Sunday, January 28, 2007

Follow The Leader

Yesterday I did something I RARELY ever do. Something I despise. I would rather have hot irons poked in my eyes. I went to the mall.

It was a special occasion of course. What else would bring me there? Three of our girls pulled awesome grades in their ½ year reports. Our youngest, R, didn’t qualify as pre-schools have not yet started handing out grades. A is in second grade, and while good performance in that grade is wonderful there is something not quite exciting about getting an S (satisfactory progress) versus an NI (needs improvement). Somewhere around fourth grade the As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es start to kick in.

K & L nailed wonderful grades yet again. We are very proud of them. K pulled an A in algebra (the final I helped her study for and wrote about in Write This Expression In Point Slope Form put her over the top)- that was the one subject that threatened the fait accompli.

The reward for the girls (including R- we couldn’t just leave her out in the cold just because she’s in pre-school) was a shopping spree at the mall. And so the fun began.

I brought my trusty Blackberry and so was able to occupy myself checking e-mail (honestly, 95% of the time was spent playing Texas Hold’em and Chess), and spent most of my time standing in front of each store, on the couches our mall has mercilessly installed for men, or hanging both arms on top of a garment rack while wondering if a pair of Jacks would win the pot.

While waiting in front of yet another store, I witnessed a three year old girl completely directing and orchestrating the life of her family. She decided she wanted to press the elevator button. Her dad allowed her, and mom and two other kids waited patiently. She then decided she wanted to continue pushing the button, non-stop, until the second-coming.

By the time the people on the second floor had loaded into the elevator and were ready for the adventurous journey to a lower level of hell, their departure was delayed by this sweet little three year old that was trying to save their eternal souls and keep them from their decent. Doors closing, button pushed again, doors open, repeat. (By the way, after thinking about this a few minutes, I think the parallels between a mall and hell are amazingly numerous. Perhaps I will delve into that another day).

The dad was trying to gently direct the little one away from the elevator and back to the circular path to nowhere everyone else on the second floor was mindlessly walking. She would have none of it. She had mastered the squinch-down, drop, twist and roll maneuver that popped her out on the backside of dad and made a bee-line for the elevator button yet again as the doors were closing. Mom and the other kids just sat there watching, most likely accustomed to delays caused by this wonderful little girl.

This continued for a couple minutes, and as dad tried to get a bit more forceful, the girl got more emotional and started crying, screaming and throwing a tizzy-fit. As it continued, and as I watched a growing crowd of onlookers lose patience, it took all that was in me to hold me back. With every ounce of my being I wanted to walk up the man and say “For the sake of all that is good, man, get control of your three year old, pick her up and administer whatever discipline is necessary to get control of your families life back into their own hands. If you don’t, I will.”

Of course I said nothing. I just observed and was amazed. What finally got the girl to give up on the elevator button? She spotted something that was interesting in the opposite direction the family was originally headed and shot off. The rest of the family dutifully obeyed, reversed course, and fast-walked to catch up to the head of the household.

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Anonymous said...

Arrrggh! Thank goodness for the Internet and point-and-click shopping! Malls are nail-in-the-eye fun. Hmm. I can see why you want to correlate (Ma)LL with (He)LL.

Eeeee, just thinking about going to a mall..the drive, the parking, the crowds, the lines, the bright lights, the blasting music. Must-think-happy-thoughts-must-think-happy-thoughts.

I love your photo of the duck and ducklings - totally works with your 3-year-old Center Of The Universe portion of the tale!

I can just see you draped over the garment racks and am happy you survived to write about it.

Delightful post!

Liza on Maui said...

Congratulations to your girls!

Oh, isn't it something how a 3 year old can control her parents.... unbelieveable, yet it happens a lot of times....

Unknown said...

Rich, I just wanted to correct you on A's grades. She got all E's for excellent.:) Sorry, I had to give credit where credit is due.

DigitalRich said...

Thanks sweetie- messed that one up big time. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

It drives me crazy when I see parents letting their kids run their lives. Yes, we do need to let our kids develop independence and decision making skills but not at the expense of others.

And I agree about the preschool report card thing. My daughter brought one home last week with all Gs (good vs needs work). I wasn't as impressed as I should have been. :-)

Thank you for sharing this with the Carnival of Family Life.

Holly Schwendiman said...

Well, I'm a kindred spirit with the love of malls. Ug. Those situations and scenes are the worst. I would have thought all the same things as you and likely done nothing as well. It sure is sad to see so much control by the little ones when parents are clueless to it.

Holly's Corner
Here via the Carnival of Family Life. ;o)

Anonymous said...

It's almost frightening to think about that families lifeand their future!

Sounds as if you live with a bunch of girls. I do too! It is a wonderful ride.