Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Walmart Oath

When I was pregnant with my first child,

I would carefully observe other moms

in a store like Walmart or Target.

These moms probably were pretty at some point.

They might have had light in their eyes

a few months ago,

But now their eyes were glazed over

and their faces were twisted into

an expression that can only be described as

a mix of an anger, frustration

confusion and sleep exhaustion.

The one thing these moms all had in common

was a little person or two
or three in tow.

These little people had long since outgrown

the glory days of their bassinets and booties

and now doned light up tennis shoes
and the beginnings of one or two adult teeth.

They were curious two year olds, demanding four year olds

and often know it all seven year olds.

The tiredest of moms had a combination of all three

with her at one time.

I'd see these women,

but I didn't really seeeeee them.

I would pat my belly and smile

thinking I was way smarter than they were

and that I would never be dragging a screaming child

whose legs had turned to jello

down the frozen food aisle.

Never would my little cherub go into public

wearing pajamas, or a costume of any sort, or mismatched socks.

They'd never pull down displays,
scream for candy at the top of their lungs

or stick their tongues out at little old ladies

who came up to pinch their cheeks.


My parenting skills would combat all of this.

After all I had read dozens of books

and had done my research on

how to raise delightful children.

It didn't take long for my bubble to burst.

I actually held it together pretty well with the

first little guy.
Except for a few knock down drag outs over
what fast food restaurant
we would go to
I'd say we had a pretty smooth first 20 months or so.
The addition of my second son brought

a little bit more of a challenge

because now I was out numbered.

During my days of wrangling my two little lion cubs,

we only had a few near unconscious grocery cart plunges,

about a million toy aisle freak outs,

some candy aisle fit throwing

and one or two display topples.

And I had read books!

Imagine how bad it would have been

had I not been well read!

Enter Princess number one.

She was such a good little baby,

and by "good" I mean

that I could bring her into the house in her carseat

and set her on the floor in the foyer

and she would not utter a peep until I had unloaded and put away

4.8 million bags of groceries.

That's good in my book!

But with the addition of baby number three

came the twisted face.

Inevitably, I was that mom in the store

with her hair thrown up in a ponytail

wearing a t-shirt and jeans,
chasing after three very mobile kids

and saying the same few phrases over and over.

"Don't touch that!"

"Get over here right now!"

"Don't throw that apple!"

"Stop pulling your sister's hair!"

"You are not gonna get a prize

if you don't staighten up!"

That last one works everytime I might add.

Well, if you say it 14 times in each aisle,

they will straighten up as soon as you buy the prize.
Somewhere along the line,
I stopped trying to be the perfect mother
with the most well behaved children
and just started enjoying them,
praying ALOT
and having a sense of humor.
When we were free of most of the antics
of my first three,
my husband and I decided that it would be
to have one single baby on the tail end
of our reproductive years
(and by "end" I mean early 30's).
Just one little bundle to shower with love
and attention while the other three began to develope
interests of their own apart from mom and dad.
Enter Brendell.
You'd think,
being the veteran mom that I am,
that I would have shed my delusions over
how my child would be.
I imagined a little tu-tu clad princess
with golden ringletts
who was loved and adored by her older siblings.
Yeah, that lasted for approximately 21.5 months
and then her will kicked in!
Suddenly I found myself
"that mom" in the supermarket again.
Only this time,
I wasn't as spry as I had been in my twenties
and it only took one little tyrant
to twist my face up!
It took me a few years,
okay 7 years and a couple months,
but I suddenly was hit with a stroke of genius.
I developed
"The Walmart Oath".
Any store can be substituted,
because we all know that children are not
descretionary when it comes to where
they decide to throw a fit,
but Walmart seemed relateable to most moms.

Here is my sweet Princess Brendell Faith.

Darling isn't she?

But if I am not careful,


can turn into this....

which very quickly spirals down

to this.......

So to avoid public displays of

seven year old drama,

I have employed

"The Walmart Oath"

which Brendell must recite once

before we leave the house on any

shopping excursion

and twice if she's tired.

"I, Brendell Faith Cleary
do promise, promise, promise
to behave like a lady in the store.
I will not throw a fit, cross my arms,
stomp my foot,
give the stink eye,
stick out my tongue,
ask for something more than once,
roll my eyes,
annoy my siblings,
walk off in a huff,
cry, complain, whine,
sulk or pout.
I will walk beside my mom
and happily help her when she asks me to.
So help me
Hannah Montanna, Taylor Swift
and iCarly.
(God just seemed too sacred to use
in jest)

Sometimes it works
sometimes it doesn't.

The end.


Jennifer Likes Photography said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE...I couldn't have said it better.

Larisa said...

This should be a pamphlet that gets handed out to each new mother in the hospital to take home and read when they have their own delusions of perfection :-)

Cristie :) said...

I totally agree with Larisa! On 2nd thought, you should write a book, a book chopped full of r-e-a-l-i-t-y! That would have been nice for many new parents. =)

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