Yesterday we took our kids to an aquarium. There is a penguin exhibit in which the kids can crawl on their hands and knees through a u-shaped plexiglass tube that leads to an enclosed plexiglass bubble (the bubble is in the bend of the "u") within the penguin habitat. So they can really see the penguins up close. Meanwhile, the parents stand on the other side of the glass enclosing the habitat and we can see the kids crawling through the tube.
Our DD, 8, led her brother, 4, through the tube and despite the fact that it was busy, all of the kids were waiting patiently and taking turns. Until the Pushersons showed up. There was a boy, bigger and older than DD, probably 11-2, a boy around 7 and another boy around 6. They were all in the same family. They literally crawled over other kids in the tube, shoving smaller kids out of the way and generally being too rough. The parents had to stand by and watch because there was no way for us to get to or redirect the kids in what amounted to a human sized hamster habit surrounded by penguins and glass.
The oldest boy shoved him and DS whacked his head against the glass hard. The oldest boy then put both hands on DD's behind and SHOVED her forward. And while he not have meant it in "that way," it seemed awfully convenient that he decided to put his hands on her behind. Meanwhile, the younger son just crawled over them all.
After seeing DS shoved and feeling two hands on her behind, DD turned (as quickly as she could in the tube) and grabbed the offending boy's hand, which was still clamped on her leg. Using something her karate instructor showed her, she put a wristlock on him that put pressure on his joint. Oldest boy dropped to the floor, calling DD some very rude names (I found out later) while telling her to let go. DD told me she told DS to get out of the tube and get to Mommy, but DS was too distracted, crying about his injured head, to crawl out. The other two boys took exception to a girl dropping their brother to the floor and jumped on her, knocking DS against the glass again.
Needless to say, it was chaos. I ran to the other end of the tube and yelled, "EVERYBODY GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF EACH OTHER AND GET OUT OF THE TUBE, NOW!!" in my scariest mom voice.
DS and DD came scrambling out. The Pusherson boys came out, yelling that DD hurt each of them. The oldest boy was yelling about his wrist hurting. DS was crying about his head hurting. DD was prepared for further battle in defense of her behind and her brother. DH was desperately looking for an aquarium staff member while I tried to keep everybody separated.
A woman, who seemed to be the Pusherson boys' mother, came over and said, "Hey, you can't yell at my kids!" An aquarium staff member finally came over and asked what happened. Mrs. Pusherson accused DD of attacking her boys without provocation. She went on and on about how rude I was by yelling at her sons and how awful DD was. Several people - whose children were also shoved around- backed up my version of events. The staff asked the Pushersons to stay with them while we were free to go. We ended up leaving the aquarium because we didn't want to see them again.
Yes, it was super-rude of me to yell when your children are marauding through the penguin tube.
P.S. While I am proud of DD for defending her brother and her person, I am a little worried about her going from zero to Chuck Norris so easily. However, I don't want to tell her she was wrong for reacting that way when someone put his hands on her like that. So we're going to run the scenario past her karate instructor and ask him if there was a better way to handle it.