Today I saw Sunshine totally devolve from that sweet, quiet, respectful kid that I often suspect is actually older than her birthdate would suggest; into a whining, petulant 4 year old. All in the interest of doing exactly what her friend was doing. I saw mob mentality in action. And no matter how many times I told her to lower her voice or to come back to me, she did not listen. I practically had an I will not be ignored, Dan moment, and she still didn't listen.
I can't believe that I didn't drag her puny butt back home. I can't believe that I didn't cancel the joint birthday party that we were out shopping for. I failed her today. And it's too late to go back. I will not get that little opportunity for a lesson back. At least not for a while. Because it will be a while before I take her out with me again. And we will most certainly not be accompanied by a friend.
I've been listening to the controversy surrounding the man who slapped a 2 year old in Walmart because she was crying. And when it comes to crying 2 year olds, I think that there is very little that you can do. And, not knowing most of the circumstances, I think the best that mother could have done would be to finish her shopping as quickly as possible and leave. Because a 2 year old will not necessarily understand leaving, and because leaving is probably what they want most of all. And that would be rewarding the behavior. (And just an aside... if that man had slapped one of my kids? Well, let's just say that he wouldn't be walking away, and he would be minus a set of balls. No one hits my child. I don't hit my child.)
But my kid was 4 not 2, and she was acting like a turd. And so was I. It was my responsibility to leave. I'm usually so hypersensitive to those around me. I have no idea what I was thinking.
I'm not going to beat myself up over it anymore though. Sunshine and I had a long talk about how she didn't have to (AND SHOULDN'T) do what a friend was doing if it was wrong. And what proper store behavior looks like. And what will happen if I ever see her behaving like this again. And that she's tremendously lucky that I didn't cancel the birthday party.
And I hope she got the message, because next time? Next time, I will not be ignored.