Wednesday, September 19, 2012
What I Think About: Target and Parenting (CSI Edition)
CSI: The Parenting Edition
The Crime Scene: The check out line at Target on Sunday mid-morning
The Accomplice: One of those horrible kids' carts where the kids sit facing each other and the basket is in front of them. Obviously designed by someone with an evil sense of humor who had a bad childhood and, at present, has no children. Seriously, these carts are a tool of Satan but I digress.
The Crime: My 3 year old son was standing on the seat of the cart (this is the kids' seat. Not in the basket. He was about 2 feet off the ground) while the cart was NOT moving and we were checking out. Said criminal was holding onto the handle and watching the scanner/check out process.
The CSI Re-cap: Child was standing. Check out clerk told him (in a not so nice tone), "You have to sit down or get out of there!"
Mother, swipping debit card, calmly looks at child (still just standing there) and at clerk. Mother then smiles and says, "He's okay." (Mother is also thinking: if you physically remove my child from that cart, my mean protective mother streak is probably going to freak out. And then you'll get a strongly written note from my attorney husband explaining why touching my child was a big, bad, idea!)
Clerk (more irritated than before, if possible): Standing on those seats is against store policy. He has to get down.
Mother (still nice and calm but smile is fading): "Um, we aren't moving and he's just standing there. He's okay."
Clerk (turning Target red): "Well, it's my job to keep him safe."
Mother (calmly and firmly): "No. I am his mother. It is my job to keep him safe."
Clerk (starting to sweat): "Well if my manager comes out here ..."
Mother (putting purchased items back in unmoving cart): "If your manager comes over here I will explain to her that I am responsible for this child and I will parent him. If he is in danger I will protect him. Thank you and have a nice day."
Criminals flee the crime scene
Here's the thing, I understand the check out clerk's intentions. She wanted my son safe. Here's the thing though. He's MY child. Had she said, "Would you please have him get down? He is making me nervous." I would have happily obliged.
But she didn't.
She tried to parent my son.
My son who I ask not to talk to strangers.
My son who I tell to NOT always listen to strangers (because I don't ever want him following this advice: "Your mom told me to pick you up so go ahead and get in my car"--even if you don't know me ...).
My son who was standing on a seat (like he does at our dinner table), not moving, highly interested in the check out process. (Scandalous as this may be, he was not throwing an epic meltdown disturbing the masses. Target has no policies against that behavior, given the nature of the kids in line behind us).
He was not in danger. He was not putting others in danger. When he has been in danger, or put others in danger, I STEP IN. Because he is my child and I want him safe. Because he is my child and I don't want him to hurt others.
He is MY child. I will parent him.
So folks, if you see some kids who are about to harm your kid, please do what you need to do to defend and protect your child.
If you see another child about ready to put himself in harm's way--serious harm, like drinking ring cleaner fluid or stepping out in front of a car--do what you can to prevent a catastrophe.
But if some parent isn't keeping their child as tied down and protected as you keep yours, allow that parent some grace. If you must say something, say it (calmly) to the parent, not the child. There are many ways to parent. Yours is not the right way. Neither is mine.
I will parent my children. I will let you parent your children. End of story.
What I think is that I will parent my children my way, with or without the blessing of the Target checkout clerk.
(And BTW, I totally let my 3 year old ride the cart clear to the car standing up. *GASP*!) Thanks, Shell!