uncharted (parenting) territory

It was story time at the library near our house. The sweet librarian read a few books centered on birds and where they live, then there was a craft to make – bird nests. Most of the kiddos in attendance were 2-5 years old, but I came at the invite of a neighbor because you’re never too young for story time (amen? amen.).

OBaby actually paid attention for some of the rug time and giggled along with the finger-plays, but a craft with a pre-one year old? Not so much. Thankfully there was a pretend kitchen and imaginary play items in one corner of the room. Once the illustrations lost their allure, OBaby made a bee-line for the play area, joining an older boy who had won the power struggle with his mother moments ago and was the only older child not participating in the activities.

OBaby has never gotten to play with a kitchen or large pretend type structure before (although this experience made me think of a fabulous first birthday gift idea. shhhhhh.) and he was enthralled. The cupboards? They open! And close! And open! And… you get the idea. Those sink nobs? Turnable. The dishes and food items? Throwable. (I KNOW, RIGHT?!)

At this point the other boy (probably about 3.5-4 years old based on his height and the fact that he had a younger sibling present who looked about 2) who had been playing with the dress-up clothes cabinet and props noticed just how much fun OBaby was having with those nobs and doors.

I had left distance between myself and the corner (10 feet?) because I am aware of my tendency to be hyper vigilant and I am working on that. I was being intentional about not hovering.

I so wish I were exaggerating when I describe what followed.

The boy came over and slid, at first slowly, up next to OBaby who was standing at the pretend sink. He then took the cup out of OBaby’s hands and proceeded to wedge his way between my son and the sink. OBaby does not stand for very long without holding onto something, which means he landed on his bottom immediately after being ousted from his toy and his spot.

What. The. Crap.

Now, the boy did not push OBaby. I will be clear about that because O hunny, the story would go very differently if someone ever pushed my little <18lb baby boy unprovoked.

The boy was quite forceful about taking everything that OBaby had been enjoying, though. And really? As a mother? WHAT DO YOU DO? The story time was still going on, the boy’s mother was oblivious and I’m standing there 10 feet away with my head full of questions I have never before pondered.

If I intervene will I be smothering him and hindering his ability to play with others?

What ground to I have as a stranger to this boy to say something?

Would I even start with the boy, or would I approach his mother first?

Am I overreacting to my son being picked on? Is that even what this is?

What do other moms do in this situation? Is this just an accepted part of play?


My baby boy, who I swear was small even for newborn size onesies like, yesterday, is now having interactions with other people of which I am not in control.

How did it end? Well, the ever resilient OBaby stood back up and ‘cruised’ his way over to the fridge part of the set. He began playing with the door and the pretend milk carton inside. The other boy watched him closely, because, really, the sink wasn’t all that interesting anymore now that it was his to play with. Not very much time passed before the boy stepped over and grabbed the milk carton from OBaby’s hand and threw it a good 4 feet away. OBaby shrieked.

This was not going to end well.

I swooped in and picked him up, grabbed a pot and a couple of food pieces, and set up a little play area of our own in another corner of the room. That’s right, I avoided the conflict. I have decided that I need to develop some sort of rough plan or philosophy. How will I handle these types of interactions? I was completely caught off-guard by the events of that morning, but I really think I ought to prepare for what will be inevitable recurrences.

{This is the part where I ask your input because holy uncertainty I have no idea what I’m doing. Really. I feel like the mother of an infant flung into a ‘mother of a toddler’ situation and I am absolutely clueless. Please. Help. Me.}

PS: O My Word how could you steal a toy from this face?!

39 Responses to “uncharted (parenting) territory”

  1. Jenn

    Ah man. I’m gonna tank at this aspect of parenting. I’m a loudmouth…with no tact. Crap. Poor OBaby. Sounds like you handled this well. I wouldn’t be surprised if most moms tell you it’s pretty much all improvisation.

    (Precious (as always) picture by the way!)

  2. LCW

    I think you handled it well, but I would have had to intervene. The former teacher in me would have created dialogue with the 4 yr old and let him show OBaby how the kitchen worked and let him show off a bit. Kiddos that age want to show off, help and have control. I bet the older kiddo would have loved to interact but had too much freedom and didn’t know what to do except be his egocentric self. Next time turn it onto a positive guided interaction.

    • Andie

      That’s a great idea. I have a four yr old boy, and two yr old twins and we go through this scenario ten thousand times a day! It is best to help the older one show the little guys how things work… Or give them some other kind of empowering task. Especially four yr olds. I think of them as the terrible twos times two! Both for size and sassiness!
      But it is so hard to be in that mind-set when you are in the mind-set of a sweet helpless one yr old day in and day out. Been there too. Miss those days sometimes!

    • Erin

      Same here. Toddlers do often lack impulse control, but they also lack the capability to share. While I wouldn’t want to flat out discipline the other boy, I would’ve talked to both OBaby and the boy about sharing and explained to the boy that OBaby is much smaller and still learning his way around, so could he help him?

  3. jen

    i intervene. in a teaching sorta way …
    because my kids FIRST need to learn how to resolve the conflict … and they do that by watching the people that they trust figure it out for them.
    i would have used my teacher voice and told that little boy that “soandso was playing with that toy … can you please give it back? it’s not nice to take things from friends. as soon as he is done … he’ll share it with you.” and if that didn’t work … i would most likely tell my child, “here let’s find another toy … look! the refrigerator … we can put the food in!” and stand right next to him (mama-bear style) … and make sure that he stands his ground.”
    i think it’s important to raise children that are willing to stand up for themselves when needed … but … are also able to figure out how to share something.
    this is a hard one! but … you’ll figure out what works for you!

  4. Char

    I was talking about this with my mom not too long ago, and she said it was a constant struggle to not correct other people’s children in front of them (the parents). I think I’m going to have a hard time keeping my mouth closed, especially as the commenter above said, I have such a good ‘teacher voice’.

  5. shelley

    I’m a conflict avoider – except when it comes to situations like this. Especially when they are too young to defend themselves. I usually try to politely jump in and nicely suggest that we all need to play nicely together and share, etc… Just the other day, three big kids were crowding my little 18 month old at an outdoor play area. They were well meaning bullies, but once my guy started crying and the other mom did nothing, I went over and told them that I know they were being nice but that he really needs some space and is old enough to play on his own and doesn’t like to be pulled around. Don’t take advice from me, though, I’m too much of a hoverer too! =)

  6. Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

    I’m a mom of two (sometimes rowdy-n-rude) little boys. They are 3 and 5. At the 3-4 yr old age, let me tell ya, they KNOW better! But they don’t always have the self control to follow through. They often need reminders. If my boy did that (twice!) to a little baby, I would be THANKFUL if you said something ((gently)) to them. Such as “hey bud, I think this little baby had that milk carton first. Could you give it back to him, please?” Honestly, I am outnumbered now (in addition to the boys I have a 3 month old girlie) and I can’t see everything that’s happening. I appreciate others, even complete strangers, giving my kids little reminders. Obviously I’d be offended if a stranger yelled at my kid, or even used a strong tone of voice. But if they channeled their inner kindergarten teacher and reminded them that sharing is nice, I can’t really argue with that. :)

    But not all moms are so receptive to criticism. Some moms have “my kid is an angel” syndrome. I have a friend who has been cussed out for saying something similar to this. (Great example for the kids there, huh?) so if you ever decide to say something, be prepared! LOL!

    I think that if the gentle reminder didn’t work, moving your sweet boy is probably (sadly) the only thing you can really do, unless you feel like “tattling” to the kids momma. I don’t like tattling. I’ve never found a way to make it not seem like I’m saying “Hey your brat over there did….” LOL.

