Made a quick WallyWorld run this afternoon. As I rushed towards the front with my booty (no, I mean the stuff in the basket–MUCH smaller), I heard a small voice ring out behind me.
It was a little girl, around six, all in pink and orange with floral sneakers and an armful of friendship bracelets. Skipping along behind me.
In front of me I suddenly noticed a woman. No, an IRATE woman. Imagine Dr. Evil with hemorrhoids. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” shrieked the harridan, gripping the basket handle.
The child skipped happily around me. “Looking for you! You got lost, Mommy.”
The mommy elevated three feet off the floor. “MOTHERS DO NOT get lost. CHILDREN get lost. They are forbidden to wander off, yet what do they DO?” She was visibly keeping her cool.
The child was still not fazed. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” she sang in an unconcerned tone calculated to charm a rampaging Tasmanian Devil.
The mother now notices something. “WHERE IS RODNEY?!” She sounds on the edge of panic.
“He’s looking for you. In TOYS.”
I could hear the poor mother’s teeth gnashing. Yet she managed to keep her temper. She did not even ask why she would be in TOYS in the first place. “You are supposed to keep track of him.”
“I know where he is. Come on!” The child skipped down the main aisle, back towards the back of the store where the array of pre-pre-Christmas offerings lurked.
“Let’s find him FAST and then we need to talk,” said the mother in a defeated tone as she hurried to catch up.
I would bet the kids drew straws to see who would “go find Mommy” and who could browse the dinosaur replica aisle a while longer. Parenting sure has gotten more difficult now that we are enlightened. My dad . . . well, let’s just say he would have given US a free trip into the future by knocking us into the middle of next week. He would be in jail these days. I just giggled and thought how much fun it might be to get a do-over nowadays, when you can have video games and an iPod and a laptop when you’re eight! *grin*