Last week, J did a horrible thing at Walgreens. Actually, he did two horrible things. While playing with a large bottle of antibacterial soap while I was paying for something at the register, he headed for the door. Upon realization that the door magically opened by itself, he took the opportunity to perform his first act of shoplifting and bolted outside. I freaked. He laughed. Laughed as I called for him to come back. Laughed as I sprinted after him like a gazelle that was not pregnant (or maybe it was a hippo?). I grabbed a hold of him for a second, but he was too quick for me, for he just dropped his unpaid merchandise and kept on running.
This was no longer humorous, not that it really was to me, but I was seriously worried that he was going to leap out into the parking lot and get hit by a car. Cars were stopping in the parking lot because they saw this crazy boy with his unfit mother sprinting after him. I finally caught him as he rounded the corner of the building. His response? "You're hurting my arm!" I felt like the sterotypical parent, thinking, "I could be hurting more than your arm" and "Just wait until your father hears about this (only the father was on a plane to Florida for a conference)." I retrieved the bottle of soap and quickly placed it back inside the store. What did I see when I did that? About ten people with their eyes fixed on me and their jaws stuck open. I can only imagine what they were thinking.
This little escapade left me unable to walk for the rest of the day. Clearly full-term pregnant ladies are not supposed to test their agility and swiftness at this point in time, and I was paying for using my animal instincts.
The best part? J didn't want to apologize. I let him sit in his room for close to 45 minutes "to think about what he did" while I took a shower and composed myself. He finally got lonely and caved. We talked about how people who take things they don't pay for go to jail. We talked about how he could have been hurt. Then he asked if he could eat lunch. The three year old mind can only process so much.
This isn't the first time I have had to deal with a laughing J running away from me, but it was the first time I had to deal with it in a store. I realized this would be no easier for me when I have a newborn in a sling and I am at the cash register, so I folded. I bought my kid a leash. I can hear all of you gasping. I'll give you a moment...
Now before you all go judgmental on me, I did not opt for one of those harness ones, or even worse, one of those teddy bear or elmo backpacks, although looking back on it, I totally missed an opportunity since my kid is petrified of teddy bears and that would have taught him a lesson pronto. I chose one that attaches to the wrist with super-duper velcro and stretches so that he can still move. What did J say when his dad told him what it was? "Oh goody, I can take Mommy for a walk." Hmmm...
We had to "practice" using our little leash around the house the other day. Then we had to play puppy with it. This was so not the point, but I figured he wouldn't be too keen on using it in public. Not so! I had to make a trip inside the post office today and I brought it along with me. I asked J if he could behave without it. He told me, "I want to use it. I want you to walk me." In fact, he practically had a tantrum because I was considering not using it. Honestly, I don't want the stares any more than the next mom, but I was stuck.
Off we went into the post office. My little puppy and I waited in line. Apparently I am not allowed to put the leash on my wrist as directed because that is "doing it wrong." We almost had a melt down about that. All in all, it kept him close and happy at the same time. Who knew?
J refused to take it off as we left the store. I had to walk him to the car. And just like a puppy, he stopped every so often so I would have to pull him. Once again, the three year old found a way to beat the parent. Who knows what could come next.