Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't you know what to do...?!

Today I had to make a quick run to the grocery store. I forgot that Reagan had a field trip tomorrow and I needed to get her a "Lunchable". Unfortunately long ago when Jillie started going on school field trips I promised that whenever she had a field trip, she could have a "Lunchable" to bring along for her sack lunch. Then it turned into whenever anyone had a field trip then everyone got a "Lunchable"- because "it's just not fair!" Anyhow, I had to make my quick run to the grocery store at 5:30pm. I let Jillie stay home with the big kids so they could work on homework. I had to take Jackson away from playing outside to take him with me. This has happened a bunch in the last week or so... leaving Jillie to watch t he kids while I run an errand. Nice, but I feel guilty about it. Greg has been gone 9 out of the last 10 days so it was kind of necessary.
Jackson has been loving the warmer weather so he can play outside more. He was not happy that I stuck him in the car. By the time we got to the store he was laying down in the parking lot screaming. I had to just get in and out quick. I explained this to him. He either didn't understand or wasn't listening. I grabbed him up and took him screaming into the store. I stuck him in the cart and buckled him in because he was trying to get out. I seriously was calm yet stern -just repeating to him that he was fine, we're almost done, no more screaming, no you do not hit mommy! He was red in the face screaming and crying. I kept looking for people to glare, but they didn't. Maybe an understanding look, they didn't. No one in the store seemed to be too bothered by him.
Then it happened...I hear from across the produce a lady yelling to me,
"Don't you know what to do with a child throwing a temper tantrum?!"
I was so embarrassed. I just said, "What would you like me to do?" She went on to tell me how I need to take him out of this environment, to take him out to the car until he behaves.
"But that's what he wants," I told her. knowing full well, he would calm down in the car, but it would start all over when we came back in. I needed to just get my 3 "Lunchables" and get home to make dinner and take care of my other 3 kids.
She then said that I needed to tell him- and then she looked at him and said very sternly and pointing her finger at him, "You do not scream in here. That is not appropriate behavior! And you do NOT hit your Mother."
Of course he shut up then. Anytime a stranger talks to him he shuts right up. At first I was thinking should I let her talk to my kid this way? I never really like to see my kids being reprimanded by anyone but us. But I knew that what she was saying was right. I'd been saying those things but he wasn't going to listen to me.
I thanked her and walked away. So embarrassed. I was sure to tell Jackson "thank you" too. I didn't know if I should cry or laugh I just knew I started debating in my head how bad of a mother am I? As soon as I got out of the store I called Holly so we could laugh and she could diffuse me- but she must have been busy with Young Women's. Too late then. The tears started to fall.... and fall... and fall. I think that lady, who I'm sure was just trying to be helpful- and was to some degree- hit a nerve. The guilt I feel about Jackson goes deep. I suppose the guilt I feel when any of my kids aren't doing well runs deep. Did a little soul searching after this all happened. Need to step up my game- not get too relaxed with the youngest one because he's the one that needs the most.
Still though... would you ever go up to a stranger and tell her how to discipline her child?? Do you know anyone who would do that?


Greg Garrick said...

That "lady" is very lucky I was not there -- she would have received an earful from me and been publicly humiliated. In fact, this event took place last night at Tops in Orchard Park, NY -- if you are the beast that spoke to my wife, please respond -- I'd love to have a chat with you about the way you dress.

Nikki said...

Relax Greg.. I'm fine. :)

Sunny said...

Oh my goodness Nikki! I would NEVER tell anyone how to take care of their children in public! First off I'd have no idea what to tell anyone and second you never know what's really going on. If you know the person then maybe you could offer to help but to a stranger? Umm no. I'm sorry Nik! I've yet to experience that but I know it's coming. As it turns out I don't know what to do with a child whose having a temper tantrum myself so you know I'm in for a tongue lashing from some stranger! :) Youngest children can really be a pain can't they :) Maybe next time you should get a tape recorder to tape his tantrum. :)( remember? )

Nikki said...

