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To not want to babysit a stranger's child on a train journey?

(42 Posts)
madamedesevigne Mon 31-Aug-15 18:01:53

I was on a train earlier today, a man got on with three young children. He sat down with his two younger children (one was a baby, the other a little older- about three) and the eldest child, a girl, walked up the aisle a bit and asked to sit next to me, and started chatting, she wanted to know how my bag fastening worked, so I showed her, expecting that her dad would call her to come back and sit with him.

Except...he didn't. And then she asked if I had things to draw with, so I got out a pen and some paper and helped her draw stuff, all the time desperately trying to catch her dad's eye for him to call her away. He made eye contact with me s couple of times but didn't do anything. She was a very nice little girl and I didn't want to upset her but at the same time I just wanted some peace and quiet on my train journey and not to be used as free babysitting by someone I don't even know. Then her little brother wanted to join in and started crying when she wouldn't let him. Finally, she started wanting to go through my handbag and play with my phone, headphones etc (I told her no) but I just couldn't take any more so I pretended I had to get off the train but just moved carriages instead.

AIBU or is this very strange behaviour on the part of the dad?

madamedesevigne Mon 31-Aug-15 18:05:53

All in all, she was sitting with me for about 30-40 minutes, if that makes a difference!

TeamBacon Mon 31-Aug-15 18:10:00

Erm you should have just told her to go and sit with her Dad...

But yeah, he should have called her back over.

XCChamps Mon 31-Aug-15 18:10:47

I think if you voluntarily got out pen and paper and appeared to be happily drawing with her, her father probably thought you were as happy with the situation as she was.

My DGM would have loved the distraction on a long train journey. I would have kept my head in my book and they would have both got the message grin

DonkeyOaty Mon 31-Aug-15 18:11:13

You say "no poppet, nothing to draw with, off you go back to Daddy" and swish the child back. You didn't swish so Daddy thought you were cool with it.

Can I say you were v kind, which is underrated nowadays.

OurBlanche Mon 31-Aug-15 18:13:33

Oh yes! You should have swished immediately!

It is your own fault you got stuck with her. You were far too nice. You need a better self defence system smile

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Mon 31-Aug-15 18:15:28

wow a whole half an hour of your precious time!!

I thought you were going to say she'd been with you from Aberdeen to Penzance!

I say YABU for that short length of time.

madamedesevigne Mon 31-Aug-15 18:16:27

I need to work on my assertiveness, I think, I would have felt really mean telling her to go back to her dad but I probably should have done. It was nice to talk to her anyway, till it all got a bit too much for me! And I discovered a hitherto unknown talent for drawing naughty rabbits. She was pulling faces to show me how a naughty rabbit should look smile

FadedRed Mon 31-Aug-15 18:18:22

Agree with pp's that you could have easily sent her back to daddy without 'upsetting her'. You gave him the impression you didn't mind, so he was probably quite grateful for your help. Unlikely he was able to read your mind.

Pseudo341 Mon 31-Aug-15 18:18:42

He should have said something. You could always have said "no it's fine, she's not bothering me" if you wanted to carry on but he should have given you that option. Tactically though, don't ever admit to having paper and pencil again.

Mrsmorton Mon 31-Aug-15 18:20:28

I did this last year with 2 children who were kicking off. Let them draw on my iPad from Newcastle to London. I wasn't believed on here, the 2 mums slept whilst I did it but tbh, letting the sticky fingered gremlins smear my iPad with whatever was preferable to listening to them scream...

Some pearl clutchers on that train I can tell you!!

madamedesevigne Mon 31-Aug-15 18:21:14

Yeah, I think he ought to have checked with me if it was ok and given me the option rather than assuming it was ok- also he made eye contact with me a couple of times and I don't see how anyone could have misunderstood the look I gave him! I'll know for next time to deny all knowledge of drawing materials.

Rowgtfc72 Mon 31-Aug-15 18:26:38

I was on a crowded bus once when a couple got on with four kids,a buggy and loads of bags. I offered to hold the baby whilst they got sorted so they went about two rows back with the other kids on their knees. I turned round to see where they where and she came back with the baby's bottle and with a smile said do you mind?! I was gobsmacked!

horsewalksintoabar Mon 31-Aug-15 18:28:41

I have 3 kids and I'd rather curl up and die than let them bother some stranger! My close friend's boy, a boy I've known for years, since he was in his mama's womb, goes through my bag and things while I chat with his mum and I can't stand it! The dad on that train took the p***! There's socialising your kids and then there's just plain old taking the mick. We all love our kids and think they're the greatest people in the world. Of course we should feel this way without expecting others to.

XCChamps Mon 31-Aug-15 18:29:46

In a perfect world, a stranger on a train drawing with a child and another helping a harassed mum by feeding the baby on the bus would be normal. It takes a village.....

It would also be fine to reprimand another parent's child and offer snacks to children other than your own grin

Not going to happen and I'm not going to volunteer for either job though.

AuntyMag10 Mon 31-Aug-15 18:49:04

You acted like you were interested in her and encouraged her, so the dad probably thought you enjoyed entertaining her.its only You that allowed this to carry on for 40 mins.

featherandblack Mon 31-Aug-15 19:33:14

Can't you see it as a gift? On both sides?

Koalafications Mon 31-Aug-15 19:38:38

Was it a busy train? Was the seat next to you one of the only ones left?

ConfusedInBath Mon 31-Aug-15 19:40:12

I wouldn't have swished her away. Or felt the need to.

40 minutes of your life given to a very nice little girl.

ConfusedInBath Mon 31-Aug-15 19:43:33

Circumstances in my life right now are teaching me not to judge.

We don't know the full story. There might be a very good reason why that man was on the train with 3 young children and why that little girl sought some company.
You may have made her day. Perhaps take that angle OP?

Osolea Mon 31-Aug-15 19:44:19

YANBU. Her parent should have called her away, and only let her stay if you insisted it was ok.

You shouldn't have been put in the position where you either have to put up with it or 'swish' her away. I think the father was incredibly rude.

ChickenTikkaMassala Mon 31-Aug-15 19:45:39

I think you were very kind OP.

madamedesevigne Mon 31-Aug-15 19:46:24

No, it wasn't a very busy train, there were quite a few spare seats. It's a nice idea to think of it as a gift on both sides and I did enjoy her company up to a point - I'm just not really a child-orientated person and I like my own space to think and read on a train journey. And when her brother came over and wanted to join in I just couldn't deal with it at all!

Osolea Mon 31-Aug-15 19:46:34

I kind of agree with you swoosh, but its the same kind of thinking that should make a parent think that as they have no idea of what's going on in a complete strangers life at that time, then they shouldn't allow their child to sit with them unless they have checked it's ok.

Osolea Mon 31-Aug-15 19:47:44

Oops, I meant confused! Clearly I an confused and still have the swooshy thing in my head!

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