In our morning adventures today, we went to the mall. The boys got to toss pennies into the fountain and say hello to the puppies. In exchange, I bought a new book I had been coveting. A good visit for all of us.
As I was checking out at the bookstore, my children started to lose their minds. Tyler was in the stroller and Tucker was pushing his buttons (and mine, if we're honest). It's always a great experience when I need to pause my transaction with the person behind the counter so I can put my child in timeout at my feet.
The sales clerk smiled gently and said, "Oh, don't you worry. I understand. How far apart are they in age?"
"I definitely understand. Mine are 13 months apart."
I breathed a sigh of relief for our shared journey, as I handed her my credit card. She does understand then.
"Then you know how busy I am!"
"Indeed I do. My boys are seven and eight now."
On a whim, since I felt like we were friends now, I quipped, "Are yours potty trained? Because I don't think mine ever will be, and it would really encourage me if you could promise me that yours are not in diapers."
Instead of offering me a pat on the back, a kind nod of understanding, and a promise that this too shall pass, she launched into a story of her own experiences with her two sons. She told me what worked, what didn't, her last resort strategies, how they trained differently, blah, blah, blah.
All the while, Tucker was still in timeout at my feet, and she had not yet swiped my credit card. Tyler's stroller was rolling away because Tucker had kicked it, nobody was sitting still or quietly, and I was torn between listening intently to the advicce I had indeed sought, or correcting my son for his willful disobedience in this inopportune scene of discipline.
I was practicing the balance of maintaining eye contact while wildly waving my hand and snapping my fingers underneath the counter.
She kept talking. And holding my credit card. Oblivious to the truth that I had interrupted her three times to get my children back on track, back in the stroller, or back in my line of vision.
I finally had to interrupt her and say, "Really, thank you. I just have to wrap this up."
Honestly?? She said she understood the demands of my life, and yet she held me captive while my children stole my dignity, my patience, and nearly my clothes.
Next time, I will simply say, "Oh, yes. Then you do understand."
I won't ask her to prove it. Next time, I won't ask.