I know I just wrote about parents and kids in stores a few days ago, but something happened today that made me think of my funniest kid-in-the-grocery-store experience ever.
I wanted to go to a particular store today because they, as their motto says, have serious food at silly prices. After we had been in there a while, Trent decided to go sit in the car while I looked around to see if there was anything new or fun or that I couldn't live without. After he left, I wished I had gone with him. A screamer mother was in the store with her three young sons. Middle Kid was not behaving the way she wanted, so she told him he would not be able to have any candy.
Let me tell you, the situation instantly went from bad to worse. All through the market, the child was screaming about how desperately he wanted the candy. "I'll do anything for it!" Apparently he was ready to sell his soul to the Devil if necessary. The only thing he wasn't willing to do was stop screaming, I guess. I was surprised to hear an older woman say to the mom, "Good for you. You should spank him." The mother said she would normally do so but she just didn't want to do it in public because "you know how people are these days."
This made me think of a trip to another store a long time ago. It was one of those stores where you unloaded your cart and then bagged your own groceries. On this particular day, a woman was trying to bag her groceries and keep her child out of trouble at the same time. He wasn't shouting or asking his mom to buy him anything. In fact, he was very quiet. But he had the full-throttle energy that many kids do. While mom was busy bagging, he was having fun trying to climb up on the fifty-pound bags of dog food that were stacked at the front of the store.
"Jeffrey, quit climbing on those bags!" mom warned. As soon as mom's back was turned, the climbing began again. "Jeffrey, you stop that right now!" Again, he paused only until her back was turned. Then mom started to head over to the dog food display to relocate Jeffrey so he would have to quit climbing. Little Jeffrey was pretty startled. He yelled at the top of his lungs, "Don't hurt myself! Don't hurt myself!" Let me tell you, I about lost it. Jeffrey was a sweet kid, I think, and his mother was pretty awesome. After all, she managed to still gently lead him away and not burst into laughter herself. I could tell by her face that she wanted to. I wonder if this became one of those stories told at holiday gatherings when, according to custom, parents get revenge for their kids' behavior by trying to embarrass them in front of everybody.
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say Middle Kid was a bad kid or that his mom was a bad parent. They were just caught in a bad moment. But given a choice, I'll take a store full of Jeffreys any day.