  7. Vanessa

    Ah yes. I think every Mom has a situation like this happen.
    First, if you have siblings for O Baby, you will watch him do this EXACT THING to his younger sibling. It’s such a kid thing. BUT…that doesn’t make it okay.
    I had a situation like this where a kid HIT my son at the park. It all happened so fast and it was so out of nowhere, but I wasn’t close enough because I was pushing my baby in the swing. Well Noah takes off (because he’s a flighter, not a fighter) and runs in the opposite direction and I’m like – ah…what do I do? So I opted for running after him and bringing him back but then the Mother never did anything and the kid ran away (this was very tricky with 2 kids so I had to opt to just keep quiet and stay and comfort my big boy…:()
    Next time, (and there have been non-sharing episodes since like at the YMCA or whatnot) if the parent does nothing about it, I will speak up and tell the child that it is NOT okay to behave like that (whatever it is) and that he needs to learn to share. This is a teachable moment for THAT child that his/her parent is not taking advantage of so you might as well!
    And second…INTERVENE. You child isn’t even ONE YEAR OLD. If he was 5 I’d raise my eye brow. But he’s ONE!!! He needs you to help him to learn to stand up for himself. Some kinds are feisty little fighters and (often not the first child…haha they learn how to defend themselves against their siblings!) some are not. We need to teach the ones who aren’t naturally (or aren’t used to toys being SNATCHED away from them) what that looks like.
    It’s hard, eh?
    What you did worked at the time for you guys but I know the feeling – you walk away from it thinking…what should I have done/said? How could I have made things better? I know it all too well.

  8. Alysha

    oh my! I hate those moments! This actually just happened to me the other day but luckily the kids mom was a sweetheart and talked to her own kid about his issues. So nice to see a good parent in action. Or a seasoned one for that matter. As some of the other girls said, i would have too most likely stepped into “teacher mode”, got down to their level, said the word “sharing” like 5-6 times and then made sure to let the kids know im watching so they know they will again get spoken to if it happens again. And if the kid kept stealing toys i would have totally done what you did and moved him away. Good job mama! :)

  9. Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

    Oh, and about hovering: I’m totally a non-hoverer. But your kid can’t speak for himself. And if a baby under 2 WERE to “speak up” it would only be by hitting the offender in the head. So for young toddlers, I don’t feel bad about intervening. You are modeling behavior for him – how to ask nicely and use words to try to resolve confilct.

  10. Suzanne

    Baby Evan has a lot of friends who have trouble sharing. He’s not so great at it himself. But since mamas are busy people and often distracted I always take an opportunity to intervene if someone is being bullied or rude and the other parents isn’t available. My standard line is “We need to share with our friends. Baby Evan was playing with that so can you give it back please?” or “Uh oh, that wasn’t a wise choice. Can you make a better choice and let Baby Evan play with that toy right now?”

    Of course, I feel like an IDIOT talking like that, especially to a bunch of 15 month old who have no idea why I’m using that weird sing-song voice, but it allows me to physically intervene while still being as polite and good-mom-like as possible to avoid problems with other grown ups.

  11. Cambria Copeland

    You did right to remove him from the situation. While its important to allow kids to learn to work things out, its more important to keep him safe. While bigger kids don’t mean harm, they are rough. My daugghter is almost two and I have to remove her from big kid situations when I don’t think she is safe.

    According to a class (so it could be wrong info) we’ve been taking with our daughter for some time, at your little guys age they are learning to parallel play, vs interactive play. As long as he is around other kids and playing, he is still learning to play around other kids. Closer to two they start interacting more together, hen hold on! He may be the kid taking the toys… They all do it! And its embarrassing. Fortunately, most moms understand, but I always try to curtail it, teach sharing etc.

    I’m not one to say things to other mo s about their child’s behavior. I simply remove us. But I suspect if something is really bad, I would. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t stand for stuff.

    Good luck! And enjoy it, its still so much fun.

  12. Erin

    Okay, I read this and then went and took a shower and thought about it and now I am back with my soap-inspired answer. For what it’s worth. Ha!

    I think that when my oldest was your son’s age I probably would have responded the same way. And I think it is perfectly fine and valid to decide not to deal with this today and just walk away. But obviously avoiding conflict isn’t always possible.

    Your son is so young that you can’t expect him to work things out on his own– he still needs you to do that for him. And as you do, and as he watches you, he will be learning what to do as he gets older and is put in these situations. And truthfully, having siblings someday down the road will help too. Nothing like sibling rivalry to teach kids conflict resolution skills.

    All that to say, I think you would have been perfectly reasonable to say something in this situation, because a) the mother was not doing anything about it and b) the other child was clearly in the wrong. If the mother had been paying attention and did not do anything, that’s when you just pack it in and leave, because you’re going to end up in a big dramatic girl fight with the other mother who thinks her little angel can do whatever he wants. There is no win in that situation. And if both kids are going at it, I say it’s time to leave then too. But in this circumstance, you have the right to say something to the kid.

    You want to model for your child what you want him to do someday for himself. Which means keeping your temper, speaking quietly, using words, etc. Something I’ve worked to teach my boys is “a soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” It is so useful in family issues, and in things like this. If something like this happens again, a simple, sweet, “my baby was playing with that first, could you wait for your turn?” or “I think this is big enough to share, why don’t you pretend to cook something on the stove until OBaby is done with the sink?” would suffice. MOST kids will respond to another adult at that age. If not, again, time to just call it a day IMO.

    anyway, this is a book of a post, sorry about that, but I hope it’s at least a little useful. My kids are 7, 5, and 1, and this is an ongoing thing, to be honest. Mama Bear wants to come out and ROAR whenever anyone is mean to my babies! Which is why I have to keep reminding myself about that whole soft answer thing!

  13. Heather of the EO

    Hello Mama Bear, welcome to the wilderness.

    It’s so hard to watch this stuff, even though it’s all so completely normal and it’s about to happen all the time. I mean, if you go anywhere, anyway :)

    OBaby is so little right now, that it’s not hovering to intervene to an extent. I usually give it a little time at first while I try to understand the other child. Are they going to repeatedly do this stuff, is their mom paying attention? Stuff like that. (Unless injuries are obviously about to occur, then I swoop in right away with a bit of a roar-a nice roar.)

    When OBaby is a little older and has words and experience with this sort of thing, I’d totally stay out of it as much as possible, other than reminders to “work it out, you can do it, what is it that you want? Tell your friend.”

    Get this. One time. At a indoor play place at a community center, where you can’t always see your kids, I was peeking around for Asher-possibly hovering because I’m always worried a bit about his noggin-I come around the corner to see him on his back on the floor, with a larger kid (preschooler-ish) straddling him across his waist and punching the side of his head. Hard. Over and over.

    What occurred next had nothing to do with a nice little Mama Bear swooping in with a nice little roar. It’s quite possible that I tossed that child off my boy and into a wall made of net while screaming at him. I looked around like crazy for a mother and couldn’t find one. I don’t remember when I’ve ever been that mad. This is going to sound naive but I KNOW Asher didn’t do anything to piss the kid off. Asher is so even-tempered and easy-going and friendly, I think he’s taken a toy from another child or messed with them somehow maybe two times in his life. Anyway. DUDE. GRRRRRR.

    The END.

  14. Kaycee

    I think everyone will have a different opinion on this. My personal take? I am still working these things out myself. In this particular situation I vote that OBaby is too little for the “no intervention let the kids figure it out themselves” sort of approach. Past that, you have to do what you are comfortable with. It’s tricky for me, I am a protective Mama Bear and right now I just have my two-year old daughter – so when we go places I have two eyes on her all the time and I see everything. (and I am super quick to intervene when I see her behaving inappropriately to any other kid – older or younger!) I think this will be more tricky when we have two. But for now, I think your approach was totally fine! You helped your kiddo and that’s what is most important. I would recommend talking out loud in the future (it’s amazing how early kids can pick things up) about sharing, even if you are only comfortable talking ‘directly’ to OBaby. I have totally done that before when I was not sure what another parent’s reaction to ‘teaching’ their kid would be. My own sister-in-law has gotten pissed at me before for correcting (not yelling!) her son’s behavior… nevermind the fact that SHE was ignoring it. Saying something like “It’s important to share toys with other’s isn’t it? But let’s take a break and play over here for awhile” is another option for this sort of situation.

    And this whole thing is precisely why I hate mall playgrounds. :) All those parents sitting around ‘watching’ and yet the things that happen! In the end, I think you only really have control over yourself and your child so you have to do what you are comfortable with. So sorry to hear this happened to OBaby though!

  15. Shannon

    Cripes, I probably would’ve given the stink eye to his mother until she saw me staring at her, and then maybe she would’ve done something ;] HA! I’d have been to “scared” to say anything to the Meanie Boy. But, seriously, who could ever take a toy from OBaby?! He’s so little!! :[ And totally sweet. I have no advice, but I’m sorry this happened. One time, I took my two nephews to Chuck E. Cheese with my parents, and my younger nephew was sitting in the stroller at our table. Well, this little meanie child ran over to us and pinched my nephew on the stomach so hard that it left a mark!!! :O :O :O and then he RAN OFF! His grandpa saw the *whole thing* and did NOTHING. I seriously almost reported it to Chuck E. Cheese, haha! It was insane. Kids can be SOOO mean. And we had *three* adults (me and my parents) watching him, and this little booger STILL was able to run over so quick that we didn’t know what was happening. It’s a rough world out there :[

  16. Melissa

    Welcome to a whole new world of parenting. I have not read all of the other comments, so I am sorry if this is repeat and old news. But, I think you did a good job. As he gets older this is going to happen more and more. As a mom, I do step in, if the other mom is not around or does not see if happen…I figure, I think another mom would step in if it was her child. And I just use my very nice mother voice and let the other child know so-in-so was playing with it, do you think we can share and take turns.

    Another good piece of advise if you call it that, is I like to say in a lot of situations, ‘That is not safe’ even when it comes to sharing toys, taking toys, the list goes on. Something with the saying ‘That is not safe’ really gets a child to stop doing whatever it is. I say this to my own kids all of the time, if I can’t figure out why they don’t stop what they are doing. I feel it is a good way to say no, and not say ‘no’ all together…make sense?

    But, if the behavior does not stop, I think it is okay to take your child out of the situation…sometimes then the other mom actually checks in and figures out something is going on that is not okay.

    And as he gets older, he has to learn how to stand up for himself…which is hard at a young age, but that is why teaching the ‘sharing’ is so important and talking about it with both of the children in the situation, because hopefully then down the road he will say the same thing, because he had a great role model.

    I hope that helped!

  17. Michelle @ Mommy Loves Stilettos

    If the other mom wasn’t paying attention, I would LOUDLY tell the child that wasn’t very nice and stand nearby while my child continued to play. If it happened again, I would go over and tell the mother what’s going on. She should be paying attention to her child – and if she were – no one else would have to intervene. That totally annoys me when moms let their kids do whatever and don’t pay attention. I know kids will be kids, but I don’t allow my kids to treat other kids that way. And in the rare moments that they have, you better believe I was right there to correct them and make sure the were being nice (and gentle!) to smaller children.

    • Cara @ Mischief and Laughs

      Wow, wish I could be all-seeing. It must be nice.

      I’m not afraid to admit my shortcomings – one of which is the fact that I physically cannot see everything all the time. Oh sure, I try my very best to pay close attention to my kids. But I have 3 little ones. Sometimes the baby needs to eat, or one of the bigger ones needs discipline/attention. That means at least one of the kids gets less attention for a moment.

      Just sayin’ sometimes things happen.

  18. Nicole

    I think you handled it well, better than I would have. Trust me with a 3 year old and a 1 year old, I have had plenty of this incidents. What I would have done is walk over and told the boy that my son was playing with it first and it’s not nice to take things from other’s. Hey I wouldn’t let my kid do that to other’s. I wouldn’t have yelled I would be polite about it!

  19. McKt

    It is awkward when there is a child interacting with your child whose mom is totally preoccupied (says the mom who is often preoccupied). OBaby is so little and unsure on his feet, it will be a while before he will really learn from the “work it out yourselves” lesson.

    I think it is completely appropriate to intervene and even instruct other’s children when your child cannot communicate nor does he have the coordination to withstand aggressive play. The fact that this little boy has a younger sibling means he was probably wanting you to say something, you know he just kept pushing to see how far he could go. A child that age knows you have to be gentle with little ones and probably would have responded well to a tiny reminder, but it is always uncomfortable to tell other’s kids what to do. No one would assume anything bad about a mom protecting her baby from a preschooler’s play.

