Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I will yell at a child

This weekend we attended a wedding reception for Nelson's aunt and her new husband.  They've been together for many years and decided to get married last month while on vacation in Hawaii. 

It was a lovely afternoon reception, and kids were invited so that was fantastic.  There were tons of cousins and other kids for the boys to play with, and they had a great time.  Mostly a great time.

At one point, my sister-in-law Suzi and I were standing underneath the dining tent chatting and casually watching our kids, who were playing about 50 yards away being (kind of) supervised by our husbands.  They were back there with them.  There was a large play structure and also a small bounce house - the kind that fits two or three small kids.  Oscar was on play structure and Miles and my niece, Ella, were in the bounce house with another cousin. There were probably 8 or 10 kids total playing, our husbands and two or three other parents back there.

So, Suzi and I were casually chatting but also watching the bounce house from a distance (those thing are death traps), and I noticed a bigger kid getting into the bounce house.  My mommy-sense went off. I said to Suzi, "Hey, who is this big kid getting in the bounce house?"

"In the white shirt?  I'm not sure."

Then, the biggish kid shoved my niece.  He was at least a head taller. She stumbled, but was fine, completely unfazed.  It's a bounce house, after all.

After the shove, though, I was on high alert because Miles was in there, and he was the smallest kid inside the house and the biggish kid was clearly a bully.

Sure enough, he I saw him turn his attention to Miles and my heart started racing.  Miles was on all fours and the kid cocked his leg and kick him square in the face.



There is no mistaking what happened for an accident. He pulled back his leg and unleashed it underneath Mile's jaw.  Miles William's head snapped back and I took off at a run, calling to Suzi, "That kid just kicked Miles in the face!" 

"What?!" and she took off as well.

The bully hightailed it out of the bounce house, SMIRKING while the parents by the bounce house were trying to figure out what happened.  I passed the bully on my way to Miles and I stopped.

"HEY!" I shouted and pointed at him. (I should be clear, I was not screaming, it was more very loud, stern shouting.)  He started and dropped the smirk.




He mumbled something, that Suzi (who was right behind me) reported to be, "What? I didn't anything."

I ran back to Miles and everyone was still baffled, but having heard me yell at the bully, they figured out why Miles was sobbing on the bounce house floor.  My brother-in-law went in and got him (I was in a dress) and passed him over to me.  He jaw was red.  He clung to me, sobbing.

Another of the parents asked what had happened and I told her the bigger kid had intentionally kicked Miles in the face.  I pointed the kid out and she went running after him and brought him to his mom.

As I was consoling Miles, who I am sure was as scared and shocked as he was hurt, the mom came over and apologized profusely, asking exactly what happened, and if there had been any provocation.

"No," I told her, "He went in the bounce house, shoved my nice, and kicked Miles in the face.  He was in there less than a minute."

She was apologetic, but not surprised.  He has ADHD and behavioral issues. I know the mom, I like the mom, and I know it is embarrassing and upsetting when your kids misbehave, particularly when they hurt another child.  She took him home immediately.

And that was that.  I think I was visibly shaking for an hour, I was so angry that Miles had been bullied by a kid that was nearly twice his size.  That this kid went into the bounce house intending to hurt someone, and that Miles was the victim.  Because I have no doubt that if he'd actually hurt my nice, he would have stopped his assaults.  He was trying to provoke a reaction.  My easy-going niece was not a good target (though I suspect he chose her because she was the next smallest, and a girl); Miles, a toddler on all fours, was an excellent target.

Miles recovered much more quickly.  He was back in the bounce house in less than 10 minutes.

I definitely felt guilty after the fact for yelling at someonelse's kid, but I wanted to get a good look at him, and I wanted to make sure he knew he was not getting away with kicking my kid in the face.


I get all upset again just thinking about it, my sweet Miles, maliciously kicked in the face.  I think if it had just been a slap I would not have been so upset. I deal with conflict between children all day long and I rarely raise my voice.   But just knowing that this kid's intention was to hurt, to injure, sent me over the top.

So, anyways, I will yell at a child.  Oh, yes, I will.


Strawberry said...

Wow. How awful. I'm glad the kid's mom removed him. I'm scared of that ever happening to my kid because I don't know if I'd be able to control myself like you did (and yes, I think just yelling is controlling yourself!)

Sprite's Keeper said...

