Friday, February 19, 2010

Lessons Learned At Target

Today, as we do at least once a week, Wiggle Man and I made our way to Target for lunch. It's convenient, has healthy options, and we can eat pretty cheaply. Ahh...Target Cafe. How I love you.

Up to this point, Wiggle Man had been remarkably compliant. He listened to me, to the ladies in childcare at the Y, and he was even (reasonably) quiet at the library. He was good.

That ended at Target. After dropping his mini hot-dogs on the floor, and having them graciously replace by the nice man at Target Cafe, Wiggle Man decided he'd actually rather not eat the hot dogs.


Instead, he wanted his animal crackers. It was at this point I made a decision. I decided not to care what anyone else thought about me, my son, or my parenting. So, I let him fuss and whine. Don't get me wrong--I'm all for respecting the rights of other people to enjoy their meals. But there was really no one around except the Starbucks baristas, and had Wiggle Man really let loose with the screaming, I most definitely would have removed him to the car.

But for once, I decided to stop worrying so much about what other people thought, and focus more on teaching my son discipline. He fussed. I calmly told him his animal crackers were for later, then continued eating. Every time he asked for them again, I reminded him I'd answered that question, then went back to my lunch. I didn't address his mini-tantrum, and kept calm. And just like every episode of Super Nanny, it actually worked. Wiggle Man finished his hot dogs.

I think at some point in our society, we've shifted the pendulum from being overly focused on our kids' needs, to being overly concerned about the rights of others. Like I said above, I'll take him to the car if he pulls out a full-on tantrum. And I wouldn't take him to a quiet, fancy restaurant at this point.

But no one goes to the Target Cafe for the ambiance. We're not talking $50 dollar steak dinners here. Even had Wiggles screamed at the top of his lungs, no one's romantic lunch would have been ruined. And Target Cafe can be just the place for learning--manners for testy two year-olds, and patience for uptight mamas.

No comments:

Post a Comment