Kidnapping and B!tchslapping

I parked at the doors of the library and rolled down the back windows.

“Kids, I need to run in and run out real quick. I just have to grab a book off a shelf and come back.”

Brief grumbles about wanting to pick out books and a question on whether that cool snake book was still there. I told them we didn’t have time today.

So I walked in, grabbed my book, checked myself out and came back. It was about two minutes.

Turns out that was just long enough for some misguided woman to tell my kids that they need to tell their mom she shouldn’t leave them in a car because someone would come steal them.

I was furious. Not because this stranger dared to judge my parenting skills. I honestly don’t care about that. I was irate that this person decided to introduce a terror to my children. I know that our thoughts create our realities. In my kids’ world, there’s no such thing as kidnapping. At least there wasn’t until this woman decided my children were her business, which they clearly are not.

I asked them how the felt about that lady talking to them.

“Weird. Like she shouldn’t be doing that,” the Roo said. “I thought I should jump out the window, run inside and come get you, but then I decided that wouldn’t be a good decision.”

I loved that response.

“I didn’t like her talking to me,” Wee Man said.

“I don’t like her talking to you, either,” I said, mentally cursing myself for leaving them. “She thought she was helping you, but she was wrong.”

“What do you mean she was wrong?” Roo asked.

“Well, did anybody steal you? Clearly she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” I was trying to remove the stain of the dark fear this stranger planted in their impressionable minds.

As mad as I was, this actually opened up a good conversation. I explained that we get what we think about and gave them specific examples. We had a really good chat about why it’s so important to choose positive thoughts, to be mindful of what we say and turn something we don’t like into something we do. Basically elementary and preschool-level lessons on the Law of Attraction.

So I guess I owe the impudent stranger and thank-you. But I still want to slap her first.

Sticks and Stones

I’ve always hated interrupting naps. It’s sick and wrong. I’ve always hated long lines. I know they’re divine retribution for my attention span, one comparable to that of a border collie on meth.

So I understand why Wee Man is such a beast when I pull him from his new big boy bed and carry him to his booster seat to idle in the elementary school car pool line. It’s just rude.

That said, I have little patience for his most common reaction: 20 minutes of crying that he hates the car pool. Yesterday, he kicked it up a notch. He called me an idiot. So I very calmly told him that the consequence of saying hateful things to me was that he could not watch TV for the rest of the day.

Of course the idea there was to get his attention, show him I’m serious about good behavior and end the tantrum. But he had a different idea, one likely inspired by the demons fleeing the mega-church next door to the school who recognized my SUV as an welcoming watering hole.

“I hope you get crunched up by the trash truck!” he screamed as he kicked the back of my seat. I’m pretty sure his head spun around.

As far as curses go, I’ve certainly had nastier ones slung at me. But it basically boiled down to him calling for my untimely and very messy death, two things I wish to avoid. And honestly, I was hurt. I somewhat less calmly told him he could go two days with no TV.

That got his attention. He’s still in that preschool time warp where a half-hour lasts a century. I’d doomed him to an eternity free of moving pictures on a screen. Basically, the hell from whence came those demons.

He absolutely lost it. He screamed for the rest of the car pool wait. He screamed while his sister and play date pal climbed in. He screamed all the way home. He repeatedly begged me to make it just one day. He offered to tell me he loved me if I’d cut his punishment in half.

I had the very, very brief thought that if it would just make him shut up, perhaps it would be worth it to commute the sentence. We all know that would be wrong from a long-term discipline standpoint. But maybe if he’d stop screaming for just five minutes, the clouds would part, the sun would shine, the angels would banish those demons and I could hear those guardians from on high singing once again.

But I held my ground. I knew I’d pay for it later if I didn’t. And what’s another 20 minutes of screaming at this point any way? I took it as a sign that my words finally hit home.

That made it music to my ears.

On Thin Ice

For spring break, I treated us to a trip to our favorite mountain resort. By “treated” I mean “once again took advantage of an awesome friend with a fabulous ski home where we can stay for free.”

It was too hot to ski, so we found other fun among the mountain’s bald spots. Hot springs and the rec center were big winners. The Roo wanted to try ice skating, but Wee Man came down with a weird fever. So I Florence Nightingaled him while our pal took Roo up to the rink at the base of the mountain.

When they returned, my friend shared one of those stories that would’ve been much more enjoyable had it been about someone else’s kid.

In addition to showing off her natural skating talent, the Roo wowed our pal with her literacy. She read the rink’s dedication plaque:

BLACK FAMILY ICE RINK

You probably can guess where this is headed.

He congratulated her on her mad skillz and kept skating. About 10 minutes later, just when he was across the very public rink in the center of the village with roughly 20 innocent bystanders, she shouted out,

“HEY GUS — WHY IS IT CALLED THE BLACK FAMILY ICE RINK WHEN THERE ARE ONLY WHITE PEOPLE HERE?”

True, most of the patrons of this resort are as white as the melting snow. But did she notice this herself, or did I say something to help her reach that conclusion? Do I project my PC self-consciousness on to her by talking about it? Would that then sensitize her to people’s skin color, something she’s seemed pretty oblivious to up to this point?

I don’t think making an issue of it is the way to go. She’ll have plenty of time to develop PC self-consciousness in the future. For now, I’m taking it as yet another reminder for me to watch my mouth. A-parent-ly I can’t get enough of those.