If looks could kill, I'd be in trouble.
Trips to Sam's Club (or any store, really, but mostly Sams) with all three boys (ages 5, 3, and 2) usually go either really well (rarely) or really poorly. There are just so many wide open aisles, beckoning to young active boys. Yesterday's trip was an absolute train-wreck.
It didn't start out that badly. We talked about proper behavior in the store. My three-year old was actually holding on to the cart, and he said, "Mom, I guess I'll just obey you. I guess I won't run in the store." My two-year old was strapped into the cart. That is, until we were nearing the end, and he decided he was at his end and started working on getting out. He figured out he can turn himself around and wiggle out of the strap, then attempt to climb over the edge of the cart. So I thought a little walking wouldn't hurt, right? Wrong.
My two and three-year olds, partners in crime that they are, decided it would be more fun to get a cardio workout in Sam's than to remember the initial promise to obey Mom. As I was picking out a bag of apples (looking down), they ran off over by the milk case, opened the doors, and tried to climb the shelves. My five-year old, acting the part of a border collie, ran over to give me the play-by-play of what they were doing. So I retrieved them, scolded them, and proceeded to grab the last few things on my list over by the meat department.
The problem with this was there was a sample stand nearby. It was a good sample. As I was checking out the prices on the items in the deli cases near the sample stand, the two ran off again. I didn't notice immediately, since again, I was looking down. However, the fact that the sample lady had turned around and was glaring at me told me something was definitely up. I went to investigate. Sure enough, the boys were an aisle over, sitting on the metal bar running the length of the deli case--that is, when they weren't walking on it, practicing their tightrope act for the circus.
From there, we went straight to check out. My three-year old wanted to help me unload the cart. No problem, right? A way to keep him busy, I figured. It was working beautifully until he wanted to help me unload the eggs and put them on the belt--all by himself. Way too risky. So I told him no, and he proceeded to throw a temper tantrum. A real big one, right there in the checkout lane. What can you do when you're in the checkout lane with your groceries going down the conveyor belt? I did the only thing I could do at that moment: I picked up both of the boys and strapped them in the shopping cart (at least it was a double).
As if his behavior wasn't embarrassing enough, the couple behind me in line just gave me that glare. It's hard to describe it if you haven't ever received it. It's a deadly look, really. Without words, it says so much: disapproval, disdain, disgust. The whole situation brought tears to me eyes. Yes, I was embarrassed. Yes, I knew my son wasn't behaving well. Yes, I dealt with it. But not in the checkout lane.
Why do people have to give those kinds of looks in stores? What can we as moms do about it? I heard a great line once--you could say, loudly, "Your mom is going to be so disappointed when I tell her about the way you're behaving." At least then, the onlookers will have sympathy for you--"She's just the nanny," they'll think. "Poor girl." But if you're the mom, different story. You get the "What an awful mother. What undisciplined, bratty kids. What is happening to this generation of parents?"
All I can suggest is--if you're at the store and it happens to someone else, please don't glare. Please smile instead, sympathetically. It may be just the wee bit of encouragement that mom needs right then. If you're in checkout, offer to help her unload her groceries.
And if you're at Sam's Club, remember to always strap the kids in the cart, and never look down.