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…