Last week we had a couple of doctor appointments in town. The kids did great sitting through everything, but after being in a waiting area or an exam room for three hours we were ready to go home. Before going home, however, we decided to stop by Walmart.
Walmart, my least favorite place on earth.
Praise the Lord that our trip was uneventful. Quick. Smooth, even. Until we got out to the van.
That is when I realized that I had locked my keys in the ignition. Thankfully the van was not on. I suppose if it had been I would have noticed before we had gone into the store that something was amiss.
There wasn't much to be done about the situation, though. So, I called Claude to ask him to stop by Walmart after work and we set out to kill three hours.
We started our adventure by walking up the hill to Sam's Club. After a round of hot pretzels and cold water from the soda machine, we began the Alphabet Game. We walked the store, slowly (always very slowly) for an hour and a half and found the following items:
The rules were that we had to go in order and we could only write down items that we saw as we wrote them down.
Upon completion of the Alphabet Game we realized that Rachel had taken off and dropped both of her socks. A game of Find the Socks ensued.
Once we had exhausted our options of productive occupation at Sam's Club, we headed back down the hill. If you ever find yourself in Walmart with a few hours to spare and a handful of kids I would highly recommend locating the fish tanks. From Chew Crew 1 down to Chew Crew 5, everyone was enthralled by watching the little fish flit around. We stood there for at least 20 minutes without a single complaint.
And then the nagging began. From an un-named member of the Crew, I heard "I'm thirsty" at least a million times in approximately 30 seconds. I had already made very clear the water-drinking regulations for the afternoon. Designated water stops mean more predictable potty breaks and preventable accidents. In a family of many littles, this can make or break an outing.
The thirsty child knew when to expect another drink and was decidedly unwilling to wait. It had to be on her terms and when I didn't budge, she began throwing a tantrum.
First it was just crying. Then the crying became shouting. The shouting then led to her sitting down in the middle of the aisle. When that didn't get her a drink, she began screaming and shuffling next to the stroller on her knees. This, of course, all started as the after work crowd was making their way through the store. We had quite the audience!
By the time Claude arrived, she was in a full-fledged temper tantrum.
We decided that Claude would take the other four kids out to the parking lot while I worked with the tantrum-thrower. Her screams had gotten louder, her nagging about water continued, and she proceded to throw herself onto the floor and wriggle and writhe so that a group of ladies came over and tried to sympathize...with her!
I'm so glad my back was already to those well-meaning women, because it meant that I didn't have to reply to their questions or comments. I just kept on keeping on, requiring obedience and silence. It was reasonably successful and we were nearly out of the store, when the nagging began again.
A second tantrum was right on its heels. At least this time we were in the privacy of our own car and I had some music to turn on nice and loud so the rest of us could attempt to enjoy the long ride home.
Eventually she stopped screaming...and fell asleep. But before she did, I got a good chuckle.
"You're never going to make me stop my tantrum, Mommy!" she yelled. "The more you tell me no water the more I will nag and nag and scream!"
At least we had gotten past all of the pleasantries and could see the beast for what it was: Just another sinful, selfish person trying to get her way.
Don't we sometimes throw the same kinds of fits? They may be quieter, but I'm sure a four-year-old is not the only one who has ever lost all sense of self-control in the face of not getting what she wanted, when she wanted it.
I doubt she will be the last. At least not in our Crew.