Sometimes I rethink the idea to go out in public with my children. It’s not that we don’t teach them, but we just don’t go out all together in public very often. But when we do, it sure is a time.
I might be raising a larcenous bunch. It all began with my first child, Stephanie, who is probably banned from all Dollar General Stores. She was four, a cute little bundle of red-headed joy. She had the most innocent face, but it only hid her diabolical mind. I stopped at our local Dollar General store to find a new pacifier for my son, Grant, who was almost two. I know, too old for the binkie but if you’d heard his cries, you would have given in too. I swear we had to replace windows more than once when it was lost. So, I took Stephanie in with me to get the bink. I was just planning to get the one item, so I only grabbed a couple of dollars from my wallet and left my purse in the car with two of my friends and a screaming red-faced child.
Well, as soon as we entered the store Stephanie spotted a monster truck she felt she couldn’t live without. Like the lack of a big-wheeled, red truck would ruin her development. I told her to put it back, patiently explaining, as I head-dragged her through the aisles, searching for a binkie, that I had only brought in enough money for the said item. And maybe, we would come back at a later time and get the truck, so she wouldn’t be scarred for life. Never looking at her, I should have wondered why she was being so quiet. I just thought my child was extremely smart and understanding. I couldn’t wait to give her a big hug. I finally located the blasted binks. I grabbed a couple, better to be safe than sorry. I rushed to the register to pay for them, concerned that by this time, Grant would have burst a couple of blood vessels during his fit of rage. I threw them on the counter and scrabbled in my pocket for the money I’d stashed in there. Not ever looking at Stephanie, I paid for them, snatched the bag and started to the car, still head-dragging my little angel.
Maybe I should explain that head-dragging isn’t something you should be calling the cops on me for. It simply means I put my hand on her head and shepherded her the way that I wanted to go. It’s an excellent way to corral one child. You don’t accidentally misplace one that way, as long as your hand never leaves your child’s head. If you do have to remove your hand, please, please make sure to look at the child before you head-drag again. This could prevent much embarrassment when you have to explain to an irate mother why you have her child by the head, leading it through the parking lot.
But anyway, I made my way out to my car, still not paying any attention. While holding Stephanie’s head with one hand, I was using the other hand to free the binkie from the child-proof wrapping. Only concerned with the condition of my breath-holding baby, whose contorted face I could see through the back window, I noticed Stephanie was becoming harder and harder to drag behind me. I just increased the pressure and kept reminding her that unless she wanted Bubby to blow up, we really had to hurry. We finally got to the car about the time I got the darn bink free. I opened the door, slammed the thing into his open mouth (for all you concerned mothers, nope, I didn’t wash it first, I figured whatever might be on it was better for his health at this point than the fit he was throwing). He immediately calmed, giving me time to deal with my daughter. I head-dragged her to the other door and turned to lift her into her car seat when I saw it!! She stared up at me innocently with those big brown eyes, while her little arms struggled to hold that big ol’ monster truck behind her back. My jaw dropped. MY DAUGHTER JUST STOLE HER FIRST TRUCK!! I glanced back to the store, my mind going back many years to the time when someone had accidentally taken a candy bar from a store. I knew I had to take her back in and make her return it and apologize for her actions. When my eyes found the large glass front of the building, I could see there was not an empty space there. It looked as if half of the people in my hometown were crammed to the window watching the angelic little red-head steal the big monster truck with her mother helping her. My face flamed as red as the stolen truck. But I marched her right back to the store, giving her the same talk that my mother had given a certain someone many odd years ago. She returned the truck and apologized and now, twenty-two years later, she has never forgotten that day.