Always Real, Sometimes Tart

Family Of Four Narrowly Misses Smack Down At Home Depot. No One Injured.

Early Friday evening, Sean and I went to the Poor Man’s Amusement Park – PetSmart and then Home Depot.

At PetSmart, we make several laps around the store looking at the various animals, riding the moving ladder by the fish tanks, weighing ourselves on the dog scale, trying out the saddles in the tack shop and seeing which dog houses Sean will fit into. When we get kicked out of there, we walk next door to Home Depot to try out all the riding lawn mowers, relax on the patio furniture and then play “snowcone stand” in the tool sheds. I figure that I have spent so much money in those places in the past twenty years that they owe me some free entertainment.

In spite of how that might sound, Antique Daddy and I both have a very strong sense of appropriate public decorum and we don’t allow Sean run amok in public or act like an uncivilized barbarian. We save that for home.

When we got to Home Depot, we ended up in the Lawn and Garden department where they had a cheesy little fake fish pond/fake water fall/fake putting green vignette set up. And of course, this kind of deal is just begging for little boys to climb all over it. And really, I didn’t see the harm, so when Sean asked if he could climb on it, I said okay.

I stood nearby watching him as he pulled the flags out of the putting green holes and put them back in. And then he pulled the flags out and put them back in. About 30 times. When he tired of that he sat on the ledge near the pond for a while and watched the not-fake fish and occasionally poked his fingers in the water. But it wasn’t long before his curiosity got the best of him and he moved to venture around to the back side to see how the fake waterfall works. I called him back and told him that only the Home Depot workers were allowed to go back there. He complied knowing better than to mess with me in public.

Just then, two unsupervised boys about age seven came charging through acting like uncivilized barbarians. They jumped up on the display and wrestled around trying to shove each other into the pond. They climbed on top of the waterfall and behind it. They pulled the flags out of the putting greens and used them to sword fight. Sean sat off to the side and watched all of this wide-eyed with disbelief. I watched it all with disgust. I really wanted to collar them both, sit them down and enlighten them on finer points of proper public behavior. But they weren’t my kids.

Just then, a Home Depot sales clerk yelled at me from across the store in a chastising tone. “Hey lady! Get those two boys off that waterfall! They’re not supposed to be up there!”

I almost yelled back to her that they weren’t MY kids, but since it was a direct order, what could I do? I cleared my throat and readied myself for a smack down. I had my big bad mama speech all ready to go.

But then their oblivious parents showed up and called them away with not a word of correction. It was then that I realized that it wasn’t the kids that needed a smack down — it was the parents.

But there were two of them and they were much bigger than me.

And I didn’t I have my big bad judgmental shopper lady speech ready to go.

35 thoughts on “Family Of Four Narrowly Misses Smack Down At Home Depot. No One Injured.

  1. It usually is the parent’s fault when their kids won’t behave. It drives me nuts to see stuff like that. Not that my kids are the best behaved kids or anything but at least they don’t act like those 2 boys.

  2. Why worry yourself with the “what should I do”? Borrow my kid.

    When he was about 6 or so, J turned to a couple at the store (whose kids were way out of control) and said “Your kids sure misbehave alot. That’s not nice”.

    And yes, I smiled serenely and walked away slowly- hoping I didn’t get a kick in the patootie.

  3. I am really with you on this. But if you did try to speak with the barbarians, I suspect the parents would have been all over you. North Americans don’t usually interfere. In Spain, however, if you are seen to do something stupid, like push the kidlet’s stroller across an intersection against the warning light, someone will wag a finger at you. I would love to introduce finger wagging to where I live. I found it most chastening, although funny too.
    So is your post. Loved it.

  4. Yay for well-behaved children!! They’re a joy to be around. I had to “lay down the law” with my niece this weekend (nobody shoot me) and we ended today best of friends.

    Kelli, that is a super story!

  5. Okay, I am NOT the mom of those two boys, I only have one, and I consider him to be fairly well behaved, but “the poor man’s amusement park” is just that for a 7 year old boy. Yes, kids should know better — and most of them do — but I am mortified by my own child’s behavior in big stores like that and by the time I’ve said, “Get off the riding mower,” “Don’t crawl inside the washing machines”, and “that ladder isn’t for you to ride on” 58,000 times, a sword fight with putting green flags and shoving match next to a pond is just so par for the course and steam is rising from my ears and I am vowing never to bring this child with me ever again — I want to forget the correction and go straight for the tequila.

    Yes, I am a reformed judgemental shopper lady. I’m just trying to get get out of the store alive at this point.

  6. Ok, I nominated you for that Thinking Blogger award again. I know Shalee already nominated you once, but, well, you deserve to be nominated numerous times. I know that you are loaded down with nominations (Oh Great Queen Of All Things Technical and Literary) but what’s one more going to hurt?

