What is it about a child that makes them think that it is ok to go crazy in public? It seems like every time I take the boys to Target and I let Mikey walk instead of riding in the cart, he starts spinning like a top– jumping around, wandering off, touching things, etc. It is embarrassing and I feel like no matter how tough I get with him, he is so drunk on freedom, that he immediately forgets himself and starts to wind up again. Funny, though, if it’s just the two of us, he is much better. He keeps his focus if he has my attention.
Everyone who has a smart phone probably knows the Talking Tom app. It’s an alley cat that repeats every sound you make. Thanks to Greg, who introduced Michael to this guy, the most obnoxious sounds and noises, from slamming doors to loud screeching gasps, are made to get “Thomas” (as we like to call him) to repeat them in his munchkin voice. Its grating on my nerves, to say the least. More than once I have taken Thomas away and even deleted him for a month at a time, yet somehow, Michael persuades me to download him again. I will say that the app does give me pretty good leverage when I need Mikey to behave himself. Unfortunately, though, my shortcoming as a parent is often not enough follow through…
I’ve been working with a client on paint and carpet selection lately, and I needed to return some samples to the store and select a few more. The flooring store is about a 30 minute drive away, and I had the boys with me. So, on the drive there, I started prepping Mikey about how he was expected to behave while I was looking for more carpet samples. Clearly, if he misbehaved, there would be no McDonald’s for lunch (sort of a stupid threat, since we were getting close to lunch time and we were too far from home to eat there.) Also, Thomas would be taken away and quite possibly deleted if there was bad behavior. Michael assured me that he would be still, stay right with me, and keep quiet. Pierce rides in a stroller, so I have some sort of control at this point, although he can talk distractingly loud.
There are about seven samples to return on good-sized boards, and although I got a good parking space, I was still trying to figure out how to get them in the door along with one boy in a stroller and the other one probably plotting an escape at any moment. Actually, Michael was a great help. He tried to push the stroller for me, but was too short to have any leverage, but he did get the door for me while I carried all the samples in and rolled Pierce into the store. One feat accomplished! Now I needed to look for more samples. Already Mikey was flopping down on the floor…oh great… Here we go. I got distracted talking to an installer and a salesman that were helping me reselect, and next thing I know, Michael’s gone. Now, I’m not worried about him being taken, I’m worried he is bothering the people working and shopping. As I am beginning to fume, he comes flying down the carpeted aisle and pretty much somersaults at my feet. Then he is laying and flopping around on the floor while a customer tries to step around him. I am mortified and angry! Reminders of Thomas and his immediate disappearance are stressed through clenched teeth in a screaming whisper. The response is pretty predictable, “Don’t Mommy, Don’t delete Thomas, I’ll behave—I’ll behave, I promise–I promise, Mommy.” He does rein it in a bit, staying near me, but bubbling below the surface to break free—he’s like a race horse waiting for the bell. Trying to get back in my good graces, he offers me his opinion on several carpet samples, thinking I would love the pretty blue or red. I quickly nipped that in the bud by stressing that neutrals are the only way to go! Then he finds a fuchsia colored one that he can’t reach but he wants to feel it. With my back turned, he tries to climb up on shelf of samples to touch it. Of course, I catch him, and start with the threats again. He explains that he just wants to feel it—there’s my kinesthetic kid. I lift him up to touch it; the whole time explaining why climbing is not acceptable. It’s time to wrap it up—Pierce is talking gibberish at the top of his lungs, and Michael is finally beginning to cooperate. We get our samples to the car, and head for McDonald’s (even though it was one of my threats.) Everyone has relaxed, now, and it’s as good a time as any to tell Mikey there will be no more Thomas for the rest of the day. So he asks, “How ‘bout tonight?” Too funny…. Nope! No video games either. At least I followed through with something! It was painful for him, too!