Lakin is a lovely child. Like really cute and fun and lovable. She also has a little mind of her own and can be quite impatient when she's forced to do something she's not all that interested in doing. She is almost two and we're feeling it.
Our latest point of contention is that devil of a seat in the shopping cart. Target, a place that typically brings me great serenity and joy, has become my arch nemesis. Since the girl has legs and she knows how to walk, she wants to do it everywhere we go. "I walk, I WALK!" The problem is, when Lakin walks she's pretty unpredictable. I don't always have time to stop with her as she examines every speck on the floor and picks up items from the lower shelves to touch and look at. It slows down the process. She also has yet to completely prove that she can obediently listen when I ask her to stay with me. We always start off strong. She might even hold my hand to give me the false confidence that this shopping trip will be different. Then she sees something that catches her eye and she's off. I am forced to quickly push the cart in pursuit of her and left feeling regretful that I gave her the freedom to walk beside me in the first place. Yes, we have some work to do in this department.
So typically it's into the cart she goes and she must be buckled because she likes to stand up and lie down sideways in the seat. Mostly because she knows it's dangerous and it drives me crazy.
If I am taking too long, she whines which begins as small protests and can easily grow into a scene. Friday morning we were picking up our groceries and she began the tirade. I ignored and kept about my business. I'm getting thicker skin and not so worried about patrons around us and their opinions. I am learning that all she wants is attention and a lot of times ignoring the behavior is enough to end it.
But every grandmother who passes by gives her puppy dog eyes and shoots glares at me. Store clerks attempt to cheer her up and make comforting comments. Men move further from us and moms with smaller children in their carts (who are behaving perfectly) give a little self-righteous humpf as they pass us in the soup aisle. It's okay, I was that judgmental mom a few months ago when Lakin couldn't talk and a couple of rings hanging from the cart was enough to mesmerize her mind through an entire shopping trip complete with loitering in the clearance section. Don't worry Momma, your time will come too.
After an insufferable trip we finally make it to check out. Our sales associate is all of fifteen. He's checked us out before and he likes to comment on the things we're buying. I try to avoid him at all costs but desperate times call for desperate measures and my mission is to get out of this place asap. Lakin is really hamming it up, whining and begging to get out of the cart. I'm stone faced, seething inside and reminding myself that she's two- well, almost. The well-meaning clerk sees our predicament and in an effort to help, offers a sticker to my daughter. My responses is an icy, "I don't think we've earned a sticker today." Both Lakin and the clerk look deflated. This sets off a whole new set of whining about the stupid Target sticker that Lakin is now missing out on.
We get to the car where I load Lakin and our groceries up and proceed to speak sternly to her about her behavior and choices in the store. We make it home in under an hour but are all traumatized.
How did we get here and how to we move forward? Why is it when you're trying to teach your children right from wrong well-intentioned people get in the way? When we leave the gym daycare and I ask Lakin to clean up the toys she was playing with, the staff always excuse it and tell her it's no problem. When Lakin gets crazy greedy eyes and snatches toys from friends while screaming "MINE," the victimized parent tries to laugh the behavior off and interest their child in another toy so mine doesn't have to apologize and give the toy back. Target clerks try to appease my child when she's being unruly in an effort to get her to stop- only reinforcing the attention-seeking, bad behavior. I mean, help a sister out!
We're in the heat of discipline. It takes a village. My village includes Target employees. All I'm asking is for a little support.
And then I found $5.