Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To the mother of the four-year-old in Target tonight

Blog note:  I originally had a photo of a child crying with this post, but received a comment suggesting I do otherwise.  The point was valid, so I changed it to the Target label itself.

I don't like to rant or tell people how to be a parent, but this has come up too many times. In the sage words of TBTL, Shut it down, America.

Tonight I had to run to Target to pick up a few things and about ten minutes before checking out I heard a kid screaming from across the store. Huge, meltdown screaming. This kid, sight unseen was overtired, having a rough night, and wanted to be home in pajamas and comfortable. Can't say I blamed him.

However, the mom had other plans... as the kid continued to scream and have a meltdown for the next ten minutes and the mom continued to shop. I hoped, for her sake, that she had a full cart of important things, like the last carton of milk on earth and the cure for cancer. I realize it's hard having little kids and trying to run errands, but if there is one thing my mom taught me, it's this: if your kids are having a meltdown, you drop everything and leave the store. My mom did this countless times when the three of us were flipping out. I'm pretty sure if one of us did that now in our mid-20's, she'd still drop everything and leave the store.

Then I found the mom in question as I made my way to the front of the store. She did not, it turns out, have the cure for cancer in her cart... but was instead casually shopping the dollar aisle as her son whipped himself around the cart and screamed. Let me re-state this. Instead of dropping her shopping altogether and getting her kid out of the store, or at least hurrying up the process and getting out of the store as soon as possible, the mom was SLOWLY MEANDERING THROUGH THE DOLLAR AISLE LOOKING AT DECORATIVE BAGS WHILE WE ALL HAD TO HEAR HER CHILD SCREAM.

At this point, I made eye contact with a mom who was finishing her shopping and she said out loud "hello? This kid needs to get home and stop shopping". I agreed with, "This kid is telling you something, and it's that he's done with Target". When buying my tissues and dish soap, the mom was finally buying her purchases. Her son was still freaking out in line and flailing about. She did nothing. The woman in line behind me said "get that kid home and stop shopping". And again, I turned around and agreed.

When I was in the parking lot, I called my mom and relayed the story and she said "if that were you, you'd be home by now. You're not a bad kid, you're a kid who has no business being in a Target looking at Christmas decorations at 7:30 at night on a Tuesday".

I don't get it, people. I know that when I have kids and if this ever happened in a store, I would work as quickly as possible to remedy the situation. I'd tell my kid to stop crying, or get out of the store as quickly as possible. Ignoring the screaming and continuing to browse does nothing but make you look like a bad parent in the age of "Jimmy is a special delicate flower just like everyone else" parenting. No one wants to hear your child scream across the store. No one. So get your head out of your ass and LEAVE THE STORE.

Shut it down, America. Shut it down, big time.


Anonymous said...

Your photo choice is a great match for your story!

I hear you, as far as seeing inconsiderate caregivers with children in public. I hate to imagine how they may be getting treated at home.

However, while a crying child may be annoying to some, I am MORE concerned for the need of the child. Some adults are unaware that the cry of child is distinctly made to draw the attention of ANY compassionate being in he vicinity, who can help them. Unfortunately, for many kids their cries are ignored not only by their caregiver but also by the many adults who are nearby.

Some caregivers who are neglectful should receive some type of intervention for the well-being of the child, although most of the observers do not know what to do. I do not have the answer either, other than informing the neglectful one that the care of the child should be a priority & is a privilege.

The true reason for this comment is to relay some information regarding the photo you chose for your story. You may be already aware of it, but to guard the children from this type of photographer I felt the need to make sure.

In order for the photographer to acquire these emotional studio shots of these kids, she gave them a lollipop & then took it away! Evidence by her action of intentional cruelty, she does not value children as much as her photographs!

It was completely UNETHICAL of her & she should not be rewarded by using her pictures. She used many kids to acquire the same distressing pose. I just thought you should know.

Landry said...

Thank you for the comment and feedback! When you google "crying child" and get that, you don't hear the backstory. I will change the photo so as to not further the image to something less charged.