Well I did it again. I went Christmas shopping, only this time it was for an upcoming party we're hosting and various little odds and ends for wrapping and decorating. The supermarket was my first stop on today's jaunt. I love the way it smells this time of year, like cinnamon, coffee and fresh-baked pastries.
I strolled the aisles, working off of my carefully prepared list and picking up anything and everything else that struck my fancy. I am a terrible shopper. I am the one that marketers target – the impulse shopper who buys emotionally. I was one or two aisles away from the Christmas section, the one with tons of candy and plastic gadgets that look like Santa and snowmen and elves. Haha I love it. Tacky but hypnotic. Anyway, just as I rounded the corner to be thrilled by the newest additions to the junk that you just can't live without, my reverie was pierced by the most ear-splitting shriek I do believe I've ever heard. It was the kind that makes you squint your eyes and clap your hands over your ears in an attempt to keep your brain from being jarred loose.
When the pain subsided, I lowered my hands and saw a tiny little boy, no more than 2 years old, spinning around on the floor and shouting at his mom between primal shrieks, tears soaking his little "Santa, let me explain" sweatshirt. "I WANT it mommy, I WANT it!!" He looked like a break-dancer on crack. That didn't bother me so much as what Mom did next; a kid'll only do what he can get away with, right?
Mom scrunched down on the floor beside little Junior and began explaining all the 10 or so reasons it wouldn't be a good idea to purchase whatever the little angel was demanding. Have you ever tried explaining something to a screaming 2-year-old? It can't be done, I don't care what anyone says. They get themselves so spun up that no one can get through to them; you just have to let them come down from that tiny little rage, then try to make contact. Junior was having none of it. The more she "reasoned," the louder he screamed. He was building to that ear-splitting crescendo again, and I freed up my hands just in case I'd have to protect my ears a second time.
"Please honey, listen to Mommy. You know Mommy loves you," Mom dripped, completely unaware of the onlookers raising their eyebrows and shaking their heads. All of us gawkers were obviously older, more battle-savvy parents. A teenager or two just stepped over them both, made snide remarks about never having kids, and went on about their shopping. Mom tried to pick her little angel up, but he was literally kicking, screaming and squirming so much that she couldn't get a good grip on him. She dropped him twice (no, he wasn't hurt), and he never missed a beat with his tantrum. You could tell this kid had the routine down pat.
Mom finally got her little demon-seed seated in the front of the bascart with his little legs kicking her, his little hands pummeling her like a windmill. He wanted to make meaningful contact with her face, that much was certain. I was waiting for his little head to spin around while barfing pea soup all over the merchandise. And the piece de resistance in this little mini-drama? When it looked like Junior was getting a grip on himself (he was hiccupping and sniffing – we all know that stage of a hissy-fit), Mom said, "There now, see? You're being such a big boy, I'm going to get this for you." And she plopped the coveted trinket into his chubby, filthy little hands. He immediately dried up the tears, the hiccups stopped, and he had a little smile on his face that said, "Works every time."
Must be her first.
Kid – 1, Mom – 0.
Oh, and by the time the two made it to the checkout line, Junior had chucked the toy into the back of the cart and was whining for candy. Everyone got ready to cover their ears again. This kid was clearly a pro.