Some mundane stuff, because I really have to go to bed:
We took the Bean to the playground this morning, early enough that it was fairly empty; it’s quite bustling on weekday afternoons, and it’s nice to have a bit more of the run of the place. It’s a good-sized one, with play structures for different age groups, swings, handball courts, and any number of donated tricycles, plastic trucks, walkers, play kitchens, and so on. These are the perks of living in a town where no one has the space to store large gifts from the relatives.
After some slide/stairs circuits and a bit of truck work, the Bean settled near a Dora dollhouse and busied himself manipulating some flap or other. Nearby, a slightly (?) older toddler found a sort of plastic ATV to ride, the sort you sit on and push along with your feet.
It transpired that his heart’s desire was to push himself directly at, up to, and nearly over the Bean. As we watched from our trying-not-to-hover distance, he zoomed (relatively speaking) up to the Bean several times in rapid succession. The Bean, startled, would move farther away, and he would herd him some more. This went on for several minutes. When the Bean moved to avoid him, he would swing back again, such that eventually, the Bean was pinned into the corner created by the two sides of the dollhouse and could not leave. The other child backed up a little, adjusted his angle, and once again zoomed up to the Bean, who had started to look pretty panicked.
At this point, Sugar and I swooped in to reassure him, perhaps slightly prematurely. Our arrival did, however, have the useful effect of shaming the child’s father into adjusting his course out of the dollhouse and away from the Bean.
I don’t know, y’all. I think it’s good to let kids have space on the playground to figure things out for themselves, but I’m pretty pissed at the father in this case. He was standing right beside all this, and what with the emptiness of the playground, it’s not as if he was unable to see. I don’t think his kid was necessarily being intentionally aggressive or hostile or anything like that, but the fact is that he was scaring a younger child, and I do think it would have been nice for the father to care about that, though it’s too rare on that playground to find a father who seems to think any kind of intervention is his job, frankly.
In retrospect, I feel a little bad that I didn’t rescue the Bean sooner. He was not happy and clearly lacked the physical and verbal wherewithal to fix the situation. More than unhappy, he looked scared, and I don’t like seeing him scared and trapped. I guess when it comes right down to it, I’m more willing to see him fall down than feel menaced, even if swooping in makes me That Mom.
The Bean tends not to engage in a pushy way with other kids, and of course, kids his age are mostly pushy, so this means a certain amount of hanging back and a certain amount of being run roughshod over. I am not too terribly worried about this, except that I wonder sometimes if I am forcing him into shyness by not putting him in daycare or another setting where he’d be forced to deal with more kids more regularly. On the other hand, if this shyness is just his nature at this age (whether or not that changes), then perhaps I should stand more ready to defend him. He is, at least in my biased view, such a sweet creature, and I hate the thought of his going without protection that his particular self might need more than some others do.
Mostly, though, I feel peeved that the father left me in that position. How hard would it really have been to give a damn?