A few weeks back, I took the girls to Target. They used to love riding around the store, but not so much now. Usually, as soon as we get inside, one of them says, "Go bye-bye car." So long shopping trip. This particular day both peeps were fairly content, not too squirmy. We passed the $5 DVD endcap, and Ruthie saw a Thomas the Train DVD. She wanted to "hold" it. No harm, no foul. I acquiesce, all the while knowing full well that she fixates/obsesses over objects to the point that I have resorted to forcefully prying them out of her sweaty hands so I can return them to their rightful owner (usually another child).
What was I thinking on this day?
We stroll into the checkout line, and I tell Ruthie that we are not taking Thomas home. In an effort to loosen her death grip on poor Thomas, I lift her fingers one by one off of the DVD. Ruthie doesn't cry or whine. She rarely does that. Instead, she starts obsessing and repeating "Thomas DVD" over and over until I absolutely can't stand it anymore. I bet she said those words at least 547 time in the two minutes that we had been standing in line. That's when I almost did it. I almost committed an "I will never ... " You know what I'm talking about. Those statements you make BEFORE you have kids. BEFORE you know the extent of the torture those small, yet powerful, people can inflict. One of my "I will never ..." statements was something along the lines of "I will never buy my kid something just to shut him/her up." And up to this point, I had stuck to it. But before I could stop myself, I heard a voice say, "Well, I guess I have to buy this for you now, huh?"
Thank goodness for the woman in front of me in line. At the precise moment I utter that stupid sentence, I notice her head twitch ever so slightly in my direction. It is as if I had just hit upon one her pet peeves (parents who cave?) and it bothered her so much that it took every bit of self-control she could muster to just twitch her head. She doesn't look at me. She doesn't do a 180 and give me a look that conveys the message, "That's exactly what's wrong with kids today." She just twitches.
In that split second, I realize what I have said and its implications for the future. So, while the shiny candy wrappers distract Ruthie, I hand the DVD to the cashier and tell her I don't want the movie. We go merrily on our way, and Ruthie never said another word about it. So, thanks to the anonymous twitching woman at Target. She held me accountable for my actions and got me back on track.
I'm on a roll ...tonight at dinner I told Audrey she couldn't have a brownie if she didn't finish her chicken fried rice. She refused to eat, and the brownie stayed put.