Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Lesson of the Red Handled Scissors

I do believe my trio's energy level hit an all-time high this week. Specifically, Monday the silliness, the antics and the volume level were all completely off the charts. I find those times to be especially challenging because there is no ill-intent and they aren't being particularly disobedient--they are just being children on a wild streak. Their energy builds off of each other and before we know it, the atmosphere is crazy. Despite being the resident 'grown up' it can be hard to break up a rowdy gang of 7 year olds.

Despite it all, after several days out of town, my refrigerator was in desperate need of a trip to Kroger. So, off we went. I know there are Moms who avoid taking their children to the supermarket at all costs, but I don't fall into that category. Since I was first able to wear a baby bjorn and put two infant carriers in a double cart, mine have gone on shopping trips with me. It isn't always pretty, but they generally do fairly well.

In spite of all of the energy they had brewing Monday, the excursion was going fine until we made it to the frozen foods section. I confess I was employing the parenting style that most frequently drives my husband crazy...alternating between tuning my kiddos out and then snapping back in. (Sometimes it is just survival, people.)

While surveying all of my options in the freezer section, I heard the giggling and running sounds a few feet away from me crescendo. I swirled around to a shocking precious, responsible daughter laughing maniacally while jabbing at her brother with a pair of red handled school scissors. It was not malicious, he was lunging back at her while giggling with delight. Nonetheless, I was shocked, so I responded.
"Are you KIDDING me? Are you KIDDING me?" I yelled incredulously.
My wild ones handled scissors still clutched tightly.
"I mean, are you kidding me?" As verbal and expressive as I am, I still couldn't manage anything else.
My mind was racing. Where in the world did she get those scissors? Oh, yeah, the knitting supplies she asked if she could put in her purse. I hadn't thought about scissors. She is usually so careful and responsible. What on Earth?
I noticed another woman wheeling her cart by, surveying the scene. I knew she was watching. I removed the scissors from K's hand and despite my every effort not to, I squeaked out the phrase a fourth time for good measure, this time a bit softer