OK, well, my first born made it to 17 months until her mommy got into a verbal fight with another mom. Should I be proud of that? I've thought through this confrontation over and over, and I'm confident that in hindsight I still handled it the way I believe I should have.
So here we are, kicking off a fantastic family vacation in Florida with a stop at Busch Gardens in Tampa. We pretty much stuck to the kiddo area with our toddler, which meant splash pad fun! Woohoo! Bugga loves these things, having just discovered them at home - she doesn't have to stress over blowing bubbles or not touching the bottom when she wants to.
Bugga and I were walking around the large splash pad area looking at all the fun water obstacles, as I noticed the posted rules included "Yield to small children." Perfect - that is us indeed!
There is an area that essentially has water "guns" that can be aimed at each other in 90 degree circles and directed to a variety of heights. As we walked past this with another mom and her stroller, a 5-year-old boy turned and aimed right at me and my 1 year old. He drenched me (and I was wearing street clothes) and hosed my daughter down in the face. His expression stated that he clearly knew what he was doing. The mom with the stroller was apparently his mother, said something to him along the lines of, "Play niiiiiiiiice" and then kept on walking, turning her back on her misbehaving son. He then turned right around, aimed at my daughter's face again, and sprayed her with the water while squealing, "Got you!!!!"
Oh it was on.
I gave the mother a stern, "Ma'am!" call, and she froze, as she clearly knew this had to do with her child. She turned around with attitude on her face and a "Yeah?" where I promptly told her that her son was out of hand and needed a parent to help him out. She immediately got all defensive and said, "Well you ARE at a water park, you should expect to get wet!"
Me: "What I don't expect is for my daughter to be attacked by such a mean kid that is 5 times her size."
Her: "Well you don't know what it's like to have a 5 year old boy and another child. We are working with him."
Me: "What I do know is that it is my job to protect my own child, and that I am responsible for what happens to her. As you should be for your children."
Her: "You don't know what it's like! He is a five year old boy!"
Me: "Then you need to not turn your back on him. Otherwise you need some help!"
I walked away with my daughter, as clearly this mom was missing the point.
Look, I get that kids have to learn things. And I also don't believe anyone at 5 years old can be that evil. But seriously, turning your back on your child's bad behavior? All I heard from this mom's reasoning was, "I can't handle being a parent." Honestly - if you can't be somewhere and be responsible for BOTH of your children, you either should not have left the house, or you need to bring another adult with you to help. There is no excuse for not being aware of (or worse, IGNORING) what your children are doing, especially when out in public.
About 5 minutes later the little boy came up to us and apologized for spraying us in the face with the water. I guess Mom thought I was right after all. I thanked him, left my daughter with my husband, and went to smooth things over.
I walked back up to the mom, told her I appreciated her sending her son over, and I was sorry I raised my voice. She then got back on her defensive soapbox and starting moaning about how "I don't know what it's like" and then I knew I shouldn't have bothered. Poor little boy - it's going to be a rough ride with that woman.
So - would you have handled it any differently? I would love to hear it!