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If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away, Part 2

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 14, 2022

I previously posted a story about how I got harassed for the audacity of being male while watching my friend’s child for her. The man who harassed me would often send his son to “investigate” me after that incident because he never seemed to accept that a man could actually care about kids and like spending time with them.

This story happened about a year after the last one. It was Halloween and I’d offered to take my friend’s kids trick-or-treating since their mother wouldn’t be able to; she had certain chronic health issues that could limit her physical activity. I had both of her sons outside already dressed for trick-or-treating, but we were waiting for their older teenaged sister who was tagging along despite being a bit old to trick-or-treat. As we waited outside, the son of the man who harassed me ran up to visit with the boys I was watching.

The son was acting normally this time, with none of the stilted and obviously forced asking of questions I saw when he was sent as a proxy of his father, so I assumed he was coming of his own volition this time to visit the boys. He was dressed up as a martial artist, and after chatting with the kids for a bit, he got excited and started mock-fighting them.  

At first, I was fine with some harmless mock-fighting, but the kid was getting too worked up and out of control. The odds of his actually hurting someone unintentionally were increasing, and my kids didn’t seem to be enjoying it anymore. I cautioned him that he should stop being so forceful, but he was too excited and didn’t heed my warning. Before anyone condemns this kid too much, I don’t think he was malicious, and I consider this sort of not being good at curtailing your play to be pretty common with kids that age; he wasn’t a terrible kid, just an overly-excited one.

I’m pretty used to getting tag-along kids wanting to join in with the play whatever kids I’m watching are doing, so I have some experience with trying to control and regulate play with kids that I don’t know well, but that doesn’t make it easy. Even in the best of cases, there is always a chance a parent will get offended if you try to tell their kid to do, or not do, something, and I already knew this kid’s father thought I was secretly a pedophile, so I doubted I’d be getting the benefit of the doubt there. So, rather than trying to force the kid to stop playing, I decided it was safer to redirect him.

I should mention now that I have first dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That isn’t too impressive since it’s only first dan and was from a tiny McDojo; I’m quite certain if I ever ended up in a real fight I’d still get my butt handed to me despite the black belt. However, it was a good excuse to distract the kid by first mentioning I was a black belt and then “challenging” him to a fight. He flared at me with even less control then he had with the boys, but I had enough sparring experience to at least be able to avoid the uncontrolled “attacks” of a hyper little kid easily enough. I’d throw the occasional mock kicks back at him, and he was safely entertained without any risk of a kid being hurt. I considered this a successful handling of the situation.

I’m sure everyone can guess what happened next. Lo and behold, the father belatedly showed up. 

Father: “What are you doing?! Get away from him!”

Me: “We are waiting to go trick-or-treating. Your son is the one who approached us.”

Father: “Why are you playing with him?”

Me: “Because I was worried he would hurt the boys with the way he was playing, so I distracted him.”

Father: “I didn’t say you could play with him!”

At some point during this exchange, my friend’s boys’ older sister had come outside; I honestly didn’t notice when. She now spoke up with the sort of sarcastic disdain that only a teenager can manage, ramped up to eleven.

Older Sister: “And we didn’t say [Kid] could kick my brothers. If you don’t want him playing with strangers, maybe you should be watching him better.”

Man: “Where’s your mother?!”

Older Sister: “In her room. I’m not getting her for you again. We are going trick-or-treating now.”

Man: “What? I didn’t—”

Me: “Sorry, but we are going to be late for trick-or-treating. Now that everyone’s ready, let’s go to the car, kids.”

Man: “You’re taking them without their mom?”

Older Sister: “Yes, like she said he could because she trusts him to, because he is good at taking care of my brothers, and we like him. You take care of your kid, and let us take care of my brothers.”

He tried a few more lame attempts to get me to answer his questions, but his righteous anger seemed to have been deflated by now, so I mostly brushed him off by intentionally ignoring the implied question behind what he was saying and giving him polite non-answers for the minute it took for me to get the kids in the car.

During that car ride, I learned that, apparently, this man had shown up at least twice to ask their mom about “the strange man” who was with her kids, and her daughter had grown quite annoyed with him after listening in on one of those conversations. Everyone in the household, minus the youngest kid who was too young to fully understand what was happening, was pretty much in agreement that he was an idiot and they weren’t going to put up with him anymore.

If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away

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