  7. Oh, how I LOVE to see well-behaved (well-trained) children out in public, and I absolutely LOVE to hear their comments when they see some heathen acting out!!! Kids are soooo direct! Yes, all kids will misbehave at times in public, but the key is a good parent doesn’t let them get away with it. This past October we had our grandson, David Riley, with us at a Max and Erma’s restaurant. The children at the table next to us were throwing food and screaming. David Riley looked at us and in a 5 year old, outside voice, said, “I’m glad my mommy doesn’t let me act like that. That’s ugly!” Trust me, we are very glad his mommy doesn’t let him act like that either!

  8. We call Petco the mini-zoo. Very many hours of fun to be had there.

    I remember the first time I realized I WAS the mom-type person and I could correct other people’s kids who were out of line and they would listen to me because I was a big fat old mom-type. Very freaky.

  9. Another old mommy here – it IS the parents’ fault (not that my kid is so well-behaved in public), but I still would have had to clarify to the clerk that those boys weren’t mine. I hate hate hate being blamed for the behavior of others that had nothing to do with me (can you tell that it’s happened WAY too many times?)

  10. I hate seeing running amok like that, with no one around to keep them under control. When I worked in retail, there was a big seating area outside my store with fake trees and such and kids were always climbing on it, with not parents in sight. As a presumptious young person, I used to chastize the kids (not that they ever listened) because I could just see one falling off and cracking his head on the concrete floor of the mal– and the parents probably would have sued. I will just never get that image out of my head and so I think I’ll always be hyper aware of keeping The Boy in check in public. That’s my job after all, isn’t it? Why other parents don’t see it as their jobs is beyond me!

  11. There’s very little that bothers me more than children whose parents refuse to correct them. Even my own kids (7 & 11) will comment on others’ misbehavior. It’s not that they’re perfect, but they certainly know what’s expected of them and expect to hear about it if they even think about bending the rules a bit!

  12. After re-reading this post, it occurs to me that you may get the impression that Sean has never misbehaved in public. Of course he has and occassionally does. Kids are always trying to see what they can get away with. But I don’t tolerate it. I shut it down immediately. If I had two or three, maybe I would be less diligent. I suspect I would be less diligent. Because I would be even more tired than I am now. Childless people seem to have less tolerance for out of control kids and maybe because I was childless for so long, I’m just hypersensitive to the effect Sean might be having on people around us in stores and in restaurants. I don’t want Sean to be one of those kids that people can’t wait to get away from.

  13. I think it boils down to this… Kids misbehave. A lot. It’s in their nature. Sometimes as parents we get distracted and our kids see that as the most perfect moment to go insane. It happens. The real tragedy here is that the parents IGNORED it after it was brought to their attention. I have two boys, ten and seven, and what you descibed is not a stretch for my imagination. However where the story would differ is that my kids would be reprimanded and then dragged out to the car to wait for the other parent to finish shopping and then assigned an extra chore at home. (Getting the picture that this may have happened before?)

    Parents are doing their kids NO favors by letting them think that their behavior has no consequence. It’s an epidemic, ask any teacher who has taught for more that 10 years.

    Man, didn’t know I felt so strongly about it.

  14. AM, we know that ALL kids misbehave from time to time — it would be completely abnormal if they didn’t! The difference is, YOU nip it in the bud. The others we’re talking about here choose to turn the other cheek. Totally different! And I’m pretty sure, whether you had one child or five, you’d still have your rules and your children would know how to behave, bottom line.

  15. Having witnessed similar behavior in public, I know exactly what you are talking about with the parents who do nothing to correct their out-of-control and very rude children. Yes, it is the parents’ fault that the children behave in this way. Thank you for raising Sean to become a responsible person.

  16. Our family is all about the Poor Man’s Amusement Park. The book store to play with the train set, the pet store (although your pet store sounds way cooler than ours), the toy store to play with the little kitchen set that we’ll never be able to afford, Pottery Barn Kids to check out the adorable doll house… you get the picture. And just like you we try to be respectful of the store and the other shoppers, using our inside voice, putting things away if we get them out, and every once in a while buying something little from the store so we don’t feel like total cheapos.

    Sorry about your bad experience with those other boys. I guess I could make some general statement about boys, but really it’s the parents that should be ashamed of themselves.

  17. Not that my kids are impeccable — no, there’s plenty of peccing going on — but I do try to assert consistent guidance and keep them in line. More than once when we’ve observed other kids’ appalling behavior, I’ve loudly admonished my son and daughter: “You can’t do that. What those kids are doing is wrong and inappropriate,” thus conveying my message without having to endure a face-to-face confrontation.

  18. My children are far from perfectly behaved. . .HOWEVER, when they are with me, they are not to be out of eyesight OR arm’s length from me at any point in our sojourn. First of all, it’s not safe. Secondly, it is WAY too tempting when Parent A or B is not there to referee the anarchy. If my children were so far away that I couldn’t see them trying to wreck a display that costs more than I make in a year, then they would first have to pay the piper for being that far away. And I’d have to chastise MYSELF for being so distracted that I did not not see them GET that far away.

