While at the grocery store with the boys yesterday, I encountered a woman. Melkamu was in the seat of the grocery cart and Patrick was in the cart itself, as they often are. Both children were in a good mood. Neither one was yelling or crying; in fact, I was talking with both of them when this happened (conversation with Patrick interspersed with quick explanations to Melkamu upon hearing "What's that?" repeatedly). I smiled at the woman as we started to walk by. The woman commented that "Oh, they're too big to be in there!" I smiled and replied that it seems to work for us and it's easier to have them in one place.
"My mom always made sure we were well behaved so that we wouldn't go running off."
Umm, thanks, my children ARE well behaved. But one of them is 2 1/2, and even a good 2 1/2 year old is still...2 1/2. And Patrick thinks it is funny to have his legs buried in the groceries.
"But if they get out, they can help Mommy!" she replied.
I gave a small laugh and replied that then I would probably end up with a lot of things that I didn't really need.
"That's when Mommy needs to learn to say no to them!"
I smiled, albeit a little tightly, and said they hear 'no' plenty. And then I walked away.
Did this perfect stranger in the grocery store really just infer that a) she knows my children better than I do, b) my children are poorly behaved, c) it's my fault that they are poorly behaved, and d) that I don't know how to say no to my children? Really? I thought people like that were a myth!
I shudder to think what else she might have said if we hadn't left the aisle at that time.