It’s funny how a random comment from a complete stranger can ruin a fun family outing.
Yesterday, I was pushing my 5-year-old around in a shopping cart in the garden section at Wal-mart looking for flowers to plant in our garden. It was a beautiful sunny day, around 70 degrees, and we had decided it was time to get a couple of plants in the ground. My younger son loves to help me out in the garden, so this was a perfect opportunity for the 2 of us to spend some one-on-one time together while his older brother was at a friend’s house.
Anyway, my son sat in the basket area of the shopping cart while I showed him a couple of different varieties of peonies to see which color he liked best. I can never choose, so it’s always nice to get a second opinion. Plus, it makes him feel like he’s involved in deciding what we’re going to plant despite the fact that I had already decided what I wanted to buy before we even left the house.
As we were discussing the merits of the white peonies versus the pink, a little girl of about 8 or 9 approached us. “Excuse me, ma’am,” she said.
She was polite, so I turned to see what she wanted.
“Would you look at your cart right here?” she asked.
I glanced over my cart, thinking maybe something was falling out, or maybe something on the cart was broken, and I hadn’t noticed it.
The girl walked to the child seat section of the cart (pushing me aside in the process,) and pointed to the plastic piece with the warnings about not letting your kids stand up in the cart, etc. She said, “See this? You’re not allowed to have your kid in the cart where he is. You are endangering his safety.”
I was flabbergasted. Of course, my first instinct was to tell her that her parents are endangering her safety by encouraging her to walk up to complete strangers and tell them what horrible parents they are. But I’m not one to start a fight in the middle of Wal-mart, especially not in front of my kids. So, I just said, “Thanks for the info” and walked away.
I got no more than 5 or 6 steps away before my son suddenly stood up in the cart (very dangerous thing for him to do, by the way) and proclaimed that he wanted out. He had this worried look on his face, like he thought he was going to get into some kind of trouble for sitting in the shopping cart.
So I told him, “You don’t have to get out of the cart, it’s okay. Now, sit down before you fall out.”
“No, I want out,” he insisted.
Thank you, so very much, little girl, for undermining my authority with my child.
We continued our shopping trip, but the shine had been stripped from our sunny day. I was fuming. As we made our way through the grocery aisles, I couldn’t help wondering what would make a child of that age think she has the right to walk up to a complete stranger and start handing out parenting advice.
The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced there must have been a parent hiding behind a shelf someplace watching her daughter do her dirty work. I imagined that parent thought I was a horrible mother because I don’t follow every single one of the parenting rules that seem to be printed on every available flat surface in this great litigious nation. This parent probably needs a book to tell her how to raise her kids and fears that every little move they make might kill them. Yet, she’s so fearful, she doesn’t have the nerve to approach me herself, but instead sends her kid in to tell me off.
Who the heck did this woman think she was, ruining my day out with my child? I wanted to hunt her down and give her a piece of my mind. My son was in no danger when he was sitting in that shopping cart, at least not until this little girl came along and encouraged him to jump to his feet while the cart was moving and demand to be let out. This incident will in no way influence me to stop allowing my son to ride in the shopping cart. So, what was the point of ruining my afternoon out with my son?
What would you do in such a situation? Please comment below.
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- Don’t hate me because I price match! (thechaosaroundme.wordpress.com)
- Etiquette for the Grocery Store (wifelyperfection.wordpress.com)
- Gripsterz ~ Keeping Kids Safe & Handy (wyominggirlcoastiewife.com)
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