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The bears April 8, 2011

Posted by Judy in Musings, parenting.

I wonder, are bears more protective or their children than other animals? Why is it that when a parent gets defensive, they are labeled as “mother bear” or “father bear”. I’m pretty sure that most animals would protect their young from danger. I supposed that “mother chipmunk” or “father ferret” just doesn’t have the same ring!

In any case, I wouldn’t say that I turn into the proverbial mother bear very often. I subscribe to the parenting philosophy that says, let your kids work out their own differences with their friends. I’ve been on playdates where kids were obnoxious, and there was one time when there was a little boy who was just downright mean. Throwing kids toys around, kicking, pushing, generally behaving badly. I just moved the kids away from him and suggested they go play elsewhere. I guess it also helped that his mother was there, constantly putting out the fires he had started.

Last weekend, mother bear made a rare appearance. We were at a park on a very nice day, much nicer than the days preceding it, so naturally, the park was jam packed. This particular park is rather labyrinthish, so I told the kiddies to stay together and agree on where they were going to play. DD was following after her brother, when another girl, about 8 or 9, came running by with her tiny little dog on a leash. I immediately identified two problems with this scenario: 1) dogs aren’t allowed in the playground 2) the girl was running pell mell, IN FRONT of her dog. Girl is running like crazy with her friends, then there is the leash, then the dog. Oh, did I mention that she was weaving in and out between the other kids? Can you see where this is going? Before I knew it, she had weaved such that DD was now in between the leash and the dog. In a flash, DD was knocked to the ground. Out came mother bear. . .

“Hey! Hey! Hey!” I yelled. I wanted the child to stop running to make sure that DD didn’t get dragged. I walked quickly over, and gently escorted her from the play area saying, “You need to leave the play area. Dogs are not allowed.” Of course, DD was wailing because she’d gotten knocked over, and there was a dog (she has no appreciation for the four-legged animals). The girl appeared to be pissed as I heard her say to her friends, “Oh. my. G-d!” I tried to convince DD to go play with her brother, but she was now traumatized and immediately turned into velcro toddler. As I was standing holding her, I heard the girl saying to her friends “I can’t believe she touched me!” My inner monologue was saying “Of all the gall, right! Who does that mother think she is, escorting you away, ESPECIALLY after you carelessly knocked another child over!” As I said, this was my inner monologue. I might have said something a little less sarcastic, but I was kinda feeling like a pariah. I would have reacted in the same way had any other child been knocked over. That girl was just behaving recklessly. But the reaction of the other parents (there were 3 or 4 others standing around) was quite odd. I felt like I got these strange looks from them. You know, the “I totally appalled but I’m going to avert my eyes so that it doesn’t look like I’m gawking” look. I probably was just misinterpreting the situation. But, when the same girl ran back into the play area, again ahead of her leashed dog, none of the other parents said a word. I was tempted to escort her out again, maybe this time showing her the large sign saying “NO DOGS”. I just didn’t feel like getting the looks, again.

This situation made me realize why I don’t mother bear very often . . . .it doesn’t seem to do much good. I would have been better off just scooping DD up and taking she and her brother to a different section of the park. Alas.


1. Nicol - April 16, 2011

It is to your credit that you are sensible enough to not just react in a mother bear manner when it doesn’t seem to be useful. I, on the other hand, would have jumped back into the fray, dirty looks and all, and told that smart-mouthed young lady a thing or two. And probably gotten some parent mad at me for “harassing” her. 😛 All in all not solving a thing, but fueling my righteous indignation. 🙂

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