Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Scream

When you have young children, sometimes just going to a mall 20 or 30 miles away and hanging out for the day can be a thrill.  It's a short trip, and yet it's a change of scenery and mildly entertaining.  It just breaks the tedium of day-to-day living and, it doesn't hurt that it's cheap too.

We had all this on our minds when we made our way to the Pretty People's Mall over the hill to enjoy the day.  Evan was three and Sonny Boy was eight.  It was crowded at this outdoor mall, so we parked our unwashed Pathfinder way out on the edge of the parking lot and made our way to the stores.  

We call this the Pretty People's Mall because it is right in the middle of one of the most affluent areas in our county.  The parking lot was full of BMWs and Mercedes.  The people strolling about were all thin, athletic, had good hair and tight, pretty faces.  We tried to blend in as we went from store to store.  Our plan to wear out the children and enjoy ourselves at the same time was working.  We went to the giant bookstore, World Market, Bristol Farms, and Sur La Table, just to look around, not to do any serious shopping.  Finally, we settled in at an outdoor table to enjoy some ice cream.  

Evan was thrilled to have an entire smoothie to himself and placed it on the table between sips.  Hey, when you are three years old and you get a smoothie on a hot summer day, life is good.  HOB and Sonny Boy finished their cones fairly quickly. At one point, HOB absentmindedly picked up Evan's smoothie from the table and took a sip.  

OH. OH.

Remember the incident with the chocolate-dipped cone?  Well, that was nothing compared to what happened next.

Now, HOB and I had always told our children "Use your words!" to express how they felt when they were angry or upset.  Evan did just that, except it was a singular word in a volume that shattered the air waves around us.

"Robber!"  
"Robber!"
The incensed three-year old points his finger at HOB.

We laugh nervously, "OK, Buddy.  It's OK, Daddy's sorry."

"Robber!"
"Robber!"

Three year-old growing more incensed, voice rising, taking on more frenzied tone, crying hysterically though still able to enunciate very clearly.

"Robber!"
"Robber!"

People staring, turning to our table.  The boy continues, voice getting more hysterical.  

"ROBBER!"
"ROBBER!"

HOB apologizes profusely to three year-old.  We offer new smoothie.  Sonny Boy tries to soothe brother.  

Nope.

"Robber!"

Finally, we can't take it any more.  We scurry to gather our things up and Hob hoists the screaming child who is board stiff and still enraged over his shoulder.

"Robber!"

I grab Sonny Boy's hand and we scurry across parking lot, after HOB and the screaming child.  People turn and stare at rag-tag family, these refugees from the low lands, nearly running to the dingy Pathfinder.  I feel people staring at us as Evan continues to scream.

"Robber!"
"Robber!" 

We reached the car, but there is no way the screaming child is going to bend enough to be placed in his car seat.  HOB does something he has never done before.  The robber takes two fingers and pokes the boy in the side.  The boy reacts, and HOB is able to insert child in seat. Meanwhile, Evan continues,

"Robber!"
"Robber!"

It was a hot day but HOB rolled up all windows and turned on the heat.  Above the noise in the back seat, I yelled, "What are you doing?"

"Maybe if he gets hot, he'll stop and go to sleep!"

The rest of us couldn't take the heat treatment, so we turned it off, rolled down the window and hoped for the best.  

The best finally came twenty minutes later when we pulled into our driveway and Evan stopped screaming.


These days, HOB nearly always asks when he wants to share, and if he ever forgets to ask, all I have to do is say one word and he remembers.

I'll bet you can guess the one word.  Can't you?

No comments: