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Showdown with a Sociopath, or Just a Day at the Public Library

(Scene: City's largest public library, on a quiet rainy weekday afternoon. Little L and I are just about the enter the toddler play area, where another woman and her son are already playing. The woman is also on her smartphone while her boy is body-slamming himself into the mats)

Little L enters the play space.

Boy runs up until he is literally inches from her face, and yells his name very loudly and exuberantly. Surprisingly, this does not cause a major meltdown from her, but she ignores him.

Little L begins to move a chair so that she can play with it.

The moment she lets go and turns around to figure out where to move it, the boy runs up and snatches the chair away.

I coax Little L to find another chair, because my girl is just about to experience some big feelings.

Little L notices the foam cubes and decides she is going to build a tall tower instead. She crouches on the floor and begins to stack two cubes, one on top of the other.

The moment she turns to grab a third cube, the boy runs up and snatches the two stacked cubes.

Shocked, I try to distract Little L and get her to find two new cubes. She is on the brink of upset, but locates two other cubes that she begins to stack. The moment she lets go to find a third, the boy grabs her two new cubes, announcing all the while that he wants those cubes to play with.

Me: (to boy) Excuse me! That is not okay! She is still playing with those blocks. You can't play with them right now. You have to find other blocks to play with.

Woman: (to me) Are you serious? He's TWO. We teach him to share. We don't discipline him like that.  
(passive-aggressively, to boy) Come on, let's play with these over here. She wants to play with the blocks and she doesn't want to share so we will play over here ...blah blah blah

Me: Yes, but my daughter was playing with those toys. I teach her to share, too, but she doesn't have to share them if she was already playing with them and he takes them away. That's not okay. He already grabbed the chair that she was playing with, and took her blocks.

Woman: (to me) Was the chair IN your daughter's hands? Did he take them out of her hands?

Me: No, but it was clear that she was still playing with them. She let go for like one second. He keeps taking stuff that she's playing with!

Woman: He's only TWO. I teach him to share, blah blah blah... it's called "positive parenting." I discipline him but not THAT way.

Me: Yes, but at age TWO he is developmentally able to understand that it's not okay to take things that other people are playing with. It's called boundaries, and that's what we teach. Listen, when you have your BEd and can speak capably about child development then we will talk.

Woman: (passive-aggressively, to boy) Come on, let's get out of here. This girl wants to play with all of the toys all by herself, so we are going to play somewhere else. She wants to be entitled and play with all of the toys here.
(to me) You don't know anything about me.

Me: You're right, I don't. But I do know that it's not okay to take someone else's toys. And you obviously don't know much about child development. At age two he is capable of learning appropriate behaviour.

Woman: I'm a preschool teacher. I'm just on leave from my job because of my son. I know all about children.
(to boy) Come on, let's go.

As the woman turns on her heels to leave, she yells (with her back to me): You should look up the definition of a sociopath!

I'm told by my friend Mitzi, who was just emerging from the potty at the library at the time, that she saw the woman slam her kid into the stroller and storm off.

Now, I'm not sure if she knows what a sociopath actually is (ironic), but I witnessed this lady escalate the issue from 0 to 10 in a matter of 2 minutes, and at no point did she take any responsibility for her son's inappropriate behaviour. She name-called and she was passive-aggressive with me (and later aggressive with her own kid), and she purportedly works with preschoolers in an influential capacity. My guess is, if you live in the GVA and your child goes (or plans to go) to a preschool where a woman is currently on mat leave and has a son named Ronan Michael (or was it Rowan Michael) something or other, it's probably best if you find a different preschool.

But then, what do I know? I'm just a sociopath. :P


Jono said…
My favorite part was "Listen, when you have your BEd and can speak capably about child development then we will talk."
Two thumbs up Helen :-)

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