19 July 2006

Scarred for Life

As I was frantically marking down bottles of D'janou Pear Vinegar and Italian Taruli today, I overheard a mother talking to her two very energetic little boys as they bounced among the displays at Williams-Sonoma.
One of the two was particularly rambunctious, and apparently his energy was quickly transferring to the other brother. After pulling the catalyst from a straw-filled basket where he had previously been nesting, the mother (in a surprisingly calm tone of voice for her sons' disobedience) commanded, "Criss-cross, applesauce, boys. I need you to sit down." Of course, the boys criss-crossed, applesauced, but as soon as she turned her back, they were up and running again.
The older of the two went over to a crock full of potato mashers, plucked the perfect one, then turned to his younger brother and challenged, "Touchee, kitty cat!" Next, of course, ensued a masher battle of minor proportions.
Evidently, this was the last straw and the mother barked, "CRISS-CROSS, APPLESAUCE!" as she rushed over to the scene of the crime. When the boys did not disarm, the mother threatened, "Do you want me to take your shirts? I really don't think you want me to take them from you."
I stood there, aghast. What kind of mother threatens half-nakedness as a punishment? What ever happened to time out or restricted PlayStation time? Or extra chores, hiny swats, and retracted computer privileges? Apparently this mother had never heard of these forms of discipline.

I wondered to myself about those boys and how they would turn out in the future. What would happen once they arrived in junior high gym class? Would they be able to shower with confidence, or would they remain clothed and afraid that this sort of public undressing was yet another way their mother was punishing them? Or what about doctor's visits? How would these boys handle removing their street clothes and donning a flimsy blue gown? Could they realize that the doctor just wanted to help, that he wasn't in cohorts with their mother to punish them for not cleaning their room? Or, worse yet, when they meet the girl of their dreams and (ideally speaking) wind up marrying her, what will they do on their wedding night? Will they be so petrified of removing their garments that they cannot consummate their marriage? (Okay...so maybe that's crossing the line of what we should worry about strangers, but it did cross my mind.)

As I stood there, a jar of marinade au poivre in my hand, I wondered if these boys would be scarred for life, and I hoped that they weren't. I resolved that when I have children and they misbehave in public places, I will threaten them with the removal of something less intimate, like a sock.

1 comment:

Chris Woodrow said...

What would you do if your children wore sandals? Would that be like a "get out of jail free" card or something?

"Okay boys, you've been good this week, so you can wear sandals when we go shopping"
"Oh yay Billy! We can wear sandals!"