something to honk about
I work in a mid-sized retail store where I am sometimes cashier at the register. Parents come through my line – okay, mostly moms – with happy little children – rarely. More often they are fussy or wailing or grabby. I don’t blame the children. Shopping sucks when you are a kid. It’s all “don’t touch that” and “not now” and “sit down right now” or “stand up right now” and so on. Part of the reason that having my kids back in public school is so thrilling is that I hardly ever have to take them shopping with me any more.
So these moms and their unhappy children come through my checkout line. Some deal with the situation really well and they are patient and sweet to their kids. Many of the kids are frustrated, but trying really hard to be good. Some moms are clearly irritated as hell, but still keeping it together. And then there is the rare mother that is completely at the mercy of her child’s latest behavioral storm. Those are the ones I really wish I could help, but I can’t, because…
this is not the line for parenting advice
I had a mom come through my line the other day with her daughter who was about four or five years old. She (the adult) flung an Olaf (from Disney’s Frozen) pillow across the counter at me and asked me to check the price. I scanned the barcode and informed her that the regular price was $29.99 but it was currently on sale for $19.49. I could see her waffling about the unnecessary expense and so I carefully held it hidden behind the counter to make it easier for her to say no and walk out without it. “Okay,” she sighed, “I’ll take it. She’ll have a huge tantrum if I don’t.”
And I answered, all sweetness and light, “I understand, I have kids too.” (barf!)
Yes, I do have kids, but no, I don’t really understand. I have never in their whole entire lives ever bought them something because they would have thrown a tantrum if they didn’t get it. I’ve never spent $20 on a toy they didn’t need on a day that wasn’t their birthday. I didn’t have any other option. I just couldn’t. And so they rarely asked and if they did and I said no, they would generally except it. There were never any tantrums.
I wanted to tell this mom to grow a spine and not buy the Olaf pillow and not let her tiny daughter rule over her with the threat of a tantrum. I could have told her, it’s never going to get any better if she just gives in like that – it could get worse. I wanted to tell this mom that if she didn’t buy the toy her daughter might be sad, but she would learn an important lesson and she would learn to cope with her disappointment.
But nobody gets parenting advice in my line. It is not an item we offer at this store.