We (myself, my sister and her two young daughters) went to a museum yesterday and an incident happened that has been playing on my mind and I’d really appreciate some advice about whether I handled it right.
At the museum, there were lots of interactive games and computer-based activities for the kids. I was with my youngest niece (age 8) waiting for one of the computers to become available so that she could have a go. The little girl in the chair in front of us finished her game and got up and left. My niece was just taking her seat when a girl about the same age who was standing behind the seat next to her jumped in and tried to push her out. I put my hand out to block her, saying something like, ‘Hey, you can’t push in like that, it’s not your turn’. The girl’s mother (who was kneeling next to the other seat – I think it must have been one of her other children playing the game at the other console) stood up and shouted at me, ‘She was there first – that’s her seat’.
‘No it’s not’, says me, ‘we were next in line and she needs to wait her turn’.
‘But she was there before, so she’s entitled to have her seat back’, says the mother.
‘No, the other little girl was in the seat and when she got up, it’s our turn. If your daughter was in the seat before that girl, she’s obviously given up her place and she can’t just grab it back when she feels like it, especially when there’s someone else waiting to play’.
Here’s the kicker – she says, ‘Anyone with a shred of decency would let her have her seat back’.
‘No, your daughter gave her seat up and C (my niece) is next in line’. So C plays her computer game and, when she’s finished, we get up and go, having been subjected to all manner of huffs and puffs and black looks from the other mother. I didn’t see what happened after we left – that’s someone else’s problem.
I know it was uncomfortable to both girls to have adults squabbling like that, but I wasn’t prepared to back down – it was the principle of it. I feel a bit ashamed to, firstly have behaved like that in front of children, and secondly, like a bit of a Grinch to have shut the other girl out.
I told my sister about it (she was in another room with her older daughter at the time) and she said ‘Why would she assume her daughter was more important than mine?’ which really did sum up the whole situation, but I’m still a bit uncomfortable. 1002-13