Here is a fun fact for your day: Did you know that certain…ahem, adult toys are illegal in Texas? Why do I know this? Because my 12-year old daughter announced it to me in the middle of Costco after reading it in a book of random facts that was located in the mega-warehouse store’s book section. She then inquired about the nature of said adult toys.
Now, most parents would probably react calmly and intelligently, and provide an age-appropriate answer and move on with a distraction technique.
But I tend more towards parenting flails than parenting calmness and intelligence. Therefore, momentarily flustered, I replied “I don’t know.”
Because she continued her questioning and discussion of Texas laws. In her loud, carrying voice. With other people around.
My husband pretended he didn’t hear her.
So I took her aside, reminded her about inside voices, and provided her with a vague explanation. (I believe my answer was “a sex thing.”)
That was enough of an explanation for her; she immediately cut me off from continuing. Because what 12 year old girl doesn’t want to talk about sex and masturbation with her mom in the middle of Costco? Or anywhere?
Costco is a great place to observe a wide variety of parenting styles. For one, it seems to be the place for a Saturday afternoon family outing. The family that buys five hundred rolls of toilet paper together, stays together.
I’ve seen it all, from the spoiled, perfect princess who can do no wrong, to the out-of-control kindergartners who get away with murder because mom and dad are ready to yank the hair out of their heads, or give up and curl into a fetal position (I remember the feeling well).
I admire the folks that lug around the strollers and car seat carriers while tossing 50-pound bags of oatmeal into their carts. I’m not sure I ventured further than my mailbox for several years after giving birth.
My kids are now old enough to know — most of the time — what acceptable public behavior is, so taking them shopping isn’t really that big of a deal. They’re generally well-behaved despite the constant complaining that they’d rather be at home or literally anywhere else. I can usually let them go off by themselves to do their own thing. (Note to self: Except the book section at Costco.)
I’ve treasured every stage and age of my children's developments, but I’m a bit relieved that I’m finished with the screaming toddler stage. Or the whiny 8-year old stage. Because older kids are generally better behaved. Right?
Occasionally, my inner judgmental self will feel quite smug toward other parents when I observe their kids acting out while mine are acting perfectly angelic.
Of course, that’s about the time the Universe knocks me down a few steps off my pedestal.
Take the mom in the checkout line over from ours this morning. She had 6 children, all who appeared to be under the age of 10, accompanying her. She was carrying the youngest in her arms. Each and every one of the kids was perfectly behaved as the cashier scanned their items, mom paid for the groceries, and they exited the store.
I watched this very surreal scene with my mouth agape while my tween daughter was rolling her eyes at me all angsty-like, and my teen son was making “your mom” jokes.