Scene 1: We're at the pool. Owen is inching up the ladder, trying to climb out. Suddenly a little girl with a kickboard swims over and starts slapping the water because she wants to use the ladder. When that doesn't cause us to disappear, she starts screaming. No words, just loud, piercing shrieks. When her mother swims over to tell her (very quietly, very calmly) that she has to wait her turn, the girl starts ramming her mother with the kickboard. When her mother (very quietly, very calmly!) tells her that she should not hit, the girl turns and tries to ram me with the board. When her mother tells her to go around us, the girl lets out another scream and swims off. The mother just rolls her eyes and takes another lap around the pool.
Scene 2: We're at the playground. A friend of Owen's begins hitting his father on the face. Hard. The father asks his son to please stop. The son sticks out his tongue, hits his father one more time, and walks off. His mother looks at me and giggles.
There seems to be a new trend in parental discipline these days. It involves a lot of eye contact and phrases like "emotional ramification." It does not, however, appear to involve the word NO. I happen to love the word no, which makes me a bit of a pariah on the playground scene. I'm happy to explain that we should keep our hands to ourselves, but if a manic 4-year-old pinches my kid, I am going to tell him to stop. I am not going to say it gently or suggest an alternative. ("Let's clap our hands instead!") I am going to say it firmly and with a very hard look in my eyes, and if it doesn't stop, I will make it. I will not stand there and shrug. And I certainly will not giggle.
Is this strictly a NYC thing? Has it hit the Midwest yet? (Just you wait...)