OK, so here is what happens. Excellent Mom and I head to the park. I am not going to tell you where this park is, mostly to protect the guilty, but I will tell you that I have no intention of heading back anytime soon.
Super Preschooler is playing by the merry-go-round. He wants to play on the see-saw, but since Super Toddler and Excellent Toddler want to swing, that makes see-saw kinda just see. Which isn't as fun. So, he is pushing the merry-go-round sadly, and the toddlers are swinging. Excellent Mom and I are probably gossiping, can't remember, but that is a pretty good guess. The swings are maybe 8-10 feet from the merry-go-round and Super Preschooler is in full view of the rest of the party. (You all know that is about to become important.)
A swarm of boys (ages 3-4) descends on the merry-go-round; Super Preschooler is elated! He begins pushing it with them and all is joy....for about 2 seconds. Perfect Mom appears on the scene and yells, "Stop, stop, there is a LITTLE boy there. Wait until he leaves."
Then, she arrives at the merry-go-round, puts a protective arm around my son, and loudly announces to the park "whose LITTLE boy is this? Where is your [extremely neglectful] mother, LITTLE boy."
I wave and say (no need to shout when you are 8 feet away), "He is mine. He's fine, I can see him." And for the record, I swear I say this civilly.
She says, "Oh, well, come get him. They are going to go too fast for him."
"I am sure he will be fine, he has been itching to go fast on that thing."
"Oh no, I am sure he will get hurt. He is so LITTLE."
OK.....now my voice gets icy, I'll admit it. "He is their age. He is 3 and a half. I am sure he can play on the merry-go-round too."
"They are going to go too fast for him. He will get hurt."
I do NOT want to fight this woman, I really don't. I walk over there and pick Super Preschooler up, while saying to him, "I am sorry, Super Preschooler, but it seems these boys don't want to play with you." Was that childish? Perhaps, but it is the truth. Well, their mom doesn't want him playing with them, so same thing at this age, really.
She verbally leaps at me. "That is NOT what I said! He is too little, he will get hurt." She turns to gossip about me with her friends, while the boys (plus a little brother, who is most likely 2) pile onto the merry-go-round.
I just walk away and resume pushing Super Toddler in his swing. Super Preschooler, not in the slightest upset (this is important for later, folks), goes off to pick up acorns.
This should be the end of it, but remember, this is Perfect Mom.
About 30 minutes later, Excellent Mom, Excellent Toddler, the Super boys, and I are having a pleasant picnic lunch. Not a Skittle or Cheezit in sight, I am most proud of myself. It is a lovely day and the children are all happily eating fruit. This day is certainly on the upswing. Except it is totally not. Perfect Mom approaches and says to me "I want to revisit our encounter."
Seriously? Because I really really don't. (Of course, I say this in my head and turn politely to her instead.)
For the briefest moment, I fantasize that she is going to apologize for excluding my child or embarrassing me, but please. This is Perfect Mom. She doesn't make mistakes. She crouches down between Super Preschooler and me and the rest is the crazy-making lecture of the century. So, here you go (to the best of my knowledge I am not exaggerating this and Excellent Mom can correct anything I left out):
Perfect Mom: I just don't understand why you were upset.
Me: Ummmm...well, I was watching my son, I was right there, and when you asked whose child he was, I suppose I got defensive. (Check out my mature "I" statements, Readers!)
Perfect Mom: Well, I always stand right next to my child, so I didn't see you. He is too little to play with them.
Me: He is short for his age, but he is 3 and a half. He is their age, he could have participated.
Perfect Mom: He would have got hurt.
Me: You don't know that.
Perfect Mom: Well, the most damaging thing of all was when YOU spoke for us and said that we didn't want him to play. You spoke for us and that wasn't true, you said we didn't want him to play and that was damaging to all the kids. That was so damaging to the kids. (She is stage whispering this to me 2 inches from Super Preschooler's ear. I assume the whispering is to protect him from further damage.) It was SO damaging that you said that.
Me: But it was true.
Perfect Mom: I never said he couldn't play with them.
Me: But you did.
Perfect Mom: It was so damaging.
She leaves. And I am left with that uncomfortable feeling of rage that I know will be turned inward on the ride home. Excellent Mom, an excellent friend with a great sense of emotional intelligence, looks right at me and says "This is her issue, not yours. You were fine."
I know in my head that she is right, but I don't think anyone can explain it to my heart. Or my stomach. Which is now in need of those Skittles. Or maybe some chocolate....a cake of some sort....brownies, that would be good...excuse me please....be right back...perhaps some ice cream...no...no...Waffles!
And let the self-pity party begin! We swear that we will get to the home visit at some point, patient Readers. But Awkward Mom has left the building, emotionally speaking, and she is also physically on her way to the kitchen to rummage around. How about we get back to you on the home visit, eh? Thanks!
He looks 3 and a half, right? I mean, I know the fashion sense is early 20s raver, but everything else says 3 and a half, right?