Today I am still, The Angry Dad.
Yesterday, my four year old son was at a Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party for one of his little friends. I didn't go, but when my wife got back, my son had some scratches on his face that he didn't have when he left for the party.
According to my wife, while my son was playing up in these 'tubes' they have running along the walls and ceiling for the kids climb, play and slide in, he got into a scuffle with another little boy. Another little Black kid, just like himself.
When the two of them came out of the 'tubes' my son was in tears, he had fresh bleeding scratches and the other kid had a busted lip. My wife didn't know what had happened, but like the leveled headed, intelligent woman that she is she didn't point fingers or make a scene. She called for the other boys mother and proceeded to tell both of them that fighting is not how you settle your problems. The first to show up for the other boy was [probably] his grandmother and then some very young looking 20 something woman assuming the role of his mother. My wife tried to explain what happened from her perspecive and tried to determine if apologies [from either side] were needed and to just get something by way of response from the other mother. The woman looked her kid over, said some things to the grandmother lady and flat ignored my wife and child. When I say IGNORED, I mean did not say a word or anything, she just took her kid and walked away. My wife was dumbfounded.
I wish I was there to comfort my son. I'm sure my wife did a fine job, but I would have liked to have been there too. Actually I probably would have done more harm than good and while I'd like to think I would have stressed to both boys that fighting is not something they should have done, I think I would have gone to jail for the verbal assault upon the other kids mother. I mean, how fuckin' triflin' is a mother who refuses to even acknowledge the child or the MOTHER of the child that just got into a fight with her child. How ghetto could this trick really be. What kind of mother is she? She is the ignorant, flippant, arrogant type of mother that far too many young children have. I am quite certain that I would not have allowed her to just walk away from me. That's not a knock on my wife, but I'm certain that I would have given this woman a significant piece of my mind. She inturn would have probably cursed me out and I would have finished her off with a precision onslaught of verbal declarations and assumptions about her, her family, her family's pets, her hygene and her sexual habits. As I said, I may have caused more harm than good by being there.
A few things about this incident really stung me. ONE, my son has this wide-eyed innocence about him. He thinks that everyone is his friend and everyone wants to play with him and all kids like to be nice to each other. This incident has proven to him that this simply isn't true. TWO, I couldn't help but think about a conversation I had with my father years ago. He told me that he could not understand why it seemed that young Black kids had such a high propensity to fight each other. He said that when you put large numbers of White kids together or Asian kids or Spanish kids, you don't see the same volume of little kids calling each other names and fighting each other. I've never scientifically looked at this phenomenon - but on the surface, I tend to agree with my dad. My opinions are formed by the conversations I hear and see in public, the things I've encountered at playgrounds and things I've been exposed to in general. My father's words came back to me significantly with this incident yesterday.
I stressed to my son yesterday, that fighting is not the way boys and men should settle their differences. I also told him that some kids are just not friendly and some kids don't like to play fair. I told him that I wish I was there for him when this happened. And then I told him words that I was told a hundred times and only violated once [okay, twice] - "Don't throw the first punch, but if somebody hits you first, then do what you have to do to protect yourself." I really wish I didn't have to tell him this at this point, but that really wasn't up to me.
-I'm still angry, though.