The kid might as well have been wearing a scarlet B. As in, B for “bad.”
He threw toys in other kids’ faces. He punched and kicked them. He ran up to our table, snatched at snacks and tried to pilfer water bottles. The kids cried and complained about him, and the other parents and I exchanged annoyed glances.
I was spending a rainy afternoon at an indoor playplace with two friends and their children. Together, we had three three-year-olds and three five-year-olds — perfect ages for amusing themselves and racing around so that we, the moms, could sit and talk.
Except a certain little boy was becoming a problem.
At first, he seemed to be playing OK with our posse of kids, even though he was a little older, maybe six. There was a slight lack of boundaries, as he grabbed at the food on our table and tried to drink out of our kids’ water bottles. We handed over some snacks (after confirming with his caregiver that it was OK) and asked that he not try to share our drinks, and figured that would be the end of it.
But over the next hour, his lack of snacktime boundaries escalated into shoving and hitting our kids. One by one, they’d run over to us, sobbing, about “the boy” that had decked them or thrown a toy in their face.