Whose kid is that?

This is not a post with all the right answers. This is raw post about how I’m feeling after leaving a play area with my head down, sons in tow, yogurt spit up on my shoulder, and mumbling apologies on my way out of the room.

I’ve prayed a lot of prayers over my son these 3 years. I wonder what his little personality would bloom into. I wonder what kind of activities he will be into. Sports? Theatre? Music? Ribbon Dancing? But I can say with complete honesty, aside from him having a passionate connection to the Lord, the thing I pray for the most is that he’ll be kind. I don’t care if he isn’t popular, smart, or good looking. I just want him to be kind. 

Perhaps that’s why I took his actions so personally today. We were at one of those indoor play areas where cooped up moms go to let their cooped up PNW kids run around out of the rain. They have a little cafe with food and drinks where we can pretend that we’ll be able to drink a tea while it’s still hot when really all it’s there for is so we can take one day off of making lunch on a Lightening McQueen plate.  I was getting the baby settled into the infant cage made of styrofoam and activity blocks (they should use that description on the packaging) when I heard another mom yell, “No! We do NOT hit!” I thought to myself, “Oh how embarrassing, her delinquent chi- oh SHIZ, she’s talking to my kid. That’s my delinquent child!” I made sure the baby was relatively secure and I ran over to see what happened. Apparently Bud hit this little boy over a toy. Great. GREAT. We went through the “I’m dorry” song and dance and I apologized as well. Bud sat in time out and we talked about how we never use our hands like that, we always want to be kind, etc. etc. And after a few minutes, I let him play again.

Why did he hit? I realize it’s developmentally normal for them to feel out boundaries and physical aggression but the only things going through my mind were:

– That was humiliating.
– What if he is the bully?
– What if they think he sees that at home?
– How should I discipline that?
– Should I have just hid in the baby cage and yelled, “Whose kid is that?!”

Then after we finished lunch (aka a $5 PB&J) I was getting Bennett Rippy settled into the carseat and gave Bud the 5 minute warning. (You know the one that you give 15 minutes before you need to leave?) Well, I look over and there’s an adorable tiny little angel girl standing in front of him and he’s just standing there looking at her.

What’s he doing? How is this going to play out? Is he going to kiss her? What does he want? Should I sing some song from Daniel the Tiger about how it’s not polite to stare? Why is he just standing in front of her?

Then he pushes her down. Not hard, but a little shove and she falls down.

And again, ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, we did the “I’m dorry” song and dance. I talk to him about never using our hands that way, walking in kindness, and I tell him that he’s lost his privilege to stay there and we leave.

On the way out, I asked him why he pushed her and he said, “She looked into my eyes.”


I try to do the math of how much money I lost since we were leaving after an hour instead of the two that he was supposed to be there while I made my way out of the room feeling the daggers of the moms who are NOT wearing stained jeans and HAVE washed their hair being shot into my back. I swear I heard applause after we left the room. I fought back the tears as we made our way to the car and I tried to come up with the after school special speech that I was going to give Bud on the way home.

I’ve tried to make sense of it, but honestly, the only thing I’ve come up with is this: he’s my sweet kid who is going to make some bad choices. I can do the best I can to show him grace, patience, and kindness at home. I can do the best I can to show everyone we meet grace, patience, and kindness so he can see that’s what people deserve. I can continue to discipline him when he acts unkind and aggressively. I can pray like crazy over his heart so that it is full of kindness instead of anger. But most importantly, I cannot place my shame onto him because he doesn’t act perfectly all the time. The last thing in the world I want for him is to feel anything short of complete, all-in grace and love from me. THAT is what will mold him into a kind man.

Or I could just hide in the baby cage and yell, “Whose kid is that?!”

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  • Kim

    Oh my I just teared up. We’ve all had these moments friend. We go a play date and my girl has three melt downs over I-don’t-know-what-or-understand but play off the ‘need for a nap’ when we all know that ain’t happening at 3.5( for us at least.) And then I drive home unrighteously angry and humiliated. Thanks for sharing your perspective and graceful reminder. Hugs.

    • oh GIRL its so rough. this parenthood thing is not for the weak i tell ya! much love to you and the girls 🙂

  • carman

    It happens to all of us! You detail he experience so well here. No kid (or grown up for that matter) is capable of keeping it together all the time.

  • Michelle

    Love it! Talk to me in a few years when your 10-year-old hits people (yup that’s my kid). . . all we can do is guide them as best as possible. . . perhaps those other moms were wiping their brows and saying, “Thank goodness it wasn’t my child THIS time!”

    • oh girl i agree! we do the best we can and then “let go and let God!”

  • marawolff

    Josh recently told me that I hold Audrey to a higher standard because she is a reflection of myself…it’s hard, just plain hard sometimes. This business of being a mama can really twist your heart into all sorts of knots. Thank you for sharing… your kindness, wisdom and love are ever inspiring! On a side note, why can I find it so forgiving when Audrey has mishaps at school yet 100% unacceptable to show anything but kindness and respect to her siblings? Still trying to fight through this one, but I think I should take your lead and love her even more!

    • oh man its tough! such wisdom that we put that standard on them. it’s so hard to really give them over to the Lord and trust that He will mold them into their own being amiright????

  • Tracy Dickens

    Hey Martha–I so appreciate your posting this and your honesty. Sounds like such a difficult thing to go through. But your sharing experiences like this give hope to people like me who plan/hope to be moms someday, but are so fearful of not being able to compare with those facebook posters of only the good things, who make parenting seem like it is all rainbows and sunbeams. Your sharing this helps reaffirm to me that there are struggles of parenthood that everyone deals with and that if I deal with them, too, I will be okay.

    Hang in there!

    • sweet friend you are going to be an amazing mama! and you can always count on me to show its not all rainbows and sunbeams but it’s pretty awesome 😉

  • leslieruth

    Ok, I have no useful advice because, you know, haven’t birthed a baby yet 🙂 BUT, I think you handled it beautifully and I love how you’ve thought it through and that you’re keeping the big picture in mind.

    Also, you should read this. Applesaucy, my friend. 😉


  • Maggie Craven

    Martha, it will get easier. I know that is easy to say, but it is so true. Now that Jack and Anna are 4 and 6(almost 7), it is so much easier. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days were I want to pull my hair out (like today)!! You did such a good job by disciplining Bud. I have a friend that threatens to discipline, but never does. Anna has been hit, bit, pushed, yelled at and more by her friend and the mom does nothing. You are a rock star mom and I guarantee those moms were impressed with how you dealt with it.

    • Thanks Maggie! You’re so awesome. I’m sure I’ll be gleaning a bunch of advice from you as they get older and we get to NC!

  • That is the hardest part of parenting for me.
    But I just have to remind myself, no matter how hard I try, they were still born with a sinful nature and will have to learn as they get older. (hugs)

  • Tove

    It is so hard not to take it personally when our kids get physical. But they all do it! Some days your kid will be the one hitting and other days, they’re getting hit. I try not to intervene when my daughter is on the receiving end because I think it helps build their confidence when you show them you trust their ability to resolve the situation. How can they learn without practice? If she’s hitting, I’m pretty quick to jump in but it’s more out of fear of being judged by other moms. I have a few close friends who are in agreement and it’s amazing how quickly the kids patch things up when left to their own devices. All that to say, I have no doubt Bud is a kind and loving little guy. And YOU are doing a great job, mama!