About a year ago, maybe two, I was shopping in Target with Daniel. Daniel literally hates shopping, but not in the temper tantrum, fall out on the floor, embarrass the hell out of you kind of way. More of an annoying kind of way; probably because he is annoyed that he is in a store in the first place.
I get it. I try not to keep him in the store forever. I have anxiety, that has gotten worse over the years. Making the simplest decisions in stores becomes so vexing at times and has even caused me to leave the store without purchasing anything. Especially in Walmart or Target. I have gotten this thing down to a science. I once went shopping, childless, with a girlfriend of mine and by the time she was coming out the fitting room, I was checking out. She was fascinated! I told her that I am used to shopping with a kid and I know his timer.
Either way, sometimes I think we accommodate our children instead of having our children accommodate us. I think there should be a balance. I am seeking to find that balance now.
But more on the topic of this post – the previously mentioned is more of a stream of consciousness and can definitely be discussed in a future post. …shopping in Target with Daniel a year or so ago.
I was in uniform and I hate being in public in uniform, for several reasons. I will probably discuss those in a later post as well, even though it is not remotely related to parenting, at all. I was shopping for a few clothing items for Daniel and I heard him run away from me. pitter patter of little feet. The sound never bothered me because if I follow the sound, I would find my child. I just knew we were playing an unspoken game of hide and seek all the time.
Anyways….(not a word) there was a moment when I couldn’t hear the footsteps anymore. I lost my entire mind, silently. I walked up and down the toy aisles and heard and saw nothing. I asked two people if they had seen a curly headed chocolate kid anywhere and they were so much more interested in asking me if I was a Marine (when my shirt CLEARLY says ARMY in big black ass letters). Even though I was clearly annoyed and was freaking out as a mom, the Soldier in me had to pause a moment to answer a few of their questions. This part of my journey made me more pissed than I can put into words. Option for another post (probably more like a rant).
I continued on my search for Batman. Still no sound of his voice and no sound of his feet. I started immediately thinking that I was going to have to kill someone in public in my uniform because they had attempted to kidnap my child. I started going through the motions in my head. I was literally becoming a murderer. I was just about to run to the customer service desk and request a Code Adam when I saw the clothing racks moving in the little boys’ section.
With tears in my eyes I approached the clothing rack and pulled back the clothes slowly to reveal my superhero hiding and giggling. So many things ran through my head at that time.
I could have spanked him right then and there.
I could have dragged him out of that store into the car or bathroom and tore him up. Because trust me, I wanted to.
I could have done exactly what I did: I said to him “Were you hiding from me this entire time?” and with a giggle he says “Yes, I saw your feet walking around and your couldn’t find me! It was a good hiding place huh?” With a nervous chuckle and tears still in my eyes, I responded with, “Yes babe, I had no idea where you were. How did you keep so quiet?” Because I was truly amazed at his prolonged silence. “I was being stealthy.”
I died laughing. On the way home, we discussed how terrified I truly was to not know where he was. I let him know that even though he was hiding from me, in a joking a playful manner, that I was unaware and I thought something serious had happened. I told him to be careful when he’s out in public because sometimes, people may want to take you and have you be a part of their family, but all families aren’t good families and all people aren’t good people. This was our introduction into stranger danger.
This experience brings up some really good points. First off, if you are unfamiliar with Code
Adam, click here to find out more.
Secondly, I posted previously regarding disciplining kids and in that post, I spoke about discipline in public. I have always been a firm believer that disciplining children in public is damaging to the child. I have always implemented communication with Daniel in public (and private) about his behavior. A fellow mom blogger stated that (I’m paraphrasing) our kids want to please us and they are deeply saddened when they disappoint us. It’s true so I use it as leverage.
And finally, I see these experiences to be opportunities to get to know my child. While I believe that I exist to guide him, I also encourage the way he thinks and the way he feels. I just like to encourage him to act and think as his most responsible self.
I have also been enjoying the blog of Tikeetha Thomas entitled “A Thomas Point of View” and I hope you all do too!