I'm about 90% sure that two older children were hitting my two-year-old in the Chick-Fil-A play area today. She came out of a tunnel or slide crying twice, and the older children hid while I comforted her. My daughter doesn't generally cry unless she's hurt or throwing a tantrum, and this definitely wasn't tantrum crying. Then she was acting like she was afraid to go back in the playground until the older children left. On the way out, one of them shook his fist at her.
I couldn't very well yell at these kids; they're not mine, and I didn't actually see it happening. And when their mother showed up to take them home, I didn't want to bring it up with her. After all, I don't want to be one of those parents, whose children are always perfect angels while other children are always monsters. There was, after all, a chance that I'd be blaming innocent kids for a couple of totally accidental bumps or trips.
Still, as I held her, her tears soaking into my shoulder, I couldn't shake the feeling I was somehow failing her as a parent. My sweet little girl had been treated unjustly, and I wasn't doing a damn thing about it. I could only stroke her head and tell her that it would be okay.