Oh, you thought this would be a post about how difficult it is to shop with little children. HA! It isn't. It's a post about how difficult it is to shop with bigger children.
The good thing about shopping with older boys is that you will most likely not get attacked in the parking lot. I'm always nervous when I'm by myself with four children still in car seats. Elf and Emperor are, shall we say, not very socially aware and would probably try to "make friends" with any potential carjacker or thief, complicating matters for me considerably. Yes, we've gone over some of the "what to do if" situations, but I just know my kids. I don't go out often with them for good reason. The older boys, however, are my height and taller. They're thin, but a potential criminal is going to go for easier prey than this.
The bad thing about shopping with older boys is that, for the most part, any manners they have or don't have are pretty well set. Moms of young kids, take note: you want to teach your children just to be absolutely silent on any shopping trip. It's too late for me. I tried.
I've taught Patrick and G their manners. I really did. They just didn't learn them so well.
Now, I'm not being mean to my guys. I've seen much worse in my everyday shopping experiences. I've seen much worse in all kinds of public places. Teenage boys don't seem to be meek and quiet types, but I'm just being honest about what's going on. Bein' real with ya.
They're really too big to "count to three" with. Very rarely we'll do that at home when we see attitude. They aren't going to do time-out in the store in front of the cashier. You could take away their video game time, but you can only do that ONCE each day (if you say, "No video games for three weeks!" in a fit of anger, you have no bargaining chips for the next three weeks, really). The taking away of an extra cookie at dinner would be a laughable consequence for a child nearly 15. And they're not driving yet that they need to be nice all the time. And no matter how I continually needle them with the idea of behaving in a Christlike manner, the boys genuinely think that Jesus himself would talk about getting a mullet haircut in the middle of the store.
What do you do when that happens to you?
Your options are pretty limited. You have in your arsenal distraction, the evil "look," the idea of talking to Dad, and the "I'm not buying this if you keep acting like that" trump card.
Ugh. They want to ask all kinds of questions about whether Jesus had a mullet cut, and how would I know if He did or didn't, and can *they* grow their hair long? Duuude. So like, would that ad that just says "recycle ink" bother Him because they don't say "cartridges" until the end? Isn't that like lying? Jesus would lose his temper, right in the middle of Office Max and it would be really funny... Meanwhile, G has decided that he likes the PINK binder because it's cool and the really toughest guys at school all have pink binders...
I'm really trying to reason with these guys and treat them like almost-adults, but it's hard ... NO WAY Jesus would ever get something as bad-looking as a mullet hairdo, and speaking of which, you guys need a haircut before you look like hippies. Jesus kept his hair short and clean and He wouldn't have even had a beard if it weren't a Jewish requirement and all. Now shush about getting the mullet hairdo, right now! And don't touch that unless you're paying for it. Oh, and even if you can pay for it, it has to be some other colour than pink because you're not that tough anyway.
From both older boys I get in stereo about how mullet cuts are not forbidden in the Bible, and HOW do I know Jesus didn't look like a hippy, and maybe He had the first mullet cut. And what do I mean He kept Himself clean all the time? Didn't He wash dirty feet that one time?
I'm trying to answer all these questions at once while the OfficeMax employees are looking at us like we're nuts...
First off, Jesus OF COURSE was clean all the time and never got dirty. You have *got* to be kidding me if you think GOD can get dirty. And give it up about "mullet cuts," and thanks for reminding me yet again that your hair is almost three inches long and you need a haircut. Gracious, you'll be asking for tattoos and earrings next and I have to draw the line somewhere.
Whereupon we have to have a "discussion" about the tattoos, and Old Testament vs. New Testament and whether God really meant NEVER to get a tattoo (yes, He did, now hush...)
We have discussions like this in church, too. I used to be positive that my children have the most bizarre questions and probably shock people with the things that they say. Then I heard one of the teens give a presentation in front of everybody about why she loves her youth pastor. One of the things she likes about him is that he's available to answer allll their questions about God. They even texted him at 11 at night to ask him about Jesus passing gas! Um, except she didn't phrase it as nicely as I did! Can you imagine taking that call? What would you say as this child's pastor?
In any event, we left with a GREEN binder, which G was more pleased with than pink. Turns out he thought that only the pink binder had the carry strap. The green one had one as well, except it had not been used before and was still in the wrapper. So he's happy.
The older boys also both got haircuts this afternoon. They thanked me profusely for taking time out of my busy schedule to give them a custom cut and style. (Ok, I made the last part up. But they look good.)