I was watching my two kids play at an indoor playground when my daughter rushed up to me.
“Mum, that girl in the yellow t-shirt just hit me in the head!”
I looked around. There were a few other mothers nearby, but none of them reacted to what my daughter had yelled out. It didn’t seem like the other girl’s mother was there.
“Maybe it was just an accident?” I suggested.
My daughter didn’t look too badly hurt. She eventually went back to play.
A few minutes later she came rushing up to me again.
“Mum, that girl in the yellow t-shirt just hit me in the head again!”
This time my daughter had a big red mark on her forehead. I took a look at the girl who had hit her. She was solidly built.
“Excuse me,” I said loudly to the other mothers. “Is anyone here the mother of the girl in the yellow t-shirt?”
One of the women sighed, in a “here we go again” way.
“She’s over there,” she said, pointing to a group of women chatting some distance away.
I approached the mother of the girl in the yellow t-shirt, and informed her, politely, that her daughter had hit my daughter, twice.
“Oh,” she said, not sounding shocked or questioning my accusation. “I’ll get her to say sorry.”
Indoor playgrounds. Fun till someone gets hit in the head. Photo via iStock.
I felt relieved. I didn't want a scene. I just wanted an apology for my daughter, to help put things right again in her world. I wanted her to understand that what had just happened was not normal, not acceptable. I didn't want her to think that anytime she went to a playground, someone might walk up to her, hit her and walk off again. Twice.
Despite her mother's encouragement, the girl in the yellow t-shirt didn't apologise.
"Say sorry!" my daughter pleaded, getting upset.
"Well, if you'd just back off, she might do it!" the other woman snapped at my daughter. Then she turned to me and announced, in a voice to end all arguments, "My daughter is autistic."
"Well, so is my daughter," I replied, "and she doesn't like being hit in the head, either."