Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tears And Fears Of A Parent (or should I buy it to shut her up?)

I had two stops to make before I picked Lola up from daycare. Red wine for the beef soup and butternut squash and fresh thyme was also on my list. I had planned on doing both before getting Lo. Time was not on my side. I stopped at the wine store for the red and looking at the clock in the car, decided to head to the grocery store after procuring my precocious blondie.

Lola is spoiled. Hard core spoiled. It's my fault. She's a loving, compassionate, creative, affectionate manipulator who can get her way with a bat of her dark lashes and pursed ruby cherub lips. On a whim I pick up coloring books, stickers, things that give her face that "Oh mommy, I love you!" glow. I grew up not dare whining or pouting at the grocery store surrounded by eye level metal row upon row of the most amazing magical candies. I remember at a party my parents were hosting saying "When I grow up, I'm going to buy my own Cheetos Corn Chips!"

I illegally procured a pack of Life Savers grocery shopping with my mother. I may have been 5. I sat in the back of her Chevy Malibu happily unwrapping the candy. I was promptly marched back to the store and made my heartfelt apology to the store manager.

I buckle Lola into her seat and tell her we have to stop at the store for just a FEW things. She skips alongside the cart as we roll down the isle. "Can I have a Crunch Bar?" NO. "Mommy, please I beg you, have mercy, just a doughnut?" NO! Her voice notches up a few decibels. "Mom, just a Munchkin and I promise I won't ask anymore!" This high stakes bargaining from a 4 year old.

Tears are streaming down her face. She's starting to break out into hives on her cheeks. I tell her through gritted teeth "Mom says no, you can't have a snack every time we go somewhere. I said no and I don't want you to ask me again." Her whiny reply "But Mom, you always buy me something!" Yes, I've stepped in a steamy pile of it this time. "Lola, listen to Mom, If I buy you something special every time we go shopping then it won't seem special anymore."

People are giving me "that look." That look when a kid is being a brat and making a spectacle of her mother. I wore Sean's old sweatshirt and hadn't brushed my hair since 7:30 this morning. I may have looked a bit haggy, adding to my mean mommy mystique. The looks I was getting from the produce boy made me believe I was poking her with a hot stick.

Gibson is now crying because Lola is crying. I take a few deep breaths and grab the Worcestershire sauce and grated Pecornio Romano Cheese. Why do I take her tantrums personally? Why do I engage her in a verbal throw down. Voices of my mother come out of my mouth, all unhinged and booming. I must remain calm. Oh crap, I forgot the beef broth!

We make it to the check out isle. Gibson is pulling quarters and pennies from a donation cup on the counter. "Why can't I get anything?" She spies a Nick Jr magazine. "Can I have this?" No. I feel calm and in control. Her pitiful mewing is bouncing off my cold cold heart. As we walk out we pass the in store bank. I think maybe I'll grab her a lollipop. No, that would defeat my purpose. Not every trip to the store should result in a prize, toy, or candy just because she's gnashing and wailing.

She's still fussing in the backseat but the storm has past and just a few tears remain. I offer her a mini raisin bagel and milk as an after school snack with a side of SpongeBob. Gibson is having strawberries. "Mom I just want a huggie. I'm sorry I was hard at the store." Does she realize she was? Is she just mimicking what I have said to her? Does she understand how much I love her and want to see her as a happy kid, teen, well adjusted adult? I'm getting ahead of myself. She just wants to climb into my lap and have her back scratched and watch her cartoons.

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