Quickie: Was I wrong?

I took Owen to our neighborhood playground before a coffee/Target run.

*screeching record sound* 

Hold on. Let me start again, and this time…without such a #basicmom statement. 

I took Owen to our neighborhood playground because it was such a beautiful fall day. 

 The weapon.

The weapon.

Sigh. I obviously can’t do it. I’ll just get to the point. 

Instead of gravel, the playground has those bits of dyed rubber mulch. It’s nice, because it’s soft if a kid takes a tumble, and it’s actually pretty fun to run on. I would totally take up running on rubber mulch. Anyway, Owen picked up a bunch of it and tossed it on a piece of playground equipment.

I told him, “no, don’t do that — leave it on the ground” and he dropped it and continued playing. Then, a boy a little older than Owen but not more than 3, came over and — much to my disappointment and embarrassment — Owen picked up a fistful of rubber mulch and tossed it in the boy’s direction. None of it hit the boy, but it was Owen’s intention. I immediately addressed him and told him no - it’s not nice, etc. and then we walked over to the boy and Owen said, “I sarr” which is “I’m sorry” in Owenese.

The boy’s guardian at the playground was an older man who I’m assuming is his grandfather, and he sat on a bench at the far end of the playground  the entire time, silently and very statue-like. He seemed asleep, honestly - but I threw him an “I’m so sorry” for Owen throwing the munch. No response.

All went back to normal until 5-10 minutes later and the little boy came back over and threw mulch on Owen. Three times. The first time I sort of brushed it off like, ‘well, we’re even, I guess.’ The second time I moved Owen away from him and looked to see where the boy’s maybe-grandfather was (still possibly asleep), and the third time the mulch actually hit Owen’s face.

”No! That’s not nice, don’t do that...” I said to the boy — firmly but compassionately. I mean, he’s a kid. And my kid started it. I felt awful. I know you’re not “supposed” to discipline other people’s kids but his guardian was not doing a good job at guardianing. (Yes, I know that’s not a word)

So, my questions are: Was I wrong for saying something directly to the child? What should I have done differently, if anything at all? Was I being overprotective? Is it ever okay to address someone’s child directly in a situation like this?