My kids have been my kids since the day they were born, but there are times I just sit back and wonder who they are and where they came from. Am I alone here? Before I had kids I would wander around Wal-Mart for an hour and buy two things (for example, hair spray and expensive ice cream that comes in a little tub...those were the days of frivolous spending). I would observe these people that obviously must be horrible parents because their kids were begging for things and falling on the floor and on top of all of that, their faces were dirty and their clothes didn't match. Gasp!! Fast forward a few years and that's me with my kids at Wal-Mart!
Tonight I ventured to Wal-Mart with Madison (4) and Ryan (2). We couldn't find socks for Madison, so she decided to wear shoes without socks. Then we couldn't find her shoes, so she wore black boots with zippers. On top of that, her jeans are getting too small and her butt crack hangs out if she at all deviates from the upright position. Ryan was wearing sweatpants and penny loafers (1 size too big) with white athletic socks. To top it all off, I think they both made it out of the house with orange pizza sauce residue on their faces. And so it begins...if this was the end of the story, I wouldn't be writing this as a post. The trip quickly spiraled into an awful experience full of burning-red checks. (Facial cheeks for me and butt cheeks for my kids)
Madison wanted to ride in the cart, then wanted to walk, then ride in the cart, etc. Finally I made her walk next to me because she was riding the end of the cart as if it was a scooter and I envisioned her feet getting stuck under the cart and me running over her while the Wal-Mart employees looked on with disgust. She threw a fit about walking next to me, but I just kept walking thinking she would follow me. (I have a lot to learn as a mother!) She fell to her knees crawling after me screaming, "MOMMY! QUIT LEAVING ME! YOU JUST ... KEEP ... LEAVING ME!!!" This was the first of my blazing cheeks. I calmly picked her up and ushered her quickly to a quiet aisle while customers stared at me because I was obviously abusing her! When I got down at Madison's level to look her in the eye and discuss her behavior, I was frightened! This was not the face of the angelic baby I labored to bring life to just 4 short years ago. She had morphed into a creature barely recognizable as a little girl. Panic rushed through my body. What do I do? My precious daughter's body has been hijacked! It was like the movie Men In Black where the man's head flips open and there's a miniature alien controlling his body with little levers and switches. That must be what happened, because MY daughter isn't capable of such things. The scenes from the movie quickly ended with Madison's shrill voicing screaming, "PLEASE DON'T SPANK ME MOMMYYYYYYY!"
I thought back to the day she was born when I spent hours staring at her face dreaming what our lives together would be like. I vowed that I wouldn't be one of THOSE parents and she wouldn't be one of THOSE kids. But even my best intentions could not ward off the inevitable Wal-Mart meltdown. After living through one, I can honestly say that I don't look at THOSE parents with THOSE kids the same!