Friday, February 7, 2014

Get that kid on a leash

I feel like I haven't seen this in a while, but about 10 years ago-- long before I had kids-- I remember there was a decently long phase of kid-leashing going on... which mortified me.  I was especially upset by the cute little backpack leashes, where they tried to make this barbaric custom look more socially acceptable by putting a teddy bear pack at the other end of that choke rope.

But those are the thoughts and concerns of a rational, reasonable, kind, empathetic onlooker-- one who DOESN'T have kids.  Now that I have a crazy, unruly little hooligan running around, it's a much different story.

This lady?

How dare they judge her!  Clearly her kid DOES need to be on a leash.  Maybe she is a good parent, because her kid was about to run into oncoming traffic and she stopped his ungrateful little tush.

Can you tell where I'm going with this?

Yes, it is time for Brendan to have a leash of his own.  It's happening, and I refuse to feel like a bad person because of it.

Let me tell you a little story about what happens when your 2-year-old won't get into a stroller or shopping cart and you don't have that "cruel" harness to strap him into...

It started out as a day like any other...

Matt was at work and I had to return/ exchange a couple of things at Target.  Now, let me back it up a second and preface this story with the fact that I have already learned my lesson to avoid shopping with Brendan whenever possible.  And I do.  I order all of my groceries from Peapod and I always wait until a Sunday when I know Matt will be able to watch the kids before making a Target excursion.  However, I am always rushed wherever I go and end up having to take things back later.

My rule is that if we are talking less than 5 items, I will be crazy enough to attempt running that errand with Brendan in tow.  Horrible rule.  That rule definitely needs to be changed, effective immediately.

Anyhoo,  I had to return 3 items and buy 1 new thing.  Sounds easy enough, right?  So the return went pretty smoothly, considering all I needed to do was place the items on the counter and wait for her to print the receipt with my credited amount on it.  (Although Brendan did spend that entire minute and a half attempting to climb on a huge dolly carrying boxes of inventory and trying to see how far he could jump off of it.)  

Then it was off to buy that one t-shirt.  I had gotten the wrong size, so I simply needed to go back to that section and find the right size.  Brendan refused to let me hold him and wanted to stand on his own.  So as I was fishing through the rack for that shirt, B decides to take off.  Not just "I'm bored, so I'm going to wander over to this necklace counter," no no.  It was "I'm in the mood to do a 50 yard dash-- how about you?"

So I attempt to throw the shirts back on the rack and grab Niall's arm to start chasing him.  But as soon as I turned the corner, he was gone.  I was a little bit confused, because I was only a hot second behind him, but not yet hugely concerned.  I turn the next corner and peek down that aisle.  Now I'm starting to sweat a little. The next aisle-- nothin.

At this point, I had that wave of panic tingle over me.  I remember very distinctly, that exact moment where I realized that too much time had passed and he was really gone.  It was like one second, I was chasing after him, just slightly annoyed and the next second, I didn't know what to do-- do I grab an employee and have him/her block all the exits, do I run to the escalator to make sure he isn't going upstairs, do I check the ends of each aisle to see if he is hiding or is that wasting too much time if he has gotten further into the next section??  Meanwhile, I have Niall with me!

So I start screaming (and I really mean screaming: "BRENDAN!!!!").  Everyone in Target has now stopped what they were doing and are just staring at me.  "Have you seen a 2 year old?!?", I would frantically ask every befuddled face who looked in my direction.  I don't even know what people's responses were, I could just see the answer in their face and kept moving.  Finally, a really nice woman came up to me, as calm as could be, and asked how she could help.

...Commence another potential disaster:  "Can you watch my 4 year old?"  It was legitimately my only shot at finding Brendan.  I couldn't lug Niall around by his shoulder socket, dragging him down every aisle if I was going to find this kid.  I needed to sprint and I needed to do it alone.  Thank God she turned out to be a really nice person, and because of her I was actually able to quickly make my way to where the little devil was hiding out, HALF WAY ACROSS THE STORE.  I would have run right past him, except that 2 ladies had heard my screaming and pointed out that he was standing between 2 long coats, laughing like a little hyena.

When I saw him, I didn't know whether to hug him or punch him in the face.  So I chose to hug him (for the time being).   As I was running back to the other side of the store to make sure my other child hadn't disappeared, I kept whispering in his ear "You don't EVER run away from Mommy!  EVER!", to which he replied in the sweetest, most genuine little voice "I missed you!".  It was only the fact that I was now standing in front of the woman who was taking care of my other child that kept me from punching him in the face this time.

And so it goes, the most important lessons in life are always learned the hard way.  But this mom knows what she will be purchasing the next time she walks into Target (undoubtedly, without any children by her side)...

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