Most mornings I push Lael on the swings: first at Seth’s school and then again at Lael’s preschool. Because most of the kids figured out that I’ll give them big pushes, several tend to wait for a turn on one of the four available swings.
I go out of my way to be fair – Lael gets the same number of pushes as other kids who haven’t learned to swing yet, and she gets the same amount of time on the swings as everyone else.
Today, a boy 4-year-old boy was throwing wood chips at one of the girls waiting her turn. So I told the boy to stop. When he didn’t, I told him he would not get a turn on the swings.
He sulkily walked away to another part of the playground. I resumed pushing Lael from behind.
A few moments later, an arm motion caught my eye just before the rock hit me on the right side of my chest. While the impact only stung a little, it missed Lael’s head by inches.
Without even stopping to consider my actions, I walked straight up to the boy, grabbed his elbow, told him that throwing stones was unacceptable and led him straight to his teacher. I told her what happened, then went back to the swings.
I’m still a bit surprised at how automatic my response was. Ironically, I can’t help but be impressed by the boy’s aim.
A few minutes later, the teacher apologized and told me the boy would be dealt with. Apparently, this is not the boy’s first transgression, though perhaps the most egregious.