As I type this I am demolishing a share bag of Walkers Sensations and a glass of red wine. It’s been one of those days. Not one of those days, but you know. A ‘meh’ day, bleak weather, sicky baby and soft play battle ground. I’m also watching a show on Channel 4 ‘Born Naughty?’ which makes me reflect on Leon’s encounters at Monkey Bizzness soft play centre.
To put into context, my son is a very mild mannered little boy, some might say ‘soft’. I know my husband does but then when he is his role model what does he expect? (This coming from a man who needs picking up from the station because his nipples chafed). Lil man loves to play with tea sets, is chatty and sociable, but these are not traits he shares with a lot of other 2 year old boys. So when it comes to socialising with other boys, it can be unpredictable how they will respond to him.
Today was no exception. Lil man was sat in the ball pit, when another boy spots him and starts lobbing the plastic ammunition straight at him. Lil man laughs, sits there and takes it. When the boy doesn’t get the response he expects, such as chucking balls back or a bit of rough and tumble, he launches for him, pulls the collar of my son’s top and goes for his throat. Seriously?! Where the hell is this little turd’s mum? Oh, I spot her chatting with her mate halfway across the room. So what do I do? I have to tell him off, without telling him off. I do the ‘ur ur ur’ and squeal ‘gently’ which does nothing so I have to simply drag my son out of the pit and off to another part of the play centre. All this whilst his 10 week old sister is slung over my shoulder like a sack of spuds.
It’s fine, I tell myself. All kids have their moments. I begin to calm down as Leon starts to enjoy himself again and heads for a flume slide. But uh-oh here comes that git again, this time with back up. Lil man hesitates at the top of the slide, to him it must seem like having to slide down a garbage shoot from the top floor of a block of flats. The bigger boys are having none of it and make the decision for him by shoving him down it.
Meanwhile, I’m at the bottom, still with my baby daughter over my shoulder. Otherwise, I would have climbed up the slide and pulled the pair of them down by their hair and body slammed them onto the crash mats. Turd #1 and Turd #2’s mums are still chin wagging elsewhere. So again, I take Leon away and make sure they see me walk past with a face like Ray Winston on a bad day.
Eventually, Turd 1’s mum comes up to me and apologises and explains he’s ‘been a terror today’. Something makes me think he’s a ‘terror’ most days. I say it’s okay but really it’s not and I want to say so.
After a brief bit of small talk in an attempt to make things seem less awkward, I notice her later breastfeeding her 4 month old and immediately feel a little less contempt towards her. Not because I’m super pro-breastfeeding, but because I know how difficult it is to keep an eye on a toddler when you have further offspring hanging of your tit. Even when you have a mild-mannered child, he can still find ways to get into trouble like ‘cleaning’ the carpet with a bog brush.
I recall today’s encounter as I watch ‘Born Naughty’, where one of the naughty children is diagnosed with Autism and another is simply not getting enough, or the right, discipline. It made me grateful that today, I kept my temper to a simmer and not overboil.
In my opinion a child isn’t ‘born naughty’ but it isn’t simply down to bad parenting either. You never know a mum’s circumstances or what sort of a day she has had. (But he was still a little turd!) 😉