My 3 year old charge, C, and I do a playdate every Friday afternoon with his best friend from nursery, A. We go to her house after nursery and stay until after dinner.
They love each other, I get on well with A’s nanny, and C adores her big brother and sister who have dinner with us when they get home from school. It’s a nice relaxing afternoon at the end of a long week.
Except when A’s mum decides to come home early and join us for dinner, as she did last week.
She breezed in, trilling “MUMMY’S HOME!!” and, dumping her bags, coat, and half-full coffee cup in a heap on the floor, made her way to the table where the four children were sitting and eating nicely and quietly.
She said hi to me and C, then turned to her children. “MUMMY’S GOT PRESENTS FOR YOOOUUUU!!”
She gave her kids each a wrapped gift and a bag of sweets, which they obviously immediately abandoned their meals for with shrieks of delight.
I looked over at C, and he was looking at me uncertainly. “Is there one for me?” he asked quietly.
I’m not going to lie, my heart broke a bit for him.
HE’S THREE YEARS OLD.
This kid never asks for anything. He’s generous, he loves giving gifts, and he’s as good as a preschooler can be at sharing. He didn’t make a fuss when I told him there wasn’t a gift for him. But he’s three years old, he didn’t understand why he was being left out, and he looked absolutely crushed.
A’s mum heard him and said “Oh, I’m sorry C. These are just treats for my babies because I missed them today. Let me get you a cupcake.” Her kids immediately started shouting they they wanted cake too, and of course they got some.
It was time to leave after that, and as we left A’s nanny gave him a sticker for “Being so awesome today” He was fine, happy to get a sticker, and probably doesn’t even remember the incident now, three days later.
But A’s nanny brought it up with me this morning, and we both said that it had bothered us. I can’t really figure out why this got to me so much. I know that kids have to learn that it’s not all about them, and that sometimes other people will get things that they won’t, but this just seemed so mean.
We always visit on Fridays, and we always leave right after dinner. A’s mum knows that.
I’m not saying that she should have bought my charge a gift, but would it have killed her to wait 15 minutes before she gave her kids the presents?
Would it be ridiculous of me to buy him a present today? Just like a cookie or a little toy car something. I feel an urge to spoil him this afternoon.