Friday, May 29, 2015

Parenting Win....or Not

It was a chilly and rainy Saturday morning. A church near our house was having a garage sale and the kids and I went in support. As we were walking through the parking lot, I held the hands of my four and two year old. Our oldest was walking a few steps ahead of me just within arms reach. As we got closer to the doors, Max began to skip ahead. I yelled out a warning “Max stay with me please.”
Sure enough, as I said this, I see a small car sandwiched in between two giant vehicles. The woman driving the car didn't take a look before she turned the car on, threw it into reverse, and hit the gas pedal. My heart rate quickened as I yelled “MAX! MAX STOP!” He stopped. Directly behind the car. I leaped for the vehicle and slapped the back of the car as hard as I could, which caused the driver to slam on the breaks. It took Max a few seconds to realize what was happening and he let out a “oh, oops.” What the hell?? After all of the parking lot safety rules we've gone over, that's what he had to say to me? I wanted to wring his neck right there, but I saved that anger for the driver, who refused to leave her leather lined seat through our entire encounter. This confrontation didn't seem to faze my kids who apparently just expect this level of crazy from me.
When we got home I sent the younger two inside and brought Max to the end of our driveway. The day before someone had run over a squirrel right in front of our house. It was quite a gruesome sight. As my four year old said, “the head popped off and a giant bird carried it away.” Here we stood, just a few feet away from the flattened squirrel. This is perfect, I thought. I'm really going to drive my point home with this sight. From there I talked about how to always watch out for drivers, sometimes they're not paying attention, which is why it's so important for you to watch where you're going. Especially in parking lots. Max didn't say much. I was sure that this was traumatizing him, but in a good way, I convinced myself. I had another chance to really drive my point home when a deer ran out in front of our car later that day. It had an injured leg that swung as it ran by. The kids asked what happened to it and I replied “it must not have been watching where it was going and got hit by a car.” This is great. Great examples of why they needed to be careful. How could they not learn from all of this? I was patting myself on the back, thinking they would now finally understand the dangers.
A few days later, Max brought home a journal entry his teacher requested that I see. It was an entry about our weekend. It read:
On Saturday we went shopping and I got toys. You're not suppose to run in a parking lot. It is bad. Someday when I run out into the street after my ball, I'm going to end up like a dead squirrel. If I'm lucky, I'll just get a broken leg like a deer. It was a great weekend. The end.”
Not exactly the parenting win I was going for.

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