The "Play Date from Hell" started like any other “play date” usually does. You’re in a park or playground with you son or daughter just pushing them on that black-seated swing. They’re laughing away with their little legs kicking back in forth having another wonderful day. And there’s that woman next to you again with that big straw hat. You have seen her about three times so far and yet have never spoke. You have your “nanny” radar on and so far so good. Time to move on this, looks like the mom.
“Oh, so how old is your daughter?” “Well, she just turned three on August 14.” So far, so good, no corrections yet about her not being the mother.
“Are you from New York?” “Oh, me too,” “What’s her name?” “Oh, she has such beautiful blonde hair”. Now, for the big one as your leaving. “Here, let me give you my number, maybe the kids can get together one day.” She smiles and gives you her number too. "Mission accomplished" is all you say to yourself as you push open the heavy metal gate of the playground.
And just like any other date, you still wonder if they’re going to call. Everyone is just so polite nowadays, and you wouldn’t expect them to crumple up your phone number right in front of your face now would you?
And then one day the phone finally rings. “Hi, this is “………” from the playground, we met the other day.” “Sure that sounds great” “I’ll see you then.” Oh, coffee or tea, what should I make? Now, which toys have that lead based paint? Better hide the “Little Princess” stuff. I know he’s only “experimenting” but she doesn’t. Ok, good, NPR as back-round noise. The doorbell rings, and there she is. “Hi, so nice to see you” “Oh, she’s so beautiful.”
Now my wife is a stay at home mom and has always been a pretty good disciplinarian with our son. No beatings or anything like that, just right from wrong, stand in the corner, 1, 2, 3, so on and so on. And let me tell you, it all works. He’s eight years old now and hasn’t spit at his teacher since pre-school.
And then it started, just like that.
The wooden spoon just struck the back of my sons little three-year-old head. The blonde girl just laughed after she did it. My wife just sat there thinking the lady in the big straw hat would say something. Hoping in some way she would tell her daughter not to do it again. “Oh, is he having a bad day?” said the lady in the straw hat. Is this woman totally insane? Your little blonde haired daughter just whacked my kid on the head with a wooden spoon, he’s crying and you’re asking my wife if “he’s having a bad day?” My wife gently confiscated the wooden spoon from the little blonde girl. She then started crying. “Oh, Virginia, I think she wants the spoon back” said the lady with the straw hat. My wife gave the spoon back to the little blonde girl. “Now no hitting,” said my wife. “Oh, you don’t have to tell her that, she knows not to hit.”
And it just continued…………..
My son spent most of the “play date” trying to protect himself from the little blonde girl. The mother was just totally oblivious to anything her daughter did, yet totally tuned in to my sons crying after he would get whacked by the spoon.
“Oh, Andres, I’m sorry, are you having a bad day?” said the lady with the big straw hat.
Now, my son was pretty verbal as a three year old, you know the third adult syndrome, blah, blah, blah.
And here it comes, those moments in life that you never forget. The ones you tell your kids about when they’re older.
The lady with the big straw hat stood by the front doorway with her blonde demonic child in the stroller. She just looked at my son and said “I hope the next time we visit you’re not having such a “bad day”
With that my three-year-old son just looked at her and said, “YOU ARE A STUPID WOMAN”.
The gasp could be heard around the world. The woman with the big straw hat just looked at my son frozen. My wife and I did our best to make Andres apologize for his remark, although we knew he just said what we were thinking all throughout the play date. My wife did her best to avoid the woman with the big straw hat form that day on. Carefully surveying the playground before she opened the heavy black gate day after day. It was just that bad.
We don’t know what happened to the lady with the big straw hat and her daughter, she never called us and we never called her. It was Brooklyn justice, plain and simple. But like all good "Kensington Stories", they all start somewhere.