  19. This reminds me of a tv news story I saw about a family whose children were so completely out of control in a family-owned diner that the owner posted a notice saying that children had to be well-behaved inside the establishment and that it was the parents’ job to make sure this this was accomplished. Can you believe that some families were actually INSULTED that a restaurant would make such a demand? Of course you can…because those same people let their kids run amok at the Home Depot and you got to witness it. It’s one of my pet peeves…don’t get me started.

  20. Oh PLEASE have your judgemental Shopper Lady Mama speech ready to go!! Polish it up now in the privacy of your own, practice in front of the mirror, etc. Why? Because there are a LOT of badly-behaved kids out there whose parents think they can’t do anything about it, and I for one am too timid to make such a speech. I can live vicariously through you 🙂 Please?
    I will say that just about anytime I take my kids out in public, I get complimented on how they behave. Last summer, we took my 3 and Heather’s 6 kids (gulp!) to a pizza place in a part of town catering to the young and hip, not the old and married, specially not the old, married and a million kids. The waitress blanched when we walked in. And when we left, she couldn’t stop going on and on about how awesome our kids were. (Patting self on back now) I don’t mean to blow my own horn as it were, but the thing is, they weren’t that wonderful–just normal. It’s sad how remarkable that’s become.

  21. When we were child-free, we were having dinner out one night with our friends who had one child. The table behind us contained a child that did nothing but SCREAM. It parted our hair down the backs of our head. But my friends continued with their conversation as though they could actually HEAR. We were bewildered. Until we had 3 children. One of which is a screamer. We just get “take away” service now.

    It drives me insane to see kids running around willy nilly in public. Shame on the parents. I don’t have a good speech ready, but I’ve perfected the STARE DOWN.

  22. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now. I’m absolutely in LOVE with you and your family!!! This particular post has hit home for several reasons. I’m what some would refer to as a young mother, having my first at 22 and I’m now 29 and have three. I spend so much time trying to discipline my kids. My three year old daughter is presently the most willful and obstinate child I’ve ever met. I felt the same way about my now six year old son, whom, if I say so myself has turned out to be a very fine young man. All I can say is I try very hard not to judge what other parents do at one particular moment that I see them. I know what my days are like and it’s a roller coaster ride that I sometimes long desperately to jump off of, but in the end know it’s been SO much fun. My grandfather always said that “children aren’t going through anything that time won’t take care of.” I agree…so long as when they’re going through it, the proper guidance and behavior is dished out in heaping helpings. There are times in public situations where I’ve been so astonished with my children’s behavior that, with eyes welled with tears, I’ve had to collect myself before speaking to them. Although I let them know, on the spot, that what they’re doing isn’t OK. My family went to church with another family whose daughter threw awful temper tantrums, always interrupted, and gave her parents the dickens. Everyone fussed about her parents inability to control her. They spoke of how she just needed a good spanking(my parents included) Well, 20 years later and that little girl has grown to be kind, loving, and respectful. Had her parents constantly punished her behavior or spanked her as consistently as everyone suggested, who knows if she’d be the same? My point is this…I’ve experienced a great deal of judgement and a lack of support and understanding from other parents. I will admit that there are MANY kids being raised by parents who are fearful of proper discipline, but there are also many parents who discipline to tears, who have children with difficult temperaments, and who are doing their very best given the way they were raised. It’s difficult to tell sometimes what type of parent you’re looking at and it’s important to keep that in mind.

  23. BTW, I also wanted to state that I STILL love your blog and YOU! This was my way of venting my frustration with the difficulties of parenting. I was born and raised in the South and now live up North where I’m faced with a multitude of differences. My husband works 10 hour days and holds completely different parenting ideals from myself. That alone has been and continues to be a struggle. Thanks for allowing me to vent and sharing the beauty and difficulty of your experience!!!!

  24. Thank you April for that response. I have 4 children under 4 years of age, one of which has Sensory Integration Disorder and ADHD. Sometimes, things are not what they appear to be. My son has completely disgusting, embarrassing, unruly meltdowns in public and I have had the look from others that clearly says, “wow, you are a terrible mother, your kid is completely out of control” when in reality it is nothing more then my child being unable to cope with the situation he is in. There are for sure parents who just don’t care, and then there are some parents like myself who have spent plenty of car rides home from a public place crying because we feel like no one understands that this isn’t always a direct link to poor parenting. Not suggesting you are saying that Antique Mommy, just throwing it out there. It’s not always what it looks like. I always thought behaviour was directly linked with parenting, until I had a child with an invisible disability.

  25. So true on it being the parents fault — what were they doing running around without their parents, anyway?

    Oh — but I must say, I’m glad that I wasn’t drinking my soda when I read about the HD employee yelling to you and your thoughts on it. LOL Too funny!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *