Grocery shopping early on a weekday morning is a situation where young children are frequently present; and as such, is often an opportunity for me to observe something humorous, interesting, or touching. Such was the case today.
As I was in the baking aisle (trying to find the ‘right’ flavoring extract for a cake), I heard a young, fatigued, irritated mother instruct her equally young, fatigued, irritated child to, “Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. SIT down. Sit DOWN. Sit down. sitdown. sitdown. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. SIT DOWN. SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN!”
Based on the one-sided nature of the exchange, my hunch is that the child wasn’t paying much attention to the mom. Alas, such is the state of many parent/child interactions I hear or see.
I continued shopping (found the extract; next item: tea), and as I headed down the beverage aisle, I passed by several other customers. As I approached my ‘stop’, a little girl looked right at me with a very serious expression on her face and said in a very stern tone, “Seet dow!”
Now, I hadn’t initiated any sort of contact with this child; I was actually only focused on finding the tea I wanted while simultaneously trying to avoid other people’s carts. But for whatever reason, this little girl decided she needed to share her learning, and I was the person to whom she chose to give it.
I nodded my head very solemnly, returned the little girl’s gaze with equal seriousness, and said gently but firmly, “That’s right; you need to stay sitting down in the cart. That keeps you safe – no boo boos.”
The little girl nodded in agreement (and the mom gave me an “oh-thank-you-kind-lady” type of look), and the two of them were off – now taking turns saying “sit down”, and doing so with a level of ease that wasn’t present before.
And as far as I know, the little girl remained seated for the duration of their trip – which was very brief. Smart move mama. 🙂