The other weekend I was standing in a long long line for a bouncy slide with DC2.
There was a woman behind me. After letting someone cut in line behind her, her daughters kept running in front and trying to get to the slide. And she kept ineffectually calling her daughters’ names and making grabs for one of them.
When I got right at the front of the line, I stuck my arm out as one of the daughters made a break for it to run up the slide in front of DC2 who was waiting patiently until it the teenager in charge said it was safe to go up. The daughter ran into my arm instead of up the slide.
This is the kind of thing that parents around here do all the time, catch other people’s kids when they’re making a break for it, because the parents tend to be upper class and the streets are close by and dangerous so parents (right or wrong) tend to have more fear of their kid getting away than of other parents. (I don’t know if I mentioned that DH literally saved a kid’s life earlier this year. A toddler had wandered from the playground into the parking lot to get something from his parent’s van and was about to get backed over by an SUV. DH ran his bike in front of the SUV to stop it from backing up, which made the SUV driver upset until she realized what had almost happened. DH returned the kid to a frantic parent who had been looking all over the playground for the kid.)
In any case, this horrible woman then chewed me out for touching her daughter and she had everything under control etc., but of course she didn’t.
Later that day I recounted this story to our friends out here, and they individually said, “were the daughters names Olivia and Isabella?” And was the older one Isabella and the younger one Olivia and Olivia a year or two older than DC2? Did the woman have brown hair? And the answer is yes. Apparently this woman has a reputation and it wasn’t me at all. I imagine she thought my arm was some kind of comment on her parenting (which it wasn’t until she chewed me out about it!)
(After DC2 went down the slide I said no more fair activities because the horrible woman was going to the last thing DC2 hadn’t done, so I was like, let’s go to the library instead. And so we did. And I witnessed lots of village parenting and parents thanking other parents for helping out instead of chewing them out and it was nice. And then we went to another event at DC2’s daycare and I was even more hands on with keeping other people’s preschoolers out of trouble since parents were busy volunteering and I ended up on kid duty somehow. People seemed grateful.)
I think where we normally live there’s much less of an atmosphere of village parenting, but there’s usually hardly anyone at the park or playground because everyone has a play structure in their back-yard. And disgruntled women like the one at the park are more likely to be carrying a concealed weapon. I’m not sure I would have automatically prevented a kid from going up a slide back where we usually live, no matter how dangerous. But the teenagers in charge of the event would also probably have been better at keeping things safe.
What’s it like where you live in terms of village parenting vs. minding your own business? How do you feel about other people stopping your child when he or she is making a break for it?