Playgroups are great places for mothers and their children. The mothers get to sit down for an hour or so, chat to other mothers, observe the toddler pecking order, and have a cup of tea and a biscuit. The kids get to run amok, throw their cups of squash in the faces of other kids, and bash them over the head with metal and wooden toys. My son wasn’t particularly aggressive or disruptive back then but every so often I had to wade in to sort out some minor fracas, usually relating to sharing of premium toys. I couldn’t understand why my son wouldn’t say sorry to other children when prompted. When I mentioned it to our health visitor she told me it was simply because he didn’t feel sorry. We should have seen the writing on the wall then – the rejection of social codes aged 2!
Recently, we had an 8-year-old guest staying with us who complained to my son that he had poured himself a very large glass of juice at breakfast, leaving nothing for anyone else. Did he manage to offer a token apology now that he’s 13? No way. He just looked at her pityingly and said “It’s called survival of the fittest, Chloe. Have you heard of that?”.