So, this happened.
Pete and I took PJ to a favorite spot of ours, the Garden State Discovery Museum. It's a huge building filled with kid-friendly, interactive exhibits the includes a mini-Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey rink, a newsroom with a working camera, news desk, and a blue-screen weather report station, a construction site where little builders can help build a house, and many other fun stations! There is even a special, gated-in area for toddlers and crawlers to explore!
We were in this area following PJ as he raced from the playhouse to the two-story barn to the ball pit! Since the area is specifically for smaller children, we can usually allow PJ to race about to his hearts content while we trail close behind him. For the most part, even if there is an older child hanging out while a younger sibling gets a turn to play, parents and caretakers make sure the tenor of the room matches the needs of the toddlers.
An older child was playing in this area. He was running around in circles- down the slide, through the room, up the stairs and back down the slide. The woman who he came in with was sitting disinterestedly on a bench, not watching. Coming of the slide, the kid lept up and began to race away and ran smack into PJ, knocking him to the ground. The kid kept running without missing a beat and PJ, scared to death, started to cry. He was fine, just scared. Accidents happen, no big deal. Still, as the caretaker of the older child, do you
A. apologize and take your child to an area more appropriate for someone his age?
B. Stay, but remind your child gently that this is really an area for younger children and that he should slow down a bit? Or
C. Ignore your still-racing child, the crying baby, and the annoyed parents of the crying baby and stare into space like nothing is happening?
The adult with the child chose option C, which kind of blew my mind. I wasn't upset so much about PJ being knocked over. The place is teeming with kids and accidents are bound to happen. I just don't understand when people do not watch the children in their care. The kid in question was a lot bigger then PJ and was going at full-tilt when he ran into him. There was a huge museum with areas appropriate for a kid his age- he should not have been there in the first place. Still, knowing the adult he was with had at the very least reminded him to be careful of the babies and not run would have made me feel a little better.
I understand that there are many different styles of parenting/child care. What do you think? What would you have done in our place? What would you have done if you were the parent of the older child?