I felt so powerless yesterday. And bewildered. And Unsure. With a good ole dose of horror.
My husband and I were watching our son play in our complex’s playground. He wasn’t feeling all that well, and ended up just sitting next to me, on a bench, beneath the shade.
He pointed out the tree, and the birdies, and the squirrel. He was happy, and so was I.
On the other side of the playground I could see a procession coming toward our area. There were about 12 boys ranging in age from about 4-8 and a girl, in a gorilla costume. Forget the fact that it’s Shabbos and she’s dressing up in Purim costumes, and forget that this is a lot of boys and one girl, but focus on my son. He saw the girl, or rather the gorilla and started whimpering
“Ah doogie, Ah doogie!” he pointed and started to cry. He pulled himself closer to me, and I waved my hands to the kids, indicating to stay away. They noted, smiled, and came closer.
I’ve never seen my son scared. He’s as macho as they come. Trips, falls, scrapes, he just brushes them off- literally. He brushes off the dirt, the blood the mess, and continues on. Sometimes he’ll come to me and say,
“Dooty” when his broad strokes don’t get rid of the dirt.
And now my son was cowering, crying,
“Doogie, bye bye, Doogie bye bye”
The kids came even closer.
“Please stay away.” I beseeched. “Don’t you see you’re scaring him, and making him upset. That’s not nice is it?” I reasoned. The gorilla hesitated, but the boys egged her on, and she came even closer.
My kid shrieked more and my husband growled,“Go away now! What do you think you’re doing!” The kids laughed, but dispersed.
My kid was now crying freely, clutching me for dear life, and I wiped away a tear, my own tear.
Later at home, while eating supper, my kid kept going on,
“Doogie go bye bye. Doogie go ‘way!”
And I reassured him that the doggie wasn’t coming back. A few moments respite, and he started on the “Doogie” refrain. This went on for a while.
And that wasn’t all that happened in the park yesterday. My kid was sitting a low ledge on the playground, little feet dangling slightly. A boy of about 5 approached him, stuck his face into his, and then without warning or provocation slapped my kid 5 times across the face. I jumped to my feet (as much as overdue woman can jump) and aggressively marched towards my son (about 20 feet away). The boy saw me approaching and backed off.
“We don’t hit people,” I scolded. “Especially not little kids, that didn’t do anything to you.” He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. My kid wasn’t really crying, just whimpering a little; he was mostly bewildered.
“Da boiy… da boiy” he repeated. He couldn’t seem to make sense about what just happened to him.
“Da boiy’s” mother had been sitting on the park bench next to me, engrossed in a fascinating conversation about getting children into school. She missed everything. I didn’t fill her in. It didn’t seem worth it, but her lack of awareness seemed to explain the previous “Doogie” incident with my son.
Where are the parents watching their children? Most of them are not present physically. And if they’re there physically, that doesn’t necessarily include mentally.
And with the Gorilla incident, I really don’t get these kids. First preying on a little kid, for G-ds sake he’s not even 2 yet! And then in front of his parents? We were right there! That didn’t stop them for a moment, maybe even gave them more impetus!
And my husband and I felt so powerless. What were we supposed to do? My logical reasoning of “it’s not nice” fell on deaf ears, so did my husband’s. I wanted to do them physical harm, yell at them, but knew it wouldn’t do anything. I’d have love to have chat with their mothers, but they weren’t present, and I’m not totally sure whose children they were.
What should we have done, and how can I protect my child?
He’s such a happy kid, but I’m afraid a few more slaps and “Doogie” incidents and he may turn into them, as a form of self-protection and preservation.
What am I, his mother supposed to do?(Besides for write this post, to vent) What should I have done then?