!
In my spec ed courses, there were volumes dedicated entirely to how to identify children with "problems". Many issues can only be seen/discovered/diagnosed after prolonged periods of observation and really interacting with and getting to know the children and their circumstances. Even an expert may not have spotted "bone crusher's" underlying problems, if indeed there are problems and he's not just a brat, in one meeting at McDonald's.
You poor thing, quit beating yourself up!

Aafke said...

Aysha, You have to look after your own child, and in this particular situation there is really nothing I can see that you could do.
You can not have any information.

If this was at your kid's school, something might be possible, but such a change encounter with strangers...
Please do not fret about this.

Hning said...

Awh...come on...not even a little bit?
*cracking knuckles*

One whack. One small, little whack on half-a-butt.
*cracking neck joints*

No? Tsk.
*sits back in the shadows. sulking*