Trade Fair

>> Monday, 24 May 2010

Boy #1 had a playdate (I know, I know, I hate the expression too but it does do what it says on the tin...) this afternoon. I'm not sure what he and his classmate have in common other than a shared obsession with Bakugan (see photo above - taken by Boy #1 - if you have no idea what these are), but their friendship works, so when he asked if he could have Friend S over today I agreed.

I had envisaged an couple of hours of loud voices (theirs, not mine), making - and tidying away - sandwiches, clearing up spilt drinks, and watching the two of them and Boy #2 chasing each other around the place.

What I hadn't envisaged was becoming Police Officer Mummy.

Unfortunately this is not the reference to a cops and robbers game that it might first appear. To put the following in context, as a relatively new arrival to Russia, a lot of Boy #1's toys are still not readily available here, and as such are objects of desire for other children.

So Police Officer Mummy is more of a reference to overhearing Friend S demanding that Boy #1 give him (not share, lend or trade) one of his treasured Ben 10 figurines. I hung back for a few minutes until it became clear that my son, whilst unwilling to part with his toy, was wilting under the onslaught of insistent demands, and then jumped in. I pointed out that this toy had been a birthday present to Boy #1 from his younger brother. I then pointed out that it was OK for Friend S to ask to borrow it, and that it was OK for him to ask to play with it whilst visiting. It was even OK for him to ask if Boy #1 wanted to trade his desirable figurine for something in Friend S's possession. But just asking for it?

I'm ashamed to admit that my inner Oldest Child -the one with issues about ownership -couldn't allow it.

Well, whatever my reasoning, Boy #1 looked very relieved, and Friend S backed off. He didn't really want it, he said.

But 5 minutes later I overheard him saying to Boy #1 "Come and hide under the stairs with me. There's something I want to talk to you about and I don't want your mum to hear..."

Question; what would you have done at this stage? Would you have walked away and let your son get on with it, working out how to fight his own battles, and probably losing custody of one of his beloved Ben 10 figurines in the process?

Or, would you have called out from the kitchen "You know, when I hear someone saying that 'I don't want your mum to hear' about something, I immediately start to wonder what that something might be..."

There was no loan or trade. Boy #1 was happily playing with said figurine this evening. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about which of the two routes above I took, but I wonder, what would you have done?


Paradise Lost In Translation 24 May 2010 at 20:24  

Oh you sound just like me! I would have definitely done what I am sure you did! not sure if it's the bossy sister in me, the teacher, friend of the under dog or person with an overdeveloped sense of justice, but I do invariably wade in, even in the playground with other children etc. (I don't do it on buses anymore, bit too trapped in that situ!) Good for you:o)

dulwich divorcee 24 May 2010 at 21:09  

Arg! My comment has just been swallowed up! Suffice to say I am with you eavesdropping outside the cupboard!

Lisa 24 May 2010 at 23:02  

I'd have probably told Friend S to be very careful as the last friend that went into the cupboard was never seen again!

nappy valley girl 25 May 2010 at 00:06  

I would have waded in, definitely. (But I probably wouldn't have needed to, as both Littleboys are ferociously possessive of their toys......)

Nappy Valley Housewife 25 May 2010 at 10:03  

As for the cupboard bit, I might have called out to them, pretending not to hear the secret plan. I would have said something like, 'Who is brave enough to enter this cupboard---I think I saw a furry rodent scurry inside--and I need someone to catch it!'

Potty Mummy 25 May 2010 at 11:33  

Paradise, yes, that's me too. Must learn to keep my nose OUT!

DD, actually it wasn't a cupboard (we have an open staircase) so technically (technically) I wasn't eavesdropping....

Lisa - good suggestion - will use that if it ever happens again!

NVG, good plan except it's not a cupboard, sadly (oh, for the storage!)

London City Mum 25 May 2010 at 11:50  

Am far more basic in my methods.

I just stand over the 'friend' and say "Ask (insert your child's name) what his/her mummy looks like when she is very very angry..." And leave it at that.

It usually works, and funnily enough the playmate behaves impeccably for he duration of their visit.

Oh, and did I mention that I have fangs and walk around with a permanent scowl on my face? Am sure that has nothing to do with it though.


Muddling Along Mummy 25 May 2010 at 12:03  

LCM - love the very angry idea, making a mental note of that!

Pottski - I'm with you, if you say its something you don't want me to hear I'm going to charge in there and make sure I do hear

I wade me, more because Toddlergirl doesn't realise at the time what is going on and I don't want other children to think they can walk over her (this is probably my issue not hers)

Belgravia wife - sort of 25 May 2010 at 15:03  

Oh right in there, no question. Forgive me but boy 1 is a poppet and his little playmate sounds, erm, not like a poppet. In ten or so years time, different conversation xxx

Expat mum 25 May 2010 at 15:22  

Ooh, this brings out the passive aggressive in me, I have to say. My daughter had a lot of friends like this and although I probably should have stepped back and tried to make her fight her own battles, I used to jump in with things like, "The conversation about having X is over, so if that's what your plan is, let's think of something else to talk about."

Nora 25 May 2010 at 15:49  

I would have done the same thing, PM. There has to be justice in the world, even for little kids who get bullied by other little kids.

Mwa 26 May 2010 at 08:28  

I am also an oldest child, so you know what I would have done...

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