There’s a reason why you rarely see little children tagging along with mom and dad at the local toy store. It’s because “experienced” parents know that no matter how well-behaved your child is, the moment they’re surrounded by games, toys and books, they lose their little minds. It’s the equivalent of taking me to the shoe department at Nordstrom’s, but I digress.
One Saturday afternoon JP and I had errands to run and one of them included a stop at a local children’s store. For a brief moment, while sitting in the parking lot, I considered skipping that stop but I convinced myself everything would be fine. Say it with me now, “Yeah… right!”
The moment we walked into the store he recognized an item similar to one he has at home – so naturally he wanted to play. Then he spotted an abundance of toy cars and trucks in another section. A quick turn to the right yielded enough books and children’s videos to fill a small library. I felt the walls closing in on me. He scurried from item to item momentarily playing with them then putting them down for the next shiny object. To my credit, I kept pace with him picking up toys and returning them to their proper place.
I’m so grateful it was a kid-friendly store and that no one seemed to mind my little guy testing out the goods. I actually caught a glimpse of a few saleswomen snickering at my dilemma. One shopper smiled nicely then asked if JP was my first child. I replied, “Yes, you can tell huh?” She smiled, nodded and seemed to glide away without a care in the world. You see, she didn’t bring a child with her. I thought to myself, she’s one of those “experienced” parents.
As I looked around the store I noticed a few other brave women there with children. I must admit, it was oddly comforting to hear the chorus of “put that down” echoing around the tiny store. As we bumped into each other in the aisle we gave one another the knowing smile and promptly went on our way. JP and I made it out of the store in one piece after making our purchase and nothing got destroyed in the store.
Would I take my child into the china department of a high-end store and allow him to roam freely? Of course not! But it’s wonderful that some business owners expect children to be children and parents don’t have to fear public reprimand.
Miriam is the mom of a toddler and stepmom to a teenager. She's a producer for WRAL-TV.