You felt guilty? Screw that! ADHD, behavioral issues or not, if you cause shit, you deserve to get shit. His mom deserves to get a little shit too since she should have been right on top of his ass, knowing he was capable of intentionally causing trouble. I know ADHD and behavorial issues, my nephew is an extreme example. Due to that, I don't trust my daughter to be alone with him at any given time since she is bossy at four and even at his age, 11, he reacts profoundly to a younger kid trying to act like his superior. They love each other so much, but once they're together, it's like oil and water. And I do love my nephew with all my heart, but I also know that kids with ADHD and behavioral issues are uber-sensitive to any communication and can be set off by a seemingly innocent remark, so I don't feel guilty at all when I raise my voice to him. Technically, I'm protecting him from further issues since if he really got the chance to execute a roundhouse kick into my kid's face, (he's tried it before repeatedly), I would have him in a headlock before the thought entered my head.
(especially since the kid ran off right after causing the damage, it shows he knew the potential consequences for sticking around..)

Aliceson said...

Oh, how awful! I'm actually surprised that the mother handled her child the way she did, and GOOD for her doing the right thing and taking him home. Too many times you hear about parents ignoring their kids' bad behavior. Ugh.

Jennifer said...

I would have done the exact same thing in your situation! I think you demonstrated great parenting skills! Your job is to protect your own children and you were doing that by confronting the other child.

Susanica said...

I am so upset for you reading this Jenni. And if you had not seen it you would have been clueless as to why Miles was crying so much. I don't know what I would have done in your shoes, but I would have been beyond furious with this kid! -M

Casey said...

Hell no, you'd better not feel guilty for yelling at that kid. We go to open-play at the local bounce house probably every other week and to this date, there has not been ONE time I haven't yelled at someone else's fuckhead kid to be careful/don't push/stop climbing on that. People get inside those things and all rules go out the window and big kids are MEAN. My kids would qualify as ADHD and although they kick the crap out of each other daily, they would NEVER harm someone else's kid. Completely unacceptable.

Oh, and my friend's 4yo was recently pinned down by a pack of 6yo's in a bounce house as she turned to pick up his younger sibling. They were on top of him punching him for no fucking reason. Kids turn crazy in those things, I STILL have to crawl through with my kids every time because I don't trust other kids. Next time, kick him back.

Andrea said...

I have to say that the mother did a disservice to her son (and obviously Miles), by not keeping closer tabs on his whereabouts. I am glad you saw exactly what happened, and that your babe recovered quickly and hopefully enjoyed the rest of his time.

Michele said...

a. You should not feel guilty for yelling at this kid. I hate to say it but I would have done quite a bit more.
b. Sure the mother was apologetic but did she make the kid apologize to Miles and to you? Did she discipline him? Did she make he understand how much he hurt Miles? If not, then she screwed up. Leaving the scene without some sort of disciplinary action towards her kid just sends him the message that it's okay to hurt little ones. Maybe, he wanted to be taken home and knew this was going to happen if he acted up.
c. I understand that ADHD is difficult to deal with (I know because my nephew is ADHD. His parents spent a lot of time sheltering him from his actions. Going so far as to pull strings to get him out of jail when he stole a car. He's now 30 years old and still a screw up) but not teaching him consequences of his actions is not good parenting, no matter what his disability.

Amanda said...

Wow. I would totally have SCREAMED at that kid. So not cool. I'm glad the mom dealt with it and didn't try to defend him. That's just awful.

Mrsbear said...

That kid needed to get called out. If you hadn't seen it happen, he would have casually walked away with a clear conscience. Wow. Something like that would bring out the mama bear in all of us. Glad Miles was okay.

Frogs in my formula said...

Something similar happened to my friend's child at a mall playground. The girl was autistic. The mother whisked her away but the damage was done. It was awful. We were both shaking. I'm sorry this happened to you and Miles!

Becky said...

OMG no he didn't! You were totally in the right to yell. That kid needs to know that behavior is not acceptable. And his mom needed to be supervising him more closely, if she wasn't surprised to hear that he'd kicked someone. That is very concerning to me. It seems like a real mean streak?

Good for your mommy instincts or you might not have seen it happen. Poor Miles!

Keely said...

No, you should NOT have felt bad. ADHD is not an excuse or a free pass to be an asshole. I'm glad you called him out and I'm glad Miles is okay. You're right, bounce houses are death traps.