Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Scenes from a Mall

Remember that movie? Woody Allen and his wife in their neurotic Jewish marriage, doing their thing in a fancy schmancy shopping mall. Well, I made my own movie in the mall today. Starring Rivky and Mommy Maven - live and uncensored!

We're at the mall so Yaakov can plug in at Starbucks and do work. Srulik was asleep in the stroller, and Rivky and I went to the mall playground. The playground has these couches all around it for parents to sit on. They are also the fences. Rivky decided to climb over one and go running into the mall. I dropped my tehillim and ran after her. I picked her up and held her tight. She started hitting me, tugging my wig, and wailing (she's got spirit!). I was really embarrassed and overwhelmed, but I stood firm. She ran away from me yesterday, too - she thinks it's a little game. Testing the boundaries, whatever. So I put on a very serious face and laid it down. "Rivky, if you run away from mommy like that, someone could take you away from me. Mommy loves you very much and I want to keep you with me, so you can't do that anymore. If you pull a trick like that again, we're leaving the mall playground - GOT IT?" I felt weird to tell her that someone could take her away, but that's the reality. I didn't know what else to do or say at the moment, how I could convey the seriousness of it to her. So we went back into the mall playground and played awhile, and she started to try and climb the couch again. I didn't know if she was going to go AWOL again or what. I snapped my fingers to get her attention and yelled "YOU!" I pointed my finger at her and gave her the look of death. She got down.

I saw a mall security officer near the entrance to the mall playground, and I decided to enlist his help. I read somewhere in a positive parenting book that if your kids aren't behaving, to "call in the authorities." Sometimes kids will listen to a cop, a lifeguard, or store employee more than they'll listen to the parent. So I told the guy the situation, and called Rivky over. "Rivky, this is officer Ben." She hid her head in her arm. "Rivky," he said, "You can't climb over the couches here. You could fall and hurt yourself, and I don't have any bandages or anything to clean up all the blood." (Gevalt! That's what he said to her!) I think she got the idea.

So we played a little more and then I took her to the Bloomingdales potty. On our way back, she decided she wanted to sit on a bench. No problem. We sat for a minute, and then she laid herself on the ground and started to wail - "I want tatty NOW!" "Okay Rivky, we can go to tatty, whenever you're ready we'll go." She wasn't ready. She wanted to lay on the floor and kick and scream - right across from Abercrombie and Fitch! YAY! So she's laying there and having her tantrum, and I just sat on the bench. Every few minutes I'd say, "Whenever you're ready, Rivky, we'll go." People were walking by and giving us amused glances. One guy gave her a gentle bop on the head with his shopping bag (which provided me with a little comic relief). She finally climbed on the bench and we put her shoes back on (she kicked them off mid-tantrum). We walked to tatty at Starbucks and I said, "Yaakov, I need a break."

And that's how I got to tell you this story now.


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My Photo Name: Fancy Schmancy Anxiety Maven
Location: Chutz l'aretz - Outside of Brooklyn

fancymaven at gmail dot com