I was honored and surprised to be featured on “Freshly Pressed” today for my What (I’m Begging You) Not To Wear post. Thank you to WordPress and all of those who commented with their own funny stories and encouragement. Clearly I struck a chord with many parents and non-parents alike! Curiously enough, there was a time when Cameron, my eight year-old, preferred clothing of a higher caliber.
Here’s a gem of a story from back on October 24, 2006. At that time Cameron was four and David was six. Also in the mix was my one year-old baby, Justin. And I was expecting my soon to be baby boy (yep, four of ’em), Alex.
That night was probably the maddest I’ve ever been at Cameron. David and I were going to the mall, and Cameron insisted on tagging along. Not wanting a battle, I agreed, against my better judgment. He promised he would be good, and was doing great, staying by my side, and listening to me as we walked through Kohl’s department store. When we arrived at Children’s Place, Cameron saw a corduroy suit jacket he thought he needed. (Cameron and David had a penchant for dressing up in suit coats and neckties because that’s what Steve Martin wears as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther.) They already had “gently used” suit coats and ties that I bought for them at a consignment shop, and I was not about to spend $39.50 for an item of clothing that was four sizes too big for Cameron, and would just be used for playing.
Cameron threw an absolute, colossal, titanic tantrum. Because Cameron is quite curious and energetic, he can, at times, be quite mischievous, but full-blown meltdowns are not typically a big part of this mellow little guy’s repertoire. I guess the outburst was fueled by the fact that he had very STRONG feelings about wanting this suit coat. Long story short, I spent five minutes (equivalent to an eternity when on display in public) WRESTLING the suit coat off of him so we could leave the store. Then I dragged, pulled, and carried him through the mall, and out to the car, while he kicked and screamed the entire way.
Maddening and purely mortifying as this was (I got some very sympathetic looks as well as some stare-downs from other shoppers.), my story actually took a turn for the humorous.
When we got to the car, Cameron was still sobbing hysterically. I buckled him in, and we took off. Shortly after I began driving, he decided to unbuckle his seatbelt in an act of defiance. I really had nowhere to pull over as I was on the freeway by this time, and no amount of threatening or pleading (Nothing had worked before, why would it now?) could get him to put it back on. Bad mom that I am, I kept going, just wanting to get home and throw him in his room for the rest of the night.
About this time, David, who has a flair for melodrama, began to cry because he thought we would be pulled over by the police. He begged Cameron to put on his seatbelt, saying he didn’t want the police to catch us. I insisted that if that happened, he would not be in any trouble, only Cameron and me, but he kept obsessing about it.
Here is how the conversation proceeded for the remainder of the ten-minute trip home. Cameron was still having his conniption. David appealed to a higher power.
Cameron: “(SOB) I (HIC) WANT (HIC HIC) THAT SUIT COAT (SOB SOB)!!!!”
David: “God…God…God. Pleeeeease. God.”
Cameron: “MOM!!! (SOB) GO (HIC) BACK (HIC) TO THE MALL!!!”
David: “God. I love you. God, pleeease don’t let the police get us.”
Cameron: “MOOOOOMMMMM!!!! (SOB) I WANTED (HIC) THAT SUIT COAT!!!”
David: “God, if you let us get home…”
Cameron: “MOM, PLEEEASE, GO BACK TO THE MALL!”
David: “God. God. I want my mommy, I want to go home. God. PLEASE.”
Cameron: “I (HIC) JUST WANT (SOB) THAT SUIT COAT.”
David: “God, if the police put me in jail, God, please…break me out.”
Cameron: “I (HIC) I (HIC) I (HIC) WANT THAT SUIT COAT!!!”
At this point I was still furious, but quietly laughing to myself about how this was possibly the most absurd car ride of my life, and I heard David saying what I thought was a prayer. After listening, I realized he hadn’t chosen the go-to prayer of most Roman Catholics, an ever-reliable Hail Mary, instead I heard:
David: “…one nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Cameron: “GO (HIC) BACK TO (SOB) THE MAAALLLL!!!”
The prayers and the sobbing continued until we got home. We were not stopped by the law, so since David’s prayers were answered, perhaps his faith was strengthened. Mine certainly was since somehow the Lord kept me from doing bodily harm to Cameron once we walked through the door.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011