This Fourth of July was our stinkers 4th Independence Day! Can you even believe that, because I can’t? We love 4th of July. We LOVE everything about it. The BBQ’s, the fireworks, the parties and we must not forget about the darling and festive little outfits. Yup, I’m that mom. You know the one who decks their kiddo out in red, white a blue, complete with a bow the size of a human head. I’m so that mom and there’s no shame in my game. I totally embrace my inner pageant mom when Independence Day rolls around every year because it’s just so fun.
This year was pretty low key for us. We had just got back into town and had a lot going on, so we decided to celebrate with friends back home. The Bean’s uncles A and B had just moved into a new, beautiful home so they hosted all of us for the holiday. It was a bit of a housewarming and 4th of July BBQ all in one. I tried slapping a giant bow on Gracie’s head but this year, she wasn’t having it. And because everything with our big girl now involves negotiation (as is the case with most 3 year olds), we settled on braids in exchange for some gummy snacks. Yes, I bribed her and she looked adorable! ;)
We had a new and unsettling experience at the party that l pray never happens again, because it was pretty horrible. When we arrived at the Guncles, there was only one other kiddo there, a young boy about 3 years older than Grace. When we first introduced ourselves to the little boy and his mom, we could see that he had down syndrome and looked to be just as sweet as ever. A few moments later, as our backs were turned checking out the toys in the room, the boy tackled Grace to the ground and had her by the hair. He was much bigger than her so he had no problem taking her down. It took two of us to pull them apart and while it all happened so quickly, I think we were in a bit of shock after it took place. The other mother explained that her son had a tough time with children smaller than him and Georgia and I were quick to tell her it was ok. Having a family member with down syndrome, we understand that down syndrome kids can have unexpected reactions in certain situations, even though most DS kiddos I’ve met, have been gentle. We then checked Grace out and aside from being wide-eyed and shaken up, she seemed ok. We were surprised at what happened but quickly moved on from the situation and moved to another area at the party.
About 45 minutes later, Grace was playing in the grass courtyard area with the dog when out of the corner of my eye, I could see the little boy enter the courtyard with his mom. Before I could even stand up he was in a full on sprint toward Gracie and was grunting very loudly as he ran, which scared the hell out of me. Before I could get to her, he got to her and tackled her to the ground. As I was running from across the yard and around bushes to get to her, he was choking her from behind and violently pulling at her hair. It was the most terrifying experience I’ve had with my little one and well, it was just awful. The mom had no control over her son so it took what felt like a full minute to break Grace free from his grasp. Once I had her in my arms he was still lunging at us and reaching for her while making noises that scared even me. At this point, I was beyond upset. It was an uncomfortable situation for all involved but at the end of the day, we were at this party for less than an hour and in that time, my kid was hurt twice by a boy much bigger than her, who intentionally wanted to harm her.
I told G that we needed to go because there was no way I was going to risk something happening again and Grace was crying saying that she wanted to go home as well.That made me so sad because she was so excited to come to the party and swim. Fast forward 10 minutes and before we could collect our things, I noticed the boy’s mom gathering her belongings to leave and while my heart broke for her, because as she shared, things like this have happened before, I was relieved to see them go. A while later the mom came outside and said goodbye to everyone, including me. She was joking with friends about going home early and acting as though nothing had happened. I wouldn’t say that I was expecting an apology but it upset me that she didn’t even ask if my daughter was ok. Here my little 3 year old had been pounded on by her son twice, both incidents were extremely physical and frightening and resulted in Grace having hair pulled out, being red faced and crying and we didn’t even get so much as a, “hope she’s ok.” Am I wrong for feeling this way? As fellow parents, what would you have done? If it was your child who hurt another kiddo, would you have checked on the kid they hurt?
We managed to salvage the day and within about 30 minute Gracie was excited to get in the Jacuzzi and swim.
We played with the dogs, lit fireworks and had a pretty good time.
It was a 4th of July that I won’t soon forget, but it wasn’t all bad. The situation we were faced with caused us to have several conversations with our gal about safety. We talked with her about the importance of standing up for herself, being aware of her surroundings and always getting an adult if someone is being hurt. We also talked about how her little voice can be LOUD and if something ever happens like that again and she’s away from us, scream as loud as she can for help.
This parenthood gig is full of life lessons and this year, a few lessons were learned on the 4th of July.
Mama getting in on the action!
Happy 4th Fourth, little stinker. :)
2015 Summer Bucket List – Light Fireworks √
5. Go camping
6. Feed ducks
7. Run through the sprinklers
8. Visit the library
9. Make popsicles
12. Visit local water park
15. Movies on the lawn
17. Have a picnic
18. Visit the Nature Center
19. Make homemade playdough
20. Go to a Zoo Music Concert
23. Make root beer floats