CS is away on a detail through the weekend, so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to ditch the ever-present housecleaning and take the girls out and about. The first reason this was a bad idea is because my house now looks like I invited all the Hoarders to move in. The second reason takes some telling.
The fairly local Barnes & Noble advertizes a 10:30am story time for the kiddos. The girls have story time at school and both of them know how to sit there and listen up, so I figured it would be a no-brainer. Except we waited and waited…and no story. There were 3 other mothers there and one tracked down a worker bee who informed us that story time is a 10am, not 10:30. At this point it was 10:45am and Elise had used up all of her sit there and listen up time. She was bored and wanted Elmo and trains and for-christ-sakes only knows what. I informed worker bee that the website clearly stated 10:30am, otherwise we would not all be sitting there like idiots, and we expected a story to be told forthwith.
He willingly obliged, but that did not keep me from having to abandon Amelia on the little story listening bench to carry her twit of a sister all around the children’s book department in search of something that would make her just shut up and sit still already. After story time, there were coloring pages offered and they both seemed please with that. Except there were 2 piles of crayons and the four year olds wanted to use both piles while Elise protested that it was entirely unfair that she should have to give up her crayons when the other kids already had crayons. The other children’s mothers didn’t see the Crayola snatch and grab from a 22 month-old to be an issue and so it was time for all of us to find books and get out of there. After much running, hiding, put that down, let’s go and I don’t want to hear another word…we finally left the store. The bag of books is still in the car. I honestly have no idea what we ended up buying.
Next on the hit parade was a 20 minute ride to the dog adoption fair at the Petsmart. The girls were well-behaved here, having plenty to look at, but sadly (or gladly, I suppose) there weren’t very many dogs there and most of them had already been adopted about an hour into the fair. I spent the remainder of our time there explaining to Amelia that we would not be bringing a dog home. Or a cat. Or a bird. And, no, no fish either. I tempted her out of the store with promises of snacks from Trader Joe’s next door.
I’ve only been to Trader Joe’s once before and it was years ago. And, wow, what marketing geniuses they are, right? Can anyone get out of that store on less than $100? You might go to the Stop & Shop and walk right by the cookies but at Trader Joe’s, they only have 2 kinds of chocolate chip cookies, so they must be special. And it’s Trader Joe’s, so you have this strange idea that they are somehow better for you, because they are “organic” or from “chocolate bought from exotic tribes in a place you’ve never heard of, but they have clean drinking water because of the money we make when you buy these cookies”. The pre-packaged meals available boggle the mind and you can’t resist because this is no Lean Cuisine, oh no. The aisle are rife with gourmet delights like carne asada and chocolate lava cake. Thinking I would expand their culinary horizons, the girls have chinese dumplings for lunch today.
They didn’t eat them. I tried.
Halfway through the store, Amelia had to use the facilities. I park the carriage and haul them both into the restroom where I’m meet with giggles and darkness. A woman was using the stall and her two kids kept turning the light on and off while she is scolding them for inside the stall to “stop it!” I didn’t want Amelia to hurt herself in the stall and I got the hint that they were entirely ignoring their mother, so I told them to stop. I was also ignored. So I took the kid’s defiant little fingers off the switch and said “Knock it off! You mother already told you to stop and my daughter isn’t getting hurt because you can’t seem to listen!” Their mother came out of the stall, said sorry, and left.
Afterwards, walking through the store, I saw the mom again and she stopped me. “I’m sorry about earlier. They never listen to me and I appreciate that you said something. Some people are afraid to scold someone else’s kid but honestly, it takes a village. Thanks for taking charge.” Really? A thank you? Because you know that it never happens and the more likely scenario is “Don’t yell at my kid!” I would never expect the parent to support a stranger attempting to discipline, because the ‘way I was raised’ doesn’t exist anymore. But there it was.
I just had to write it down, because I can’t imagine it ever happening again. I can imagine parents knocking on my door because I told their little shit to get out of my yard or mind his mouth, but never a thank you. So thank YOU, good mom. A glimmer of good neighborhood parenting in a Not My Kid world.