As I attempt to enjoy some much needed retail therapy, my shopping is interrupted by a child hollering and screaming at the top of their lungs. I act like I am browsing through a rack of dresses, curious as to how this current episode of "Help My Child is Acting a Damn Fool in Public," in the middle of Nordstrom is going to end. Who will win? I silently put my money on the kid, while locking eyes with another mother also "pretending" to shop and agreeing with one another, "That kid needs their ass whopped," all without saying a word. If you didn't know already, moms have a secret language that we can speak to one another without even opening our mouths.
"Susie, please get off the floor. Come on honey. Look, here is a piece of candy." The Brat's Mom is pleading and Little Susie ain't having it. Little Susie just starts screaming louder, kicking her legs and swinging her arms in the air. "Oh no," I say to myself, as I watched her mother try to pick her up, without grabbing her arms first and got sucker punched in the face by Little Susie. "DAMN," I hear someone say over my shoulder and look behind me to see a group of teenage girls watching the Baby Mike Tyson vs. Inexperienced Mom knockout that just happened. 'My mom would have beat my ass," one of the girls says to her friend. "High Five to your mom," I say to myself. Little Susie's mom was an amateur at this and that child was going to take her for one hell of a ride, if she didn't get things straight REAL QUICK!
This is where I enter into the scene, not literally but in my mind. I step in front of the child vs mom fiasco with my microphone and alert shoppers that if they do not take heed; they to, may be the next mother in a store, looking pitiful and embarrassed because they never had the "Do not act a fool in this store" conversation. You see, this is a conversation that most mothers, especially new mothers or mothers who themselves were, "Bratty Kids," don't know about because their own mothers never had this conversation with them.
The conversation goes like this, before you either leave home or exit the car when going to a store or any public place, you look your kid, dead in their eyes with a no nonsense look on your face and you say, "When we walk in here, you are to stay right next to me (if they can walk), you don't touch anything or ask for anything. You will not run around or act a fool in this store because if you do, I will act a fool with you and trust me when I say, YOU DON'T WANT ME TO ACT A FOOL! Do you understand me?" You have to make sure that you check for full understanding. Even a toddler will know when you are serious.
Now most children will test you and many of them will try to throw a tantrum at least once in their lives. Hopefully, when they try it, you will be at home where you can get their little butts straight real quick. If it happens in public, you must quickly nip it in the bud. You need to snatch their little butts up and take them to the nearest bathroom real quick to set things straight.
Every child will not go this route. The child who doesn't will be the child that fears their parent. Your child needs to fear you, in that they believe that you are crazy. When a kid thinks you are crazy, they won't dare to act a fool. Most African American children fear their parents because many of them DO have crazy mothers. I know, I did! By no means, did you want to act up somewhere and have your momma act a fool with you!
Now back to Nordstrom...in my mind, I have explained having the "Do not act a fool in this store," conversation to a large audience of mothers with kids in strollers, by the hand, etc and had a couple of grandmothers yell out, "PREACH" during my speech. I thank them all for listening and walk back over to the dresses that I was "pretending" to browse earlier.
Little Susie, is still yelling and her mother has a complete look of helplines on her face, when an older African American woman walks over to Susie and her mother and says, "Do you mind?" while gesturing towards Little Susie. The mother says, "If you can get her to behave..." and her words drag off in frustration. Now I move a little closer and I notice that the woman that I had made eye contact with earlier is easing her way closer, as well. I guess that we are both nosy as hell and really curious to see how this ends.
The African American woman kneels down really close to Little Susie, looks her right in the eyes and says through clenched teeth, "Get your butt up right now and act like you have some sense in this store!" Little Susie looked over at her mother, who gave her a "I don't know what is going on" look and she looked back at the crazy lady and seemed a bit puzzled. She opened her mouth to start yelling again when the woman said louder this time; but still through clenched teeth, "Get you butt up, RIGHT NOW!" Little Susie jumped up like her butt was engulfed in flames and ran behind her mother, grabbing her hand. "Thank you! Thank you so much," Little Susie's mother grabbed the woman's hand and began shaking it like she had just met her favorite celebrity. "You are welcome but next time, if there is a next time, you need to act just like I did and I bet you won't have that problem again." Little Susie's mother kept thanking the woman, as she walked away and a cheer rang out from the juniors dept. As I turned around, every customer in the proximity of Little Susie was paying attention, even the employees. Little Susie's mother, holding Susie's hand walked out the store with her head down but all the wiser on how to handle a tantrum!