Well, I guess it's confession time here. When I first found out I was pregnant with my first son, I experienced a barrage of different feelings. On one hand I was excited and felt extremely blessed that God was entrusting me with another life besides my own. On the other hand, I was terrified because I didn't know what type of parent I would be. When little Benjamin was born, he instantly became the most beautiful baby in the world in my eyes and I loved him from the moment the doctor laid him on my chest. As I struggled to give him my very best, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child when he was only four months old. I will admit honestly, being pregnant so soon after giving birth was very exhausting. I did not want to have another child so soon after the first, but I immediately fell in love with the tiny life I was carrying. I vowed my children would be well behaved and mannered, smart, active, and the sweetest little boys anybody would ever meet...well four out of five isn't bad...
When I was working for Walmart a few years back, before I had kids, there were all kinds of people who would come through that store. I swear, Walmart is circus and you will see all kinds of characters in there. Nothing is off limits, and no deed is too extreme. I could deal with the people and their eccentricities, but one thing I absolutely despised seeing was a parent with a disobedient child. You guessed it. I was one of those people who said my children would never misbehave in public, I'd be a strict disciplinarian, and yada yada yada. One day, a petite little woman, that weighed no more that 100lbs soaking wet, came through my checkout line with a shopping cart full of groceries. In the front of the cart was a baby strapped in the car seat that was no more that 4 months old. She also had with her a little boy of about 4 or 5 that seriously deserved a stint in the time out corner. He had his arms folded in a way that reminded you of a dictator, and was yelling at his poor mother something fierce.
I have to give the mother credit because she remained calm, whereas someone else probably would have taken him in the bathroom and given him a "treatment". Now, during this time, I'm standing there watching her and wondering if I should page a manager because I just knew she was going to slap the life out of him where he stood. Much to my amazement, she continued on loading up her groceries as if he weren't throwing a tantrum on my aisle. One of my coworkers that was on the register next to me looked at me and we shared a glance that said, "that could NOT be me". She continued to load her purchases on the conveyor belt, I continued to ring up her items, and her son continued to scream and cry. She finally turned around and told him to be quiet, which only fueled his anger more. He proceeded to kick her in her legs as he screamed, "I'm not gonna shut up until you give me what I want!"
I could continue telling this story but looking back, I now sympathize with that poor woman. Some women are able to handle the embarrassment of a tantrum in public in stride, while others, like myself, have a complete meltdown. The kids, now three and four, needed tennis shoes, as they had outgrown their old ones. I love the Children's Place clothing and their prices are reasonable, the boys clothing is simply adorable, and their shoes are too cute for words. Let me mention beforehand that my kids have never been in any store without being restrained in a shopping cart. This is for my peace of mind, as I do not care to spend an entire shopping trip picking things off the floor or running around the store chasing my future running backs. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered Children's Place did not have shopping carts. Immediately, I knew I had to make the shopping trip a fast one.
Long story short, my kids were like caged animals being let out for the first time in their lives. They ran in circles around the store screaming and yelling as if the building was on fire. I put on my "I mean business" face, which only earned me a case of the giggles combined with more running and screaming. I received sympathetic looks from the other patrons of the store, as the cashier tried to distract me by trying to get me to apply for a credit card. I was beyond embarrassed at my kids' behavior because one was screaming bloody murder while the other was running around stomping through the store like Tyrannosaurus Rex. One woman was making a "tsking" noise under her breath while I was corralling both kids--as they had both begun to cry and scream harder at this point. I will admit that I handled the situation poorly by becoming frustrated with them, but, parent's make mistakes sometimes, and I will more than likely make more as my kids get older.
One thing I am learning is to not pay attention to what other people around me are thinking when my kids resort to tantrums. Some parents are more likely to sympathize because they have been there before and are glad that it isn't them in the situation again. Another thing I am starting to see, is that as frustrated I become with my kids at times, theirs isn't the worst behavior I have seen. Tonight in Walmart, a lady had her son in the shopping cart going up and down the aisles, when her son asked her for something sugar related. She firmly told him, "No". It always seems that the store is the quietest when your child is about to embarrass you. The boy actually yelled, "Imma f**k you up" which was immediately rewarded with a "Shut up" and a slap in the mouth. I was immediately embarrassed for this woman because she knew that no matter how wrong her child was for saying what he said, she knew where it came from.
Children are sponges and will repeat and do everything they see and hear. They will throw tantrums at the most inopportune moments and sometimes, make us second guess our decision to have children in the first place. As the parents, we need to learn how to remain calm because the minute we become upset, our children have gained the upper hand. When you know better, you do better. If children came with owner's manuals when they came into the world, parenting wouldn't be so difficult. In a way, I am glad for the bumps in the road and the chance to learn from my mistakes. If nothing else, I will at least have leverage for blackmail when my boys get older. As my father would say, God rest his soul, "Welcome to the joys of parenthood".