Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why I Hate Berkeley (S)Mothers

Arabis and I headed off to Totland early this morning, leaving Monkey Boi home in bed (he was up too late playing Starcraft on the computer). We get there and Arabis heads off running to check out all her favorite stuff. There are two older girls on the slide (about seven and five: far older than the normal Totland demographic) and they are monopolizing the slide, climbing up it the wrong way and not letting other kids get on. Arabis manages to wriggle past them and as she is on the ladder almost to the top, the older one runs around to climb up the stairs and pushes past her, almost sending her tumbling backwards down the stairs. Then both girls stand at the top of the slide and prevent Arabis from going down. Arabis looks askance for a moment before deciding that she's just going back down the stairs. There is no adult in sight supervising them.

I come over and tell her that those girls didn't want to share and we'd just go play on something else. She was fine with that and we go off and play on some other equipment. We talked to another mother and grandmother who complimented Arabis on her t-shirt ("Hello, my name is Trouble") and her rock star sunglasses. I pushed her on the baby swings and we played on the big wooden structure and drove cars around.

Then she wanted to go on the adult swing (there are two in the corner). The older of the two girls from the slide was on one so I took Arabis to the other swing and pushed her very gently for a little bit (she's just getting the hang of the how the big swing works). She got down after a little while and walked in front of the other swing. I cried out and dove to grab her but the girl sped up and kicked Arabis in the head, sending her sprawling in the sand.

She had sand in her mouth, on her teeth, streaked down her face on the tracks of tears, in her hair. I scooped her up and carried her hysterical to the bench, checking her for any obvious injury and trying to comfort her as much as possible. Got her to drink some water and eventually calm down. Scooped the sand out of her mouth and checked all her teeth for anything loose (no, thank goodness) and cleaned her up as best I could. One woman came over to see if we were okay, which was very nice.

I look over and notice an adult talking to the older girl who is still on the swing. The girl gets off the swing and follows the woman to a stroller where the woman proceeds to strap the younger girl in to. I pick up Arabis, who has stopped crying and gasping and walk over to them.

"Your daughters almost pushed my child down the steps of the slide about a half hour ago. They have been bullying other kids in this playground and now your daughter just kicked my child in the head," I tell this woman in a voice so calm I frightened myself.

"Thank you for informing me of their actions," says the woman, not looking up at me and fiddling with her bag and the stroller.

"I would like your daughter to apologize," I tell her through clenched teeth.

"Only if you apologize first for being so angry," the miserable woman replies.

I was aghast. What the fuck?!? I look down at her kids, who are also refusing to look at me. I look at her with my mouth open in shock. A thousand unutterable names course through my head but I am aware of all the toddlers around us and I manage to not call her a miserable sniveling c*nt of a camel's whore and just say, "Excuse me?"

She repeated her desire that I needed to apologize for my anger before her child would apologize to Arabis for kicking her in the head.

"You're insane," I said. And she walked away.

I took Arabis to the car and gave her some milk and held her while she got hysterical again. Then after I got her calmed down I called my friend Shemena to rant because I got hysterical.

We went home and she's fine. She's got some bruising around one temple so I gave her some Tylenol. Her pupils are fine. She and Monkey Boi played with the Duplo blocks for a while and chased each other around laughing, so I think she is fine. I'll still watch her and look for any additional bruising in the bath tonight.

On a happier note, here are a couple portraits taken this morning prior to going to the park. It's hard to take self-portraits with a wiggly todder: we never both look good in the same shot!

The Look

Self-Portrait with Wiggle Worm

Wha' dat?


Elaine said...

What a crazy lady. Seriously, was she smoking crack?

Glad A is ok.

boogiemum said...

Yes, I would agree. crazy. It amazes me the crap some parents come up with. Way to teach her children!

Hope little A is ok. She looks absolutely beautiful!

Artemis Rich said...

Thanks, ladies!

A is fine. A little scraped up on the bridge of her nose and one temple was bruised for a bit, but she is just fine.