I love Paul Harvey. I always have, and I associate his radio program with the smell of brown beans cooking at my grandmother's. Whenever I hear Paul Harvey, I smell pinto beans. I'm sure lots of people have those types of associations.
Anyway, remember this post about overprotective mothers?
The pendulum, folks, hath swung the other direction.
Today my good friend Jess corralled her twins and met us at CooperElla, a charming little cafe geared toward children. Well, with the exception of the staff, that is. There were some surly goth chicks manning the counter. There was a fellow who, when I asked what the soups were today, pointed at the soup tureens and the signs on each. Sheesh, sorry, I'm new here, okay? Cut me some slack!
Anyway, another boy we'll call "Van Halen" was also there. I knew his name was Van Halen because his mother would half-heartedly yell, "Van Halen, no!" every time he did something he shouldn't. He was 2, and oh, the things he shouldn't have done!
He pushed Ethan down several times in the play area while I was at the counter ordering lunch. I turned away from the counter after ordering my food and Ethan was on Jessica's lap. I figured he was being bad, but Jess said that no, Van Halen was shoving Ethan and knocking him down.
If that weren't enough, Van Halen had some real property ownership issues. Every time Ethan had a toy, Van Halen would exercise eminent domain and swipe it away. It was unconstitutional, of course, because Van Halen didn't compensate Ethan, but what're you going to do?
The entire time this was going down, Van Halen's mom was chatting it up with her friend and mostly oblivious to Van Halen's antics.
Ethan wasn't the only victim, by the way. Oh, no. There were others.
But as is the case with most bullies, I effectively felled Van Halen when I caught him shoving Ethan. I called him over. "Van Halen," I said in my kind-yet-admonishing tone. "Please don't push him."
Van Halen tried to appease me with a toy. "Thank you," I said in that same low tone, that which is reserved for serious transgressions and which cannot be challenged. "But please don't push him."
Van Halen, taken aback and unsure how to respond to this Sword of Damocles, ran to his mother. I have no idea what he told her or what transpired after that, but we were ready to leave.
My point is this — it is one thing to be a laid-back parent. I respect that. I'm one of those myself. But I also institute discipline and a consideration for others.
And that is how it should be.