It was Sunday, 5.30pm. I’d taken my two oldest cherubs to the library and the grocery store. We’d meandered through the aisles of the Superstore and gathered a collection of random items. Ketchup. Strawberries. Juice. Cheese. Straws. And then we made our way to the checkout.
One of my boy-children began unloading the cart. He took a pack of straws and tossed them onto the conveyor belt. It was a careless act that caused the pack-of-100-straws to sail across the ‘order divider’; landing on the order of the customer in front of us.
I don’t really like for my kids to throw things around, or mess with other people’s stuff, so I reprimanded the guilty party for tossing the straws. Audibly. The customer ahead of us, a woman in her sixties, who’d already ridiculed my other boy-child for being upset that the straws in his pack were falling out of the package, (‘oh, what’s the big deal!) picked up the errant item and placed it back in our cart.
‘I don’t think your Mommy appreciates what you just did,’ she admonished my boy in a deliberately measured tone while gazing into his eyes. So that every ounce of humiliation and shame she was sending his way would penetrate. Thoroughly and completely.
It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when other adults parent my child(ren)….while I’m in the process of parenting said child (or immediately afterwards.) If my kid[s] are out of line and I didn’t notice, sure, feel free to speak up. But if I’ve already addressed the matter, already chided-corrected, feel free to let it go.
Unless, of course, you enjoy watching shamed-humiliated children sob for fifteen minutes…..because their packet of straws touched your groceries.
Shame on me for not speaking up.