I wrote this post for Chicago Moms Blog originally. It's a rerun, but it's been a really busy week and I'm so tired. I tried writing a blog post, but when I reread it, it didn't make any sense. It's not a good idea to blog when you're half-asleep. So here's a rerun, but unless you read Chicago Moms Blog, it'll probably be new to you.
I took two of my boys shopping yesterday. I'm pretty sure taking your sons shopping is considered torture by The Geneva Convention and Amnesty International. Anyway, I went to their store of choice, Sports Authority, because one can never have too many basketballs, hockey sticks, or baseball gloves. After spending a small fortune on the equipment that will one day land them a huge scholarship (hey, it's my fantasy!), I dragged them to a party store to get some decorations and tableware for their sisters' upcoming birthday parties.
As we walked in the party store, I noticed they were having a remodeling sale. Of course, I pushed my cart up and down every single aisle. I mean, things were on SALE after all! All the while my boys trudged behind me, complaining that they were bored. Looking at the glazed looks on my boys’ faces, I tore myself away from the shelves of items on clearance.
"I'm sorry, boys," I said as I set my mind to the task at hand. Decorations for the girls' parties. That's it. Let's go!
My six-year-old, Clay, saw some baskets of balloons you could buy deflated or have the store fill with helium for you.
"Can I have a balloon, Mom? Pleeeeease?"
"No, we're on a mission to get the decorations for the girls' birthday parties. We have no money for other things."
I finished my shopping, checked out, and went to three more stores. The last stop was at a shoe store so I could get Jackson his millionth pair of shoes for the year. (I don't know anyone as hard on shoes as that kid.) As I stood in line paying for the shoes, I realized that Clay was holding something in his hand.
"What do you have?"
Jackson pried Clay's fingers open and pulled out a balloon. The balloon I told him he couldn't get at the party store. A balloon he (gasp) STOLE! Oh great, my son's a thief. What to do? We were tired from running around all day. We were thirsty. We were finally done with our errands. I wanted to go home. The sensible part of me said It's JUST a balloon, for crying out loud. Tell him to never do it again and go home!
But the "Must Teach Kids Right From Wrong At All Costs" mom in me said You can't let this go. Yeah, it's just a balloon this time, but what's next? Where does it end? First it's a balloon, next it's a flat screen TV, then a Maserati. Next thing you know, he's knocking off a liquor store.
So, I drove back to the party store, made Clay return the balloon and tell the cashier that he'd stolen it and was very sorry. The cashier said something along the lines of, "That's great that you came back and told the truth! It's ok!" I wanted to slap her. It's not ok! Why couldn't she have given him a lecture on the evils of stealing and threaten to call the police and have him locked up? You know, to scare the snot out of him to make him remember the lesson.
Oh well, all's well that ends well. I just hope I never have to bake a cake with a file in it.