Yesterday, I took my boys to the library to catch up on their summer reading prizes and pick up a couple requested Tiny Titan books for B. Then we grabbed some McDonald's (dollar menu sammich for B, 4 piece nuggets for G and for me, shared large fry and Sprite) and headed to Books-A-Million for their free "Safari Saturday" event.
We arrived about a half and hour early, so we perused the books. B asked if he could get one, but I told him no. I'm not made of money. I did tell him that if he found books he wanted, I'd check to see if they were available from our local library via the app on my smartphone and request them for him if they had them. He relented, and revised my depiction of myself as "awesome sauce" to the phone being "awesome sauce." Perhaps he was right.
We had a great time. G tried on hats, recounted memories of baby books, and excitedly hugged, "Don't turn that page!" Monster. B found a greatly-discounted pop up NASCAR book($4.97 from $30) that I was willing to purchase. I found a neat "Fact or Fiction" book.
At 2:02, I asked an associate where the event was taking place. He responded that it was being set up in the magazine aisle. I took the opportunity to purchase the book for B and a bag of candy for G. I also grabbed a discounted tall soy gingerbread latte with whipped cream for myself. Then we headed to the magazine aisle where we waited until 2:45.
During this time, B laid on the benches and floor. G kicked his brother. G sat on magazine stacks. When I asked him to move, he refused until I threatened to leave. The kid had been perched on an extensive stacks of wedding magazines I did not want to purchase. Finally, a lady employee pulled together two benches and looked ready to begin reading Curious George Visits the Zoo. I love that book. I summoned my boys. B remained sprawled out on the floor and G walked up to his brother and kicked him in the gut.
Unexpectedly, the last straw broke for me. I quietly announced to my sons that we were leaving, gathered my items, and walked through the store. G followed, screaming and crying that he did not want to leave. B remained in the magazine aisle until I was halfway through the store. I suppose he realized then that I had meant it.
I don't write this to ask for praise. I write this as a reminder to myself. I should have nipped this behavior in the bud days ago, when G colored on the Post Office floor with crayon, or when B wound the noisy busy box in the library over and over and over after I'd told him to stop. Sometimes, I let things go too long. I know the importance of "choosing my battles", but sometimes I take that too far! What had really kept me in Books-A-Million too long was my desire to hear stories and to make a free animal puppet. The "last straw" made me realize that all these enriching activities mean nothing if I'm raising my sons to be spoiled brats.
So we left. I refused to yell. I asked them, in the car, why they acted so poorly in public. I brought up the coloring, running, laying on the floor, and the busy box incident. Neither said a word. Finally, B spoke up, "We just want to have fun." I replied that being disrespected by my kids was not fun. I explained that it was not "fun" for strangers to think that they were brats and that I was a bad mom. He cried. I cried. Then I told him he owed me an apology when he felt remorse. And I dropped it.
B did apologize. There are several events this week, and I told them they'd have to prove themselves to me if they wanted to attend. I am so blessed to have their godmother, who will willingly watch those who can't behave. Now to stick to my plan. That fine line of understanding and enabling is the toughest part of parenting.