… but, actually, I’m not.
Baby girl is usually in the trolley as I whiz around our local shopping centre doing the weekly grocery shop. I stopped at Baker’s Delight, and my precious girl stood obediently beside me as I waited in the long line, occasionally pointing to the endless sweet and savoury treats showcased behind the glass before us.
Another young girl, at least 2 years older than my one, was nearby with You. She looked really sweet and innocent, holding no malice at all, only cheekiness and curiosity as is so prevalent and totally necessary at that young age. She spotted my girl and, as all older kids are, became besotted with the image of a younger child to ‘play’ with.
At first she came and stood really close, almost eye to eye with my baby girl. This is really confronting, and I can understand why baby girl gets freaked out by a total stranger doing this, albeit it being a young girl such as she. But I understood Your girl’s intention, her amusement, her willingness to play, and I said “it’s ok honey, she just wants to play.”
You continued chatting away to the woman selling bread behind the counter.
I was next and soon ordering my own bread, plus a bit of a snack to keep us going on our seemingly never-ending mammoth shopping trip that day. As I started ordering, I became aware of baby girl crying out in protest, gripping my legs and standing behind me, while the other girl jumped out at her, playing a kind of peek-a-boo, at the same time doing a kind of scary/wobbly face at her to see her reaction. I looked down at them, trying to settle baby girl, looking up to listen to the young girl as she responded to my question about bread, while also peeking a glimpse to see if You would say anything and stop your girl, who was only having fun, from making My Girl, upset.
You and the bread lady laughed and I heard you comment that your girl was playing, while my baby girl was getting upset. It was a flippant and light-hearted comment, and just like that your conversation moved on.
My baby girl was getting distressed by your girl’s playing. You obviously don’t know to what extent, but only I could feel her grabbing at my legs and trying to avoid your girl as she jumped out and around at her, again and again. As I waited for my bread, growing increasingly frustrated, I knew what I had to do, in the presence of YOUR lack of doing.
Your girl pulled a really scary face at my baby girl again as well as a bit of a “roar”-ing sound, and I’m sorry, but you think of how it feels for a big kid to do that to a little kid. You picture a 6 year-old doing that to your child – is that considered bullying? At the very least, it’s not fair.
“Excuse me, can you please stop doing that to my daughter, she’s getting upset.”
My tone came out short, brisk and firm. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let frustration rule me; perhaps I should have taken a deep breath and thought ‘this is someone’s daughter’ before I let the young girl know how I felt; perhaps I should have started with ‘Sweetie,’ and used more “please’s’ and really sugared up the request with ‘I know you’re playing honey but my girl is a bit upset, do you mind not doing that?’
But all I could think of was how You, had laughed off my girl getting upset from Yours. You didn’t stop your child. So naturally, it fell within my jurisdiction.
Your girl heard my tone, and immediately withdrew and went close to you. I know you heard. You went silent, paid and then walked off with your daughter. The girl serving me heard. I reckon a few people around us heard. And I know you were upset. You were upset that someone you hadn’t known had told off your daughter.
But don’t be upset with me. Be embarrassed, as I hope you were, that you didn’t do anything about your girl sooner.
And yes, it was slightly awkward as we crossed paths 20 minutes later, both of us with our girls buying fruit and vegetables. It was totally in your right to confront me, even though you didn’t.
But you know what? I know I told off your girl, and that was perhaps inappropriate. But as you should know, I am the Mummy Lion… and no one messes with my cub.
Uma Thurman as ‘The Bride’ in Kill Bill: Vol. 1
“It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I’m sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin’. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I’ll be waiting.”