Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rant: Stranger Danger

I haven't publicly ranted in a while, so here goes.
I know very few men/boys that enjoy crafty stores. This goes for nearly-two-year-olds as well. And since in the past two weeks, I've dragged them to Hobby Lobby and Michael's about 6 times for various project supplies, the crazies have had their fill. This is a picture of them much younger, having their fill of picture taking. Is it sad that I love this picture? Ah, the things we do to our kids.

OK. Back to the rant. Just imagine it: my traveling circus requires two shopping carts, so I push one and pull one behind me. I've actually gotten pretty good at this but it's always awkward getting though crowded aisles and around corners. The boys will grab, throw, eat, smash, and destroy anything within arms reach so I have to be very strategic while browsing. (The double stroller is on hiatus--they fight too much. Hair pulling, head butting, pinching, you name it. They are MUCH happier having their own rides).

Typically I keep them entertained by dispensing a variety of snacks (which they grab, throw, eat, smash, and destroy). So I'm constantly monitoring the mess trail, fetching dropped items, dodging the hurled sippy cups, replacing snatched beads, stickers, or whatever else they've scored --all while trying to find what I've come for. Now imagine me in a full-blown sweat after precisely 7 minutes of this--or don't, that's kind of gross.

But after my latest journey through Hobby Lobby, I was waiting at the check out revelling
in the success of our miraculous trip. No crying, no fighting, and minimal effort to entertain them.

I have to digress to point out a few things quickly. First of all, you must understand how OBSESSED Avery is with balls--he lives and breathes to play basketball. From the minute he wakes up to the minute before bed, he is playing "shoot it" with one of his 65 balls. Secondly, I am NOT one of those parents who thinks their kids are cute when they are doing annoying or obnoxious things, and then they want everyone around to notice or acknowledge the kid (this drives me crazy!) I am speedy to attend to obnoxious behavior, distract, or divert the craziness as best as possible.

Ok. Now I can continue. So I'm revelling. The checker is ringing up my junk and I'm digging through my bag full of regurgitated goldfish, used wipes, half eaten granola bars, etc. to find my wallet. Avery notices a HUGE display of Easter baskets full of soccer and basketballs. These baskets are seriously life-sized to the kid. He begins loudly saying "Ball, ball, ball" over and over again. "Yes, that's a ball. Wow. I see that. How many are there?" I say trying to distract him from his Rain Man-like "Ball" rant. But Rain Man continues and so I ignore. He's just excited and they are both BEING GOOD for once, so I pick my battles and ignore the babbling.

That is, until I'm startled by a loud, abrupt "SHUSH," and I quickly look up to see an obviously cranky older woman about a foot from his face. (She and a friend were checking out at the register behind me, so we were back to back before this). It takes me a minute to figure out if she is playing with him, you know, trying to be cute with him. Nope. She actually barked the shush, if that makes sense. The shock and horror must have shown on my face because then she says to me in a snotty way, "Well, it worked."

Well congrats, lady. You shut up a little kid excited about his favorite thing in the world by scaring him to death and WAY overstepping the acceptable standards of stranger to baby contact. About 13 possible ways to react ran threw my head in the probably 10 seconds after this happened. I was still trying to finish paying and gathering my purchases, but I kept dealing with the urge to turn around and offer an equally inappropriate "shush" in her face as she was discussing rhinestones with her probably equally cranky friend. (I'm not bitter...heehee).

But I resisted. I think I probably bugged her way more, in a way more fiendish way. I chose #7 of the 13 possible reactions and leaned down to Avery and whispered, "Look Avery. Look at all those balls over there!" HA! Now just imagine, even louder than before,"Balls, balls, balls, balls." I had to smile to myself as I wheeled out with Aidan and Rain Man.


Andrea said...

Such great pictures with this post! I love it. Especially the one of the boys screaming. And Rain Man. And the grumpy lady - even better than the picture I had in my head. OK. I love them all.

And I seriously cannot believe the lack of tact that so many people have. The fact that they will not only think the obnoxious, inappropriate things - but that they will say them out loud!

Kimball & Marianne Larsen said...

I've decided that old people have just forgotten what it's like to have kids and therefore like to be ornery to all the mothers out there by telling them how they should be raising their own.

Seriously, "Butt out!" I'm sure that was option #3 or 4 going through your head.

Again, a great read.

Laura said...

It's true. Usually people are VERY understanding when they see kids struggling in a store. Especially the twins--for some reason people still get a kick out of the fact they look NOTHING alike. So we chat about that and they end up distracting them for me. I would've been less shocked if she would've just been loud or rude, but it seemed like she invaded our space a bit. Oh well. I'm over it.