Monday, January 28, 2008

On the road to adulthood

I was reading a lady's blog about her children. She was talking about them raising a ruckus in public places. Since my children are all grown up, her story was pretty funny. I've got stories of my own. Honey, every mother has those stories.
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My son was the worst, I think. That little snot has embarassed me in public way too many times to be counted.
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He was about 4 when I took him to the K-mart. I had a new baby. He began to whine for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I told him no. He began to push. I told him quite firmly, "Dylan, you can either stop, or we will have to leave the store." To my surprise, the tantrum escalated into a full blown screaming fit. People began to stare at my heathen. And me.
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I took a deep breath and lifted his sleeping sister out of the cart, slung the diaper bag over my shoulder, grabbed his little hand, and headed for the exit. He was screaming his head off and jerking and pulling trying to get free. People stared.
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Suddenly, I lost my grip, and Dylan went sailing across the shiny K-Mart store and flew neatly under a rack of women's nightgowns. Dead silence. I knew what it was. Even as a young child, Dylan had a horror of being embarrassed in public. (He did not mind embarrassing the spit out of his mother, but this is a story for a different day) I knew the beast was under that rack, and mortified to crawl back out. This struck me as just the funniest thing ever, so I began to laugh.
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Two little old ladies had been watching this scene play out before their little old lady eyes, tsking, and shaking their heads over parents who will not make their children behave, just moments before the boy disappeared. The next thing I hear is one of them saying to the other, "Did you see her just THROW that poor boy?"
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Yes. With a diaper bag, a baby and my purse, I was still able to toss four year olds around the K-Mart. I was SUPER-MOM! By then I was practically in convulsions, I was laughing so hard.
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"Dylan," I choked. "I'm not coming under there to get you, but I'm going home now. If you're riding with me, you need to come on." And with that, I turned and began walking away. Before I had taken 6 steps, he was behind me, bawling in outrage, embarrassment, and the confusion that results in a kid's head when he starts a tantrum and doesn't have the maturity to make himself stop.
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On the way home, he cried. I talked about why big boys don't throw fits in stores. And when we got home, we played "Concentration".
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Dylan is 21 now. A college grad, with a very good job, living 6 hours from home in the big city. He is a hardworking boy of uncommon good sense. He did come home with a tattoo at Christmas. But that is a story for another day.
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Here is the moral of the story, Moms:
The opinions of little old ladies are not important.
What IS important is this:
If you want your children to be disciplined adults, they need to be disciplined as children. Love them dearly, and know that they grow up. Some days, it's the only thing that keeps you going.

2 comments:

Mikey said...

Amen to that!!!

PaintedPromise said...

add me to the list! great story!