My sweet little angelic red head...the all-American boy...such a cherubic face...such a sweet little voice...then there is the Wal-Mart Incident of October 2008.
Other events in history could be compared:
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
The Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Los Angeles Riots
But none will measure up in the area of sheer terror to this: The Wal-Mart Incident of October 2008.
My sweet little baby boy threw down like an American Gladiator on crack in the middle of Wal-Mart. This is the stuff that legends are made of. Clerks and cashiers of the future will be warned of this around campfires. The escaped convict with the hook, death by pop rocks and soda and the night the red-headed six year old's head rotated in the seasonal aisle of the Mexico Wal-Mart SuperCenter.
It took me by surprise. I just kind of stood there trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my child had, with the speed and eptitude of a menopausal woman, gone from normal to possessed in a matter of seconds...over a $3.50 foam sword.
Perhaps it is my life experience (translation: years and years and YEARS of being alive) that made me stop and question why he would lose his freakin' mind over a $3.50 foam sword. A $500 Betseyville purse, yes; a $600 pair of leather riding boots, yes; a 400 gigabyte iPOD, absolutely especially if it was neon green. But a foam sword? Really? No, REALLY????
I contemplated my options as my son's head was now in full-blown rotation and several elderly people were speed dialing either their priests or the police and ducking for cover from the inevitable pea soup projectile they feared might be coming their way. He was howling and crying, screaming and doing that dancy thing kids do when they throw fits - you know the one that kind of looks like a cross between the Maniac Flashdance dance and the flappy part of the Chicken Dance. I got down close to him and tried to speak softly and quietly, hoping that the peace just oozing out of my pores would glomp onto him.
Here's a thought: you know how when a chicken or a duck or a goose are getting ready to blow a gasket they get all puffy and fluff their feathers up? When they do that, you know not to get too close, much less get down in their face and talk softly. So why in the good Lord's name would you do that to a child who has teeth and a brain that functions much like the infamous OPERATION game?
By the time I got my face close enough to his to speak he was just a portable glob of snot, tears, and screamy stuff and there was no way he was going to listen to a spaceship full of shiny SpongeBob look alikes wearing Batman capes made out of chocolate, much less me. That's when I made the decision to just exit the store with what little dignity and credibility that I had. WRONG! The little darling started screaming "Help me! Oh please help me! Please don't hurt me, Mama. I'm sorry. Someone please, it's going to hurt."
There's no way to recover from that. There is nothing dignified that can be done at that point. You simply have to bite the bullet, hope that no one calls the police or the Division of Family Services, hoist that screaming, crying, sweaty, twisty glob of snot and whine over one shoulder and carry him out of the store.
And that is what I did. He screamed all the way to the car. He screamed while I put him in the car. He only stopped screaming when I hit the highway and rolled the windows down so that the brisk evening air shocked him silent for a moment. I put the windows up and didn't say anything. Then Kyser quietly said, "Wow Mom, I went crazy back there, huh? Sorry about that." That was all it took for me to start laughing. And to realize that what felt like an eternity of humiliation at the hands of someone who eats his own boogers was really just about three minutes in reality. He lost privileges for the night and got a whack on the hiney; I lost my mind for a few seconds and got a shot of whiskey after he went to bed.
And I got something else out of the whole situation and I would like to say it was something deep and profound, a life lesson as it were. But in all actuality what I learned was that sometimes despite what we all like to preach to one another and tell our parents, sometimes to give in is mightier than the foam sword.