It puts a lump in my throat to say this: my oldest daughter is starting preschool this year. She is 3 years old and will go to class two days a week for half of the day. I know that she will absolutely love playing with kids her own age and learning new and exciting things. She is like a sponge, soaking up everything around her and banking it for later use.
After receiving her school supply list in the mail, we set a date to do some school shopping. My mom volunteered to go along to help with both of the girls. Some outings go great with the girls. They listen, stay entertained with what is going on around them and don’t throw fits that make me want to pull my hair out. This was not one of those outings.
It started out well with a nice car ride to get to the mall. Even the first store wasn’t bad. It was tax-free weekend, so the lines were extra long, and the girls’ patience was being put to the test. By the second store, we had one meltdown. My oldest didn’t want to go to the next store and sat down in protest. She wasn’t very loud, but the tears started flowing as I picked her up, and we left the store.
We decided to get lunch next. My husband and I try to take the kids out as much as we can because we don’t want it to be a spectacle every time we go out in public. We have had pretty good luck so far with the girls coloring and getting their food quick enough to not cause any scenes. After picking a restaurant, we went inside and sat down, got the colors out and started to look at the menu. The restaurant was fairly empty, and the girls had made their way to an empty booth to jump in it like a trampoline. That was not OK with me, but it was definitely not OK with them to have to stop. We had a full out screaming cry from my youngest, enough to exit for a while to calm down. Luckily, the food arrived when we came back in, and the rest of the meal went on without incident.
The next stop was the mall, where the girls have been many times. Almost as soon as we entered, the girls saw an escalator, and the trip was done. We went up and down them once, hoping they would be appeased. They were not and were sure to let us know. Between running away, crying and throwing themselves on the floor (my youngest’s specialty), we had only been to two stores and were exiting the mall.
In order to keep my sanity, we bypassed the rest of the trip for another day. I did score some great deals and walked away with a bunch of new school clothes and shoes for my oldest.
I would say that nine out of 10 times my kids behave well and don’t cause any major problems during our outings. I know not to expect perfection from a 3-year-old and 1-year-old, especially if we are going to a store full of distractions and temptations. There have been many times that I go on my own with the girls and come back unscathed.
It has always been a comfort to me, though, to hear stories from other parents about when their child was misbehaving some way or another. It helps me to realize that my kids are normal and behave just like all of the other kids their age.
Contact Staff Writer Jamee A. Pierson at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.