To the Person My Child Is Staring At
This is to you, the parent of a small child at a soft play center we visited today. You were with your friends all enjoying a natter and a cup of tea while watching your small children play.
I’m sorry my daughter was staring at you.
I’m sorry she stood so close.
I’m also sorry that instead of leaving you to it after having stared at you once, she came back time and time again and stood there not speaking, but staring once again.
My child is inquisitive, curious and interested.
She’s a puzzle of a million pieces that have no edges, no limits, left open for the world to add too, making it a trickery of games.
She’s exhausted and frustrated. She’s confused and puddled. Her mind is like a thousand intertwining rivers, bending like the Mississippi, her thoughts swimming up stream, her mind tiring with each twist and turn the processing takes.
She wanted to speak to you, she wanted to tell you how cute your baby was, she wanted to ask his name, she wondered why he was crying and screaming. And she almost certainly wanted to give him a cuddle and say hello to your beautiful baby boy.
She is not weird. She is interested.
Most of all, though, I am sorry for not being sorry for all those things. The only thing I’m actually sorry for is your attitude.
I’m sorry you felt compelled to raise your eyebrows at your friend and direct them to my child. I’m sorry you had to nudge your other friend and practically point at my child to show her she was staring. Yes, we all saw her, even your friends.
I’m also sorry no one ever taught you how to talk to small children. I’m sorry you were taught to judge small children because they “look” different.
She’s just 6. She isn’t going to bite off your arm.
Next time, set an example. Say hi, and ask her name. If she’s having fun, she may not answer you. She may run off, she may be surprised at the sudden interaction. But at least you’d be leading by example. Maybe you could also kindly teach your own children it’s nice to be nice.
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