Thursday, May 22, 2014

I need some help with this

This thing happened with another parent at Jordan's school yesterday afternoon, and it left me upset and not sure how to think about it.

There are two things. One, I wish I'd responded better yesterday, and two, I'm not sure what to do when I see this man again, which is likely.

OK.  So here's the story.

Several other parents and I pick our kids up after school and then hang out with them either on the playground or on the soccer field.  We've been doing so for months, and  we've become friends. We share snacks, we bring extra water or toys, we watch each other's kids if one parent has to go to the bathroom, etc.

The little boys in the group love love love to pee outdoors. If they can get away with it, they do.

Initially I tried sprinting over to Jordan if I saw him, but really, by then he'd be mid-pee and you cannot stop at that point.

And a couple times I've asked Jordan if he has to pee and taken him to the men's room in the school and he's come out immediately and said, "I can't go in there. It smells like poo-poo."

But usually he says he doesn't have to. And then he and one of two of his friends will take the opportunity when they are far from us.

If he can avoid the poo-poo bathroom, he does. (The bathroom back where his classroom is is not an issue.)

Usually when we are there it's pretty empty.  So if they occasionally pee behind a tree, the other parents and I are not bothered. I've told Jordan that it doesn't actually make me upset, but if other people are around, they might get upset.

Yesterday I myself had to go to the bathroom, and being a grown woman, excused myself to head inside.

When I came out and was heading down the steps, I saw my son and another little friend of his behind a tree, but basically in plain sight, pants down around their knees, about to pee. I mean, these are kids without great fine motor yet. When they pull their pants down, it's just about all the way down.

They also aren't self-conscious about it.  But they do know that they technically are not supposed to be peeing outside. They just aren't astute enough to be sneaky about it.

By this point, there were a bunch of kids playing on the field and I said, "You guys, pull your pants up! Right now! You're going to get in trouble!"

This man said, "Are those boys yours?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "You'd better stop them right now! There are girls on the field! My daughter is one of them!"

All I could manage was, "Huh." And then I turned my attention back to the kids and getting them to pull up their shorts and come down the hill.

He was furious. He glowered at me. He glowered at the boys. He stomped past the other boy's mother. He was SO ANGRY.

He kept glaring at us for as long as we were there, which coincidentally was not long, as we'd been about to leave.  I ignored him the whole time, but out of the corner of my eye could see he was still fuming and giving us the stinkeye.

Now, here's my thing.  One, I could see if you're mad because it's in public, and you believe nobody should pee in public.

But his reason - that his daughter might, from far away, see two four-year-olds' penises? Seriously?

I kind of wish I'd said that. But then probably better I said nothing. I don't know.

But it's not a huge school, and we're on the field every day. Odds are good I will run into him. Should I say something? If so, what?


  1. I wouldn't say anything unless he's obviously giving you an attitude. And then, I'd probably say something like "Your daughter's eyesight must be FANTASTIC, since she was pretty far away from my kid. Also, I'm a little disturbed with your preoccupation with my four-year-old son's penis. You might want to work on that."

    But that's just me.

    1. I will absolutely not say anything unless I have to. But that is the thing - seriously, that's where your brain goes first? Yikes.

  2. I'm not a parent. (Read: I have no clue and I expect you to dismiss my comment.) That said, your behavior is reinforcing that Jordan can do what you are saying he really shouldn't do. At 4, it's arguably cute. But at what age is it no longer cute? 6? 12? 33? Maybe it's no big deal to you. But I expect there are laws about public urination so if push came to shove (which I hope it doesn't) your glowering buddy there could probably make things uncomfortable for you. I get that he doesn't want your son exposing himself in an area where his daughter might see it. I do. Different people respond differently to the whole nakey thing.

