Playground Rage

I had an instance of playground rage yesterday. (I have the feeling that the longer I am in Paris the more I am feeling the French rage as opposed to British reserve).
It got me thinking: maybe the playground is the main learning ground for toddlers for how to defend themselves and maybe, by intervening, I am actually causing irreparable damage to my cute little defenceless 22-month-old.

She was happily playing on her own when a little 4-year-old with supreme confidence came up to her and told her: “tu n’es pas ma copine!” (You are not my friend). This did not phase my daughter in the slightest; she is friends with any kid that has brightly coloured toys and isn’t friends with kids who don’t. But it was I who got angry! (Was someone trying to exclude my daughter)?

Later on we walked over to the slides, and my daughter was taking her time walking up the little stairs, as everything still fascinates her.
The little 4-year-old decided that this was the moment she wanted to slide down too and pushed my daughter, who arrived flat on the ground with her head first. At this point I exploded and started shouting. At whom, I am not quite sure. There wasn’t a mother or a nanny around to listen, nor was my explosion particularly aimed at the little girl, who, compared to me was really quite small. I was angry at the way someone had dared to treat my daughter (who, by the way, was completely untroubled by the whole incident). I was angry that I had not been able to protect her and that I was not going to be able to protect her in the future.  Unfortunately, there will be times where she will be treated badly and will have to learn how to defend herself.

The playground actually is the school of hard knocks. It is the first and most elementary lesson of the survival of the fittest. The older kids hit the younger kids, who, in turn, will hit the even younger kids.
I am going to have to learn to keep out of it and watch on the side lines while the toddlers are all in the mosh pit…. let the party begin!



Comments (1)

November 14, 2007

Phew! Life is hard!
Court and I had a playground incident a couple of months ago somewhere in Notting Hill (when I was still living in London).
There was a little boy, probably 4 as well, being a terror and freely using the F word to every other little or littler child he encountered.
One father already had left the garden because of him.
Courtney decided to go up to the mum, who was sitting at a table chatting to her friend, seemingly unaware of what had happened. We should have known better. When confronted, the bully-mother started to shout at us – MY SON IS A MAN, HE HAS TO *F* DEFEND HIMSELF – etc.; it was clear where her son got his choice of words from!
To avoid it getting out of hand (she was scary!) – we had to gather our children and leave the playground as well.
Survival of the fittest indeed.

Leave a Comment