Yes, I've tried that (video taping the tantrum) with him. He thinks he is hilarious! Only works with the older more mature kids.
I know what to do with him, but in that instance I didn't have the time to spend on it. I needed to get home and deal with him there.

Shan said...

Nik I think you handled the awful situation perfectly. The "lady" was completely out of line reprimanding you or Jack Jack. You handled it with class and I admire you. She may have received a tongue lashing from me! :) It hasn't happened to me yet but I remember Carolyn telling me of a lady that did it to her in the mall. Oh and I do remember one time my kids weren't acting great in the mall - I think Abby was with me? Anyway an older lady told us to get our kids under control or the mall was no place for them to be! It is amazing how many people feel they can reprimand other people and their children.
I am impressed with you Nik as always! And by the way, I think you handle Jackson and all your kids awesome! They are all SO amazing so don't be hard on yourself. Love ya!
Oh and Greg - your remark made me laugh out loud!

Holly said...

NIKKI!! I am shattered that I wasn't there for you! I am sooo sorry! I DID have the Young Women here from 5-9p last night for YW's. I am soo sorry that this happened to you! You AND Jackson did not deserve this. THis just goes to show- it dosen't matter what you THINK you know. Unless you know the whole story, you don't know. And she clearly did NOT know.

I don't know how I would have responded, probably tried to ignore the lady. I am proud of you for saying, "What do you expect me to do?" The thing that stinks about this whole thing is that she thinks she was helpful and will do it again to someone else. Hopefully next time it is ME on vacation with my exhausted almost 4year old, and I just told her she can't have the candy bar she "needs". Ohh... I would love that!

You are more than an exceptional mom Nik. You have the patience of a saint, you are the most loving mother I know, your kids are creative, independent, loving, and constantly growing in your watchful care. You had a rough couple of weeks without your husband, (HELLO?? Birthday Party, babysitting, etc!?!?) Jackson had a rough time last night, and it is OK. It is nothing that ANY other child and mother don't go through. So now re-imagine that night and when you look up for that understanding look from someone, see me laying that lady out flat and then I WILL give you that understanding look because I know it is 5:30, he is hungry, tired, not getting his way, and I have been there. Keep your chin up. You deserve a massage... Greg?? :)

Derek said...

What's wrong with people!?!? Nik, you handled the situation very well. Much better than I would have. I think I'd be tempted to use whatever was handy (i.e. canned goods, a gallon of milk, frozen ham/turkey) as my melee weapon of choice in clocking her upside the head. Some fight with words, others with sticks or stones, while I think I'm partial to frozen poultry. :-)

While you handled yourself very gracefully, this fiend of the eternal pit went about the situation with aims only at making you feel inferior (likely due to her own insecurities in screwing up her own kids). This lady reminds me of one of my favorite images about Cluelessness. She really was clueless, otherwise she would have had something intelligent to say.

You are an awesome mom and a truly elect lady of Zion. Never let anything anyone says tell you otherwise. Heavenly Father definitely trusts you so don't beat yourself up. Self introspection is helpful, but if it causes you for one instance to question your worth or abilities, it's certainly not coming from Heavenly Father.

And next time...just throw a can of corn at her...teach her to mind her own business... :-)

Greg Garrick said...

I gave her a massage right when I got home (1 a.m.). She still has hundreds of dollars in unused spa gift certificates. I'm taking days off next week so she can relax at the spa.

Nikki said...

Thanks everyone :) You've lifted my spirits! :)

Sunny said...

Nik, I really hope you didn't think I was trying to give you instructions on what to do in my post. When I was saying that youngests are a pain I was referring to myself and what a holy terror I was and the taping thing was a reference to my terror days as well! Didn't work with me either. :) If it was me I would have been tempted to say "Oh you want to take care of my son so that I can quickly get my few things and get out of here...thank you for watching him!! You're so nice!" and walk away leaving the "nice" lady with my screaming child. But then she would have called CPS on me. YOU on the other hand took the high road. I've always said it Nik and it remains true. You are mother earth always have been and always will be! Now go use those spa gift certificates! Get a manicure, pedicure, massage. Heck do everything they do there!!

