Before I start this, I'd like to say that generally the boy is well behaved and listens when we are in public. We've taken him to art galleries, fancy restaurants, and more, and have often been told how nice he is and what good manners he has. But being a toddler, this can all go out the window in an instant.
We were out and about shopping today, and I knew the boy was starting to get tired, but he insisted he was fine to do one last store. Big mistake. I shouldn't have listened to him, I should have recognized the signs and just left. But it was so tempting to stay and finish up that one last errand (he needed a new spring rain coat). And so that's what we did, or at least attempted to do.
In the store his behaviour deteriorated until I was forced to give him a warning that if it continued we would leave and he wouldn't get his raincoat today. But to no avail, so this meant that I had to pick him up, crying and calling out 'Mummy, Mummy' and leave the store, pushing a stroller filled with all of our coats, hats, and bags.
The salesclerk at the store (a kids clothing store), had obviously seen it all before. When I remarked that we'd have to come back another day, she nodded sympathetically and said 'no problem', and told me the sale on the coats had just started so it would be on for a while.
When we got out into the mall it was a different story. The boy was still in tears and I was still carrying him – he was squirming too much for me to attempt to put him in the stroller – and pushing the stroller at the same time. I passed a number of other parents of young children and the number of dirty looks I got amazed me. As parents it would be nice if we wouldn't judge each other without being in possession of all the facts. I would actually hope that parents would see what I was doing and say, 'Hey, she's following through on disciplining her child, maybe when he grows up he'll understand consequences and think things through'. Instead I got looks of 'what an ill-behaved child, she must be a terrible mother”. It's always tempting to stop and address those parents, but very rarely do I have the balls to do such a thing.
Some of this might be in my own head, (I am often worried about what kind of job I'm doing as a Mum) but I did get some glares and stares as we made our way out through the mall. Oh well, maybe those same parents will be around the next time we actually buy the coat and they hear the boy chatting away happily, saying 'please' and 'thank you', and just generally being the wonderful little guy that he is.