    1. You're most certainly entitled to your opinion, parent or not! I put this out there, and don't expect everyone to agree with me. So, what I've been telling Jordan, and I think my behavior is reinforcing, is that it is OK with me, and with the people we hang out with - many of whom are European - but it is not OK with everyone. I wouldn't say we find it cute; we find it expedient.
      Also, sometimes little kids don't verbalize that they have to pee until like 15 seconds before they do so. There are most definitely laws, although I don't know at what age they start. But he's well aware that he can get away with this because he's a little kid, and that adults absolutely cannot. And if he wanted to take it to the police I would tell them that he was menacing us and that if he glares and circles any of the women and/or their children again, that I won't hesitate to call them.

  3. So tough. On one hand, you can't be responsible for other people's parenting decisions, and on the other hand the boys *know* they aren't supposed to be peeing out doors, so you can understand the dad being upset (even if it is for the stupidest of reasons). He's wrong, but he's not wrong. Wait and see, protect your kids from his anger, redirect them (for the millionth time) and if there is a problem and Dad actually gets in your face about it or acts in a manner that's aggressive remind him that you both have examples to set for your kids, and this can be a teaching moment for you both. but he won't, because he'd actually have to be a mature adult to have that conversation, and if he was a mature adult you'd have had a convo about it in the first place instead of huffing and puffing. so yeah, ignore, and if it happens again it happens again and you keep fighting the good fight.

    1. So, his anger was so scary, and then the fact that he kept glaring and glaring was jarring. And then when my friend told me that he had been circling her and her son and glaring until they left, it made it creepy scary. I don't believe that with that behavior we would've had a rational conversation, and in fact, seeing him today I realized that I'm actually scared of him.

  4. I wouldn't approach him. If he approaches you or makes it terribly uncomfortable to be there, I'd say "I'm sorry you were offended." If he continues, I'd point out that they are 4 year old boys, you'll try to keep them from doing it (not), and really, it's not a big deal.

    FWIW, if my daughter saw that she'd be highly amused.

    Some of the stuff that parents get crazy over becomes a big deal because they make it a big deal! Had his daughter seen, he could just say "Hey, it's not the best idea to pee outside, but they're little boys." I guarantee his daughter wouldn't have thought another thing of it. If he freaked out, it would be seared into her memory!

    1. I don't know who his daughter was, the team that was playing yesterday and today had girls that were at least 4th grade. I myself am going to doubt that they pay any heed to little boys at all.

      Yes, you are right. There are many things that become a big deal because we let them. If he'd said he was offended, I'd have apologized for him being offended.

  5. I"m with Jessica. Was the daughter carrying binoculars?

    This man was way overreacting. He demanded you do what you were already doing and then threw a silent, grown-up version of a temper tantrum when you didn't fall all over yourself apologizing. I doubt he'll try to talk to you again and I certainly wouldn't approach him.

    1. He didn't talk to us today. And he only glared as my friend and her son walked by - he didn't try to say anything and didn't follow. Also, when I got one of the dads to walk past him with me to talk to our kids, the dad made the "I'm watching you" motion. To which the man didn't react. I was afraid he might pull out a gun or throw a punch but he did nothing.

  6. He glared at my friend and her son when they walked by him today, but hasn't looked over at us since. I am going to follow your advice if he approaches us. Frankly, he scares me.

  7. Good grief. The guy needs to lighten up. It happens! I had one little boy just stop in the middle of the play ground and start peeing in front of everyone. (I forgot to say that I am a preschool teacher.) Once he was done, I got down on his level and just shared with him that in the future if he needs to go potty...just let me know and I'll take him to the restroom. Not a big deal. All the kids just kept on playing. If I had called him out, it would have upset him and drawn everyone's attention. Lisa, I'm sorry that this happened and upset you. Some folks are just poopie heads.:)

    1. Yes, Connie! Little kids do things like this! Sometimes their little brains are all, you need to pee now now now! I have one friend who has to sprint to the bathroom with her kid, and they often don't make it.

      I think he's an angry man, or damaged by something, and that made him super angry in this instance. I'm just staying away.

  8. Wow. Circling? That is more than a temper tantrum. Yikes! Thank you for staying far away from him!


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