  20. mama23bears

    poor OBaby! i hate when this kind of stuff happens! and OBaby is so little and defenseless! i would have said “o, he was playing with that honey. when he is done you will get a turn.” chances are the kid will move aside and wait. if he does it again i would say “that’s not very nice of you to take the toys from him” then, i’d just find OBaby something else to play with. if the kid is a real bugger he might move to where OBaby is again and do it again. in this instance i would just use a little louder voice and be more firm that no he can’t take the toys away from the baby. then i might, might be so inclined to find the mother of that little bugger and ask her to please watch her child since he isn’t being so nice. i think it’s necessary to intervene at this age. he can’t talk, only kind of walk and has no defense for himself. you’ll learn as you go and when he gets older you will kind of coach from the sidelines to help him work it out.

    this is one of the hardest things about parenting for me. each time i hear of “bullying” i see a little piece of their innocence die and the real world barging in on them. it just breaks my heart!

  21. Nicole Drysdale-Rickman

    First of all, hugs to you! I remember my first experience with my firstborn(who was 1). I was 20(a BEBEH) and some kid kept pushing him down while we were at the mall, in the playplace. I felt the same way you did yesterday…

    I agree with everything Heather says…if they are as young as OBaby, it’s totally fine to swoop in and tell that kid, “That’s not nice. OBaby was playing with these toys” and then I would set up a little space away from monster 4 year old, anyway.

    I have quickly learned that there are some parents who let their kids bully and they just look the other way. When it comes to my 10 month old and 2 year old, I ROAR. When it comes to my 6 year old, I give him a little time to work it out but still keep sight of what’s going on.

    The saddest part of all is when its your kid pushing the other kid down. I have 3 boys and my middle boy(2 year old) is pretty agressive so I have to keep tabs on him.

    As you keep being in more situations with other(and older) kids, you will figure out the best action for your parenting style. That’s why you rock as a mama!

  22. Sarah Robbins

    I agree with a lot of the gals. I’m a former elementary school teacher, and I would have said something to the little boy. It’s not okay, even if the mom was not paying attention- which I also know as a school teacher can totally happen. That said, your primary responsibility is to take care of your little guy and keep him safe, either by diffusing the situation or by removing him from the situation. He can’t speak for himself right now, and honestly he will probably need help with situations like that for a long time now.

    Welcome to the jungle! Stay away from mall playgrounds and kids’ activity places- those are the worst for this type of behavior!

  23. Andie

    Ok, you’ve already got some pretty fantastic advice up there, so I just wanted to pop in and say how much I love your blog!!! It’s very inspiring to read the tales of such a wonderful mommy like yourself. :-) I’m so glad I (Finally. Yes, I know I’m late to the party here!) found your blog!!

  24. Tiffany

    It’s very hard. And it only gets harder as they get older. Last year my first grader was getting bullied at school – and he was afraid to tell the teacher because he said the kid would lie and he didn’t want me to “tattle tell” and I spent several days in prayer before I decided to email the teacher and ask that she not intervene but keep an eye on it to try to catch the kid in action, so that my son didn’t look bad among his peers and his mom didn’t come across as “that mom.” This solution worked best for my son’s confidence.

    That being said, you are your son’s advocate right now. And I clearly remember my son getting bit in a playgroup by the same child over and over – weekly. The mom was very calm and non-chalant about it – and I was…well. I was pissed off, to say the least. After a blood inducing bite – I snatched up my son and sat him in front of the other mothers and told her that something had to be done. This wasn’t acceptable – and her son wasn’t being told this wasn’t acceptable. Unfortunately, she left playgroup.

    And, now that I rambled – I think you did the most age appropriate thing you could have done in this situation. I may have said something along the lines of “Let’s not push & let’s share with our friends.” And then removed him from the situation if it persisted.

    But, now that they are older – a whole new world of issues open up to us moms.

    Hang in there dear.

  25. Grace @ Arms Wide Open

    This is a tough one! My son is almost 2 so the “mine mine” stage is beginning. It’s hard to know how much to force your child to share & how much to get involved when the other kid won’t share. My kid is super passive and observant so he tends to be the one getting pushed around and toys taken from. I can’t change his personality and I can’t always be his savior. I just try to encourage him to share by lots & lots of modeling and repetition. When other kids won’t share with him, I’ll just try to re-direct (like you did). I think it’s ok, especially when the other kid is a stranger. With our friends at playdates we definitely try to keep tabs on taking turns.
    They do grow up too fast & with each stage I feel so clueless! But it’ll come… with time..

