Toddler wars are a daily feature in our lives right now. If we’re in a public place and there are kids around you can bet your bottom dollar that the toddler will end up in some kind of scrap or another. Raffy is too young to get involved but can often be found cheering Coco on from the sidelines!
The first time I saw Coco have a little set to with another child was at a local singing group. There she was, toddling around enjoying a rendition of head, shoulders, knees and toes, when a older girl bold as brass strolled over and gave her a push. Then she did it again. To witness this was a little bit like taking a bullet. Coco seemed pretty non plussed, I on the other hand was having an internal mummy meltdown as I searched frantically round the room hoping the little darling’s mum would intervene. As with all these episodes it was over in a flash, but the sickness at seeing my baby being pushed around stayed with me for the rest of the day. Fast forward a year or so and now it”s Coco doing her fair share of shoving. But what is the best way to handle these sticky situations? (Spoiler alert: I don’t have the answer!)
Most of my encounters with mum’s of the opposition have been friendly enough, with both parties having clearly rocked the position of referee more than once before. But occasionally you get come across a mum or dad who adopts a slightly different parenting style when it comes down to how they handle their Master/Miss Shovy McShoverson. The first and funniest time I met a parent such as this, was during a morning in the sandpit at Victoria Park. Coco and I were sat minding our own business making a Mr Sandman face (we’re quite the creatives I know), when mini Godzilla comes bowling over, tramples our signature sandman creation and in doing so, kicks sand in my face, and gives Coco a bop on her bonce with his spade. Slightly shellshocked by this unprovoked attack, I kept quiet until Dad came bounding over, but instead of being full of apologies, he just muttered “sorry, he’s still learning”. “Learning what exactly!? How to be a little SH*T!?” I was gobsmacked but also slightly amused by the absurdity of it.
Recently on our trip to Greenwich Park, Coco got in a couple of small scale fisty cuffs with two toddlers. One had nicked her bucket and spade and the other was trying to push her from behind the wheel of the wooden car she was driving. Not one to back down, Coco had retaliated in the best way she saw fit…by snatching and giving them a sharp shove. Both times I intervened and took her back to the picnic blanket as she wailed like a wild banshee, and both times no other mother/brother/grandma was to be seen. Not that I should judge, I’m sure that on more than one occasion Coco has got away with a sly smack or two whilst I was no doubt whinging about my lack of sleep or something else equally interesting, but I’d like to think I’d always step in should see things getting physical.
Now the baby brother is becoming less baby and more “I’ll have that thanks”, I am also now umpiring a toy tug of war approximately every three minutes at home too. If I had a quid for every time I uttered to Coco, “caring is sharing!” I would be able to buy out Toys R Us and the little buggers would still be fighting. That’s the joy of these terrible toddlers, they are incapable of sharing at this age, so should we just allow the little tikes to fight it out (closely supervised of course) or intervene at the first sign of trouble? My guess is as good as yours!
I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think should be the standard playground etiquette?