Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Their Shoes

Twice a year, I sell Dylan's old clothes and toys in a huge consignment sale. It's a great way to de-clutter the house, make a little extra cash, and score some great deals.

Each time I go to the sale, it is like watching a "What Not To Wear" episode, if it were called, "How Not To Parent". This time was no exception.

When I drop off my sale items, I get a babysitter. When I go to shop at the sale, I get a babysitter. I have been shopping with my active three year old son. I know taking him along would result in chaos. I know his limits, and I know mine. I know that shopping for long periods of time + children = STRESS! Apparently, not everyone has received the memo.

When I first began to shop, I witnessed a mother yank her son's arm, while leaning down inches from his face, to snarl "Shut up! You're really getting on my nerves, do you know that?"

Nearby, a mother was admonishing her daughter, "Do NOT ask me for a toy! I am NOT buying you any toys!" I can't tell you how many parents I heard saying they were not buying their kids a toy, a book, a CD, a DVD. Apparently, they were just there to buy them clothes. They wanted them to sit sweetly in their strollers, or stand silently nearby, while they perused rack after rack of clothing, for hours. Hmmm... strangely the children were not cooperating. I can't imagine why.

I was over looking at the books, when an adorable little guy, maybe 2 or 3, wandered over next to me. He saw that someone had spilled some cards on the floor. He looked up at me, and said, "I keen(clean) dees (these) up!" "Oh, that's nice of you!", I answered, while he got to work.

I cringed as I heard a high pitched shriek. "Michael! Did you take those out? I told you not to touch anything? Didn't I?" Poor Michael just looked up at me, and sighed. I turned to explain that he was actually cleaning them up, but he was already being led away to look at more clothes.

I made my way over to the clothes, where my ears were assaulted by another shrieker.  "JOR-DAN!! Get over here! JOR-DAN!  Did you hear me?!"  Jordan looked to be about 2 years old, and he was a very curious little guy.  He wanted to see what was "Ova here!  Ova dere!  Ova here!"  Every five minutes or so (at first), I would jump when his mother would scream "JOR-DAN!!"  After a while, it got to the point where her voice was like the sound of chalk on a chalkboard.  I was envisioning myself strangling her.  A while after that, though, I noticed something.  I started to successfully tune her voice out.  Jordan had obviously learned the skill himself.

Why am I telling you this story?  Because while I was standing there, I envisioned Jim taking me to Home Depot (his favorite store and NOT mine).  I pictured him telling me "We're going to be here a few hours, looking at this wood.  I want you to stand here with me and look at this wood.  Don't wander away.  Don't go look at something that interests you.  I'm not buying you anything.  Oh, and don't talk, complain, whine, or cry about it, either".  I can tell you that I would not be cooperative.

Sometimes we have such unrealistic expectations for our children.  Sometimes we seem to forget that they are people, with wants and needs very similar to ours, (and even shorter attention spans).  Sometimes we scream, and yell, and nag so much that they simply tune out the shrill sound of our voices.  Sometimes we need to put ourselves in their shoes.


Feather said...

amen, sister! i love your adult scenario. it just puts it into perspective, doesn't it. well said.

Anonymous said...

I am completely guilty of the entire grocery store knowing my kids' names! BUT . . . we go on Friday afternoons when they are not very busy, and I don't expect my kids to behave like angels. (I do, however, expect them to stay in sight and not take off running around the corner, which is usually what gets me coutning to 3.) I am with Feather - WELL SAID!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

This is true. I have found myself shouting at Jonathan mainly because I can't find him...that kid is all over the place at stores. Grabbing him by the arm and hissing in his face? I hope I never do that. I know I've had a few frustrating days here or there and have said "Jonathan! Why won't you listen to me!" with my arms up...but most of the time I realize he is a toddler and asking him to be still, or "behave" the way I think he should, is just about impossible.

Very thoughtful post.

The Girls' Mommy said...

I want to hear more about the sale! do you have to sell it yourself? You just drop it off? Do you have to pick up what doesn't sell? How's it all work? How do I get in on this? I will make the 5 hour drive.

(Ronnie DOES make me stare at wood and NEVER buys me the cute little lashlights and gadgets that I want at HomeDepot..:( I agree, its no fun.)

Elissa said...

this is SOOO funny. i won't list you all the reasons that i seriously "get" this, but i must say that my SIL (currently 8 mos preg) says all the time that home depot should have carts for bored wives so they can at least have a place to sit down and ride.

Amber said...

I needed this post. So badly. I have been dragging my girls around on errands lately out of necessity. They are such great sports about it, but I often snap at them for acting like kids. What did I expect? They ARE kids. So yesterday after Cora's first soccer game, I let them decide where we were going. We played at McDonalds & then had lunch at the Olive Garden (seriously, Cora's choice!). Then we went to see The Tooth Fairy @ the dollar theater . I would say it was the worst use of a dollar, ever (no one should ever have to see The Rock in a tutu). But Cora laughed the entire time. I'd pay a dollar a hundred times over for that. Thanks for this post. Really, thank you!

Gina said...

I try (TRY!) to be patient with my kids when we're out (and unfortunately don't always succeed). But I will try herder, because honestly, I never thought about it like your Home Depot example. And since I have been in the position of being dragged to Home Depot - or some other of my husband's favorites - and being bored to tears, I can see their side of it a lot better.