I live on a small street, only 4 houses. Only one other family has kids, younger than A. Another is a single family, seems-to-be-renting-rooms-and-is-that-in-our-bylaws? The last is an older couple, kids grown, grandkids come to visit. And of course us!
One of the mentioned grandkids is a few years older than A. I think she is 9? Old enough that A is taken by her age and will do almost anything the girl asks. When they were both younger, it was innocent. Riding bikes, playing hopscotch, tag…all seemed OK.
Now it’s a different game.
Last weekend, A was in quiet time and talking out her window to this girl. Who, in our parental opinion, was not respecting the request that A was in quiet time and to come back later. She stayed on the side walk, responding to A (not initiating questions mind you), and blatantly ignoring Norman. Who was in the driveway. And telling A to go back to quiet time and not respond to this girl. One would think this girl would get the picture and come back later. How would you respond if you heard a friend’s Dad say, “A, you are in quiet time and should not be talking to your friend. If you continue talking with her, you will lose privileges!” If I overheard that, I would be outta there at lightening speed. But maybe that’s just me and time spent in South Jersey.
Later that afternoon, A asked if she could go outside and play with this girl. I told her yes, and was explicit that when mom or dad call her in, she comes right away. None of that lolly-gagging she usually engages in. She agreed.
Norman and I were talking in the living room about a variety of household items. He went to start dinner. I stood up, look out my front window, and what do I see? This girl, standing in the street with A. Like any sane adult, we don’t let A play in the street. She won’t even chase a ball into the street. Come on!
Anger flames after the earlier incident at the window. So I start towards the door ready to sternly tell A to get her butt inside. I get to the front door and what do I see then? Appears A is crying, looking at her legs. This other little girl is lifting up her dress looking at her legs. WTF?!?! I open the door. Now it’s very apparent that A is crying, screaming and in pain. I go over to them and ask what happened.
“My friend wanted us to run down the hill. When I started down the hill I ran through pricklies. I have thorns all over and in me Mommy!” I look at her legs and see long scratches, blood, multiple tiny thorns sticking out. OMG – I tell A we are going inside so we can get them out. I don’t even acknowledge this other kid.
In the kitchen, Norman has to hold A in his lap to get her to sit still and calm down. I’m inspecting her legs with a tweezers and pulling out all the thorns. I pulled out at least 10, likely there were more. A is screaming, more from the fear of pain than actually experiencing it. While I’m taking them out, we ask her the story.
Come to find out that after A ran through the thorny bush, this little girl didn’t want to stop playing. Or tell an adult. She told A that they could keep going and not to worry about what happened. That she wasn’t really hurt. That her mom and dad didn’t need to come outside. I can totally see the calm face, not fear of getting in trouble, but crazy control freak bending A to her will.
Again – I say – WTF????
We got A all cleaned up, bactine wash, ice. Made her dinner. All sat down to watch a show. Getting her off to bed early for more sleep. Thankfully she crashed, rather busy day for A.
Once back downstairs, the fire inside roared. I was so angry at this kid. So irritated at her mother and grandparents. Where is this kid’s common sense? Forget that – decency! Where is the decency?! Norman just let me go off. He’s never liked this kid. I didn’t even get an I Told You So.
The next day we talked to A about good friends who care for you, like to play, and know when to stop. We gave examples (more than prickly bushes) when this other girl didn’t have A’s safety or best interests in mind. We gave even more examples of the friends that are really true friends. A said she is unlikely going to play with this girl anymore. (yay!)
This past Saturday I saw this girl on her bike circling in front of the house. A didn’t know she was there. I gave that Parental Look. The one that says – Stay the hell away from my kid! You are no longer welcome!