We went shopping today for some household items, at the same store that we visited on Sunday. Lex was in school, so it was just Gentry, Shawna and me.
As we walked up and down the aisles, at some point Gentry caught sight of the toy area, and realized that he needed at least one more toy gun to add to his arsenal (in case, I think, Janet Reno, the FBI and the ATF invade our home; he's got fortification plans drawn up as well). At any rate, I calmly told him no, that he wasn't getting a gun, or any other toy today. I think that he was initially inclined to argue, but a warning bell must have gone off in some corner of the head, and he realized that the last time we were at that store, he'd tried that tactic, and it hadn't exactly worked out well.
He let it go. I was proud.
As we stood in line at the checkout, waiting for the checker to finish with the customer in front of us, we heard some commotion behind us. We listened and watched out of the corner of our collective eyes, as a young boy, about eight years old, told his mother he wanted a candy. She must be on the Dave Ramsey plan too, because she declined to purchase a candy-or anything else, for that matter-for him. He raised his voice, and expressed in no uncertain terms, just how important it was for him to have a candy, that very minute! Mom raised her voice right back, and told her son that he WAS NOT having a candy!
At this point, all activity in the front of the store had ceased; all eyes were on mother and son, as they vehemently argued their respective points. Son stood at the candy stand, waving about his candy of choice, and screaming that he WAS having that candy; mom stood behind us in line, screaming just as loudly that her son had BETTER PUT THAT CANDY DOWN AND GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW! I'm thinking she must've read Tony Woodlief's essay in the Wall Street Journal today, but I think that she hasn't yet got it quite right.
As mom screamed, son suddenly stopped, looked at mom with fury in his eyes, and calmly tore open the candy and stuck it in his mouth. Mom stopped short for a moment, then began screaming with renewed fervor, that son was going to be sorry when they got outside, that he was "going to get it."
At that point, checkers began frantically trying to shepherd folks through the lines, hoping desperately to avoid, I think, an embarrassing episode of child abuse in the checkout line.
Gentry took that as his cue to ask for a candy. I cringed, hoping that he wasn't suddenly inspired, but I told him no. Again, he looked at me, cocked his head, got a disappointed look in his eye...and said nothing.
And as we walked out of the store I realized, for all the mistakes we've made, Shawna and I must have done something right.