Pam said...

Oh, I have to get into this one! I want to share my vivid memory of being in the largest department store in Grand Rapids a few weeks before Christmas and it's about 6:30pm. Right in front of the main entrance, I had a 3 year old who had decided to stop shopping immediately. She threw herself onto the floor (with a hundred people walking in & out of the store) and screamed and rolled under the jewelry counter so I couldn't grab her. People just came to a dead stop & stared. My 1st approach was to pretend I didn't know her, but then I couldn't walk away, so finally I turned to the group and spoke over the sound of her constant shrill screaming "Guess she's done Christmas shopping!" I grabbed an ankle as it rolled out from under the counter and pulled her out, picked her up and ran as quickly as I could for the exit. I learned there were certain times of the day I didn't take Sunny to public places. :) She taught me well-strong willed kids have the advantage in those situations. Sorry, but this is where we earn those Mother's Day cards. Nik-you are a Saint. Patience should have been your middle name.:)

dad said...

I'm not sure that a retaliation wouldn't have just escalated the confrontation and only make matters worse (deserve it or not). You handled dealing with her just fine. She, of course, didn't know about the whole situation; that's where one goes wrong trying to butt in, I think. I can imagine her trying to be helpful, but didn't go about it as tactfully as she should have. The guilt you feel about your mothering, (mostly imagined, I think) is what got to you. You heard from many mothers (probably more comments to this one than any other) and that can give some perspective, I guess; but of the many, many mothers I've observed, you've got to be in the top ten. It's no easy job some days, I'm sure. I can only guess, 'cause I'm just a dad.

Leanne said...

When I receive unsolicited advice I figure I can do one of 2 things...either file it away in my "How to be a better parent" file, or it goes directly into the "toity" file and then flush it.

You handled it with grace and dignity Nik. People like that lady should really keep to themselves because they have no idea what kind of mother you are. What if she were to "offer" her advice to someone who had a child with Autism or some sort of disability? She has no idea what the backround is and until she gets the full story (which she isn't even entitled to),then she needs to watch what she says. Either that or expect to wear a helmet wherever she goes because those cans of corn would hurrrrrt!

Angie said...

I am so appalled!! No way should a stranger be able to discipline a child. I haven't had this experience yet (I expect it to happen at about every store I go into) and I hope to be able to remember how you dealt with the situation, which I think was extremly classy, and do the same. But I know I'm kinda like the guy that would throw poultry at her!!! Thank you for sharing this with everyone to show how good people resond to bad people!

Sunny said...

See Nik! I told ya! :) And look how I turned out! I haven't screamed and rolled under the jewelry counter in...months ...even YEARS! :) Mom's right about earning Mother's day cards some days...speaking of which I should start looking for a really good one now! Really really good one! :)

Sunny said...

Angie, That's my husband with the frozen poultry! :) You gotta watch those quiet nice guys they sometimes have a fiery side.

Angie said...

Furthermore... she should have been complimenting you on your parenting skills since you were able to stay calm and not reacting while so many other parents would be yelling and screaming back at their children, all while hitting them into submission!!! She didn't have a clue!

And Sunny... I like your husbands way of thinking!

Jill said...

Oh dear, this would have made me cry too. I would never tell someone how to raise their kids (I would just think it, ha). That's a really hard situation, especially since you knew he would calm down if you left the store.

Beth Soelberg said...'re received 18 comments - what more could be said? I had an experience at Target once...and it didn't end so well. No one said anything to me but I kind of lost it (I was 8 months pregnant with No. 2). So I applaud you for being calm.

And Big Heinous Nasty Woman? She had NO IDEA what your situation was. At least you weren't screaming back at him. If she'd had kids, then her memory is short: how many of us can MAKE our kids do anything in a situation like that?

I think my response would have been, "What do you expect me to do? Thanks for your concern but MIND OUR BUSINESS."

I am still working my way up the True Christianity Scale.