J is an elflike 4-year-old girl with the personality of a grumpy old Bavarian man. She tells everyone what to do regardless of age or status and is free with personal criticism as well. She also has her childish side and loves to throw herself on the floor and scream. She pushes and hits other kids, too, when she doesn’t get what she wants, which is pretty much all the time because what she secretly wants is a beer, a Schweinebraten and a cigar.
Her mother, a petite, gentle person, is no match for J and also busy with a new baby, a gorgeous plump baby with adorable blond fuzz that smiles at everyone. The mom has difficulty disciplining J, which may be because J knows she's 65 years old and isn’t going to take any direction from some woman in her early 30’s.
I know what you're thinking: J is jealous of the baby. But she was like this before the baby, too.
J admires K, who is popular and twice her size, but considers L to be 'just a kid'(although she’s much closer to L’s age than K’s). So her comments to L are pretty much along the lines of telling her she can’t play, can’t come through the secret entrance, can’t come in, etc.
L mostly ignores J but yesterday as she was trying to follow J and K into the school for gymnastics J tried to shut a heavy door on her. I looked up at L’s cries to find her pinned in this massive door with J pulling it shut as hard as she could.
So, I don’t know what your philosophy is on yelling at other people’s kids in a highly public setting. Mine tends to be that I don’t appreciate other people criticizing or yelling at my kids so I don’t generally yell at their kids.
But when I saw L stuck in that door I yelled. Oh, did I yell, I surprised even myself. I don’t think J has ever been yelled at like that. If I do say so myself, I can really yell and when I finished she was shaking like a leaf and swearing it was an accident.
I almost believed her and felt a bit bad afterwards, since L didn’t seem to be harmed.
On the other hand, it might have been good for her. J, I mean, not L. I saw contrition in J's eyes. Or at least, shock masquerading as contrition.
I'm not sure her mom appreciated it but she, um, didn't say anything.
My girls know I can yell - especially when one of them does something that can get someone hurt - and they watched all of this in thoughtful silence, which is pretty much what they do when I yell at them, too.
K’s judicious comment later: Nice one, mom.
Me: Er. . . thanks, sweetie.