  26. Sarah

    I run into that same problem when I bring the kids I babysit to the playground or library. Do I just let it go that Molly’s shovel was taken away from her? Do I kindly make some remark about “I’m she she’ll let you use it when she’s done.” Do I look with *do you see what’s going on?* eyes at the mother? It’s so confusing sometimes. You just have to hope *your* child don’t make a scene! :)

  27. Adventures In Babywearing

    Ivy is totally that child that stole his toy and tried to block him from playing. If I am watching closely, I try to redirect her and use our manners. On the rare occasion that Ivy is NOT the bully and is actually the one BEING bullied (or over-taken, or not shared with, etc) then I usually WATCH because it’s so rare, but also, I like to see how she will react. And I again will redirect and just try to go along.

    It’s amazing what they know on their own. I think your little guy might be still a bit too young but he’s getting there FAST. And so are you- you’re figuring it out. You went with your instincts at that moment and you might respond in a totally different fashion next time that occasion presents itself. You’ll amaze yourself at how prepared and ready you really are.


  28. Kristin

    You did the right thing, for sure. If the parent/s of that child aren’t going to intervene, it isn’t your job. I would have done the exact same thing (and have done).

  29. Alyssa

    Ooh. That’s tough. Good for you for taking some time to develop a game plan. And thanks for sharing this- it’s made me really stop and think how I’m going to handle that once Nathaniel gets a little older!! Not sure how well I’m going to take to other kids grabbing things away from my little guy!

  30. Elaine

    That little boy just knew that your sweet guy knows which are the best toys. ;) Oh and also, has not been taught to share very well, huh?

    I have trouble in these situations too and I’m on my third ‘rodeo’ so to speak. I just get SO upset when the parent of that child is totally clueless. And with kids like that, that is usually the case and the reason they are that way in the first place!

    So, I say you did the right thing by easing your way out of the situation. Good job Momma!

  31. Katie

    I do a lot of the hint dropping too…like “ok, E, I guess it’s his turn to play, but I am sure he will let you have a turn again in a minute, won’t you? (to the kid)?” A lot of times that is all it takes. And if the mom is there, you just hope she gets the hint too!

  32. Stefanie

    I think you handled it well. YOU were an active parent. The other parent was not. It’s amazing how many people sit back and let their kids act like brats.

  33. julie chen

    hillarious. not that it happened, but how you were able to convey it through your passionate writing. oh. my. girl :) thanks for making me laugh.

    just know MANY more of these incidents will happen, becuz as you noted, toys are only fun if some other kid is playing with them! you did good. i have actually gone up to the kid & told them it was “oh baby’s turn” … esp cuz he can’t speak for himself yet & the mom was not aware. they will give it back (or you just leave or better yet, pry it out of their hands :)

    each case will be unique. but, yes, very normal toddler life.

    wait till you have playdates w/your friends’ kids & all they do is fight!

  34. Kelly @ Love Well

    I agree with all the others. I hate conflict, and my oldest was very OK with moving aside and being distracted by Mom when an older child would horn in. But as I got older in my parenting, I grew comfortable with saying, “Hey buddy. Do you mind scooting over a bit so OBaby can play here too?” I love the idea of giving him a job to “help” OBaby. And if all else fails and it just gets too much, you can always do what you did and move some toys over to the corner. It’s avoidance, but it’s also real life. It’s like ignoring a bully or changing lanes when a road-rage driver is behind you. Sometimes, the wisest thing is to just get out of the way and preserve your sanity.

  35. Tracie Richardson

    I couldn’t help but laugh and feel bad at the same time, when I read your Obaby article. I am a mom of 2 and I SO understand all of the thoughts that go through one’s head, when something like this happens. The protective instinct of a mother is natural–and sometimes hard to control. I have been through many situations like this. When my kids were babies, I would interact with the ‘misbehaving’ child and let them know that it isn’t friendly thing to do, then I would try to incorporate the play with both children. When my children got a little older 3-4, I would let them try to work it out on their own (fighting my own instinct NOT to jump in and control the situation). You will figure out what works best along the way, but in my opinion, I think you handled it very well. :) I agree: ‘who could steal a toy from a face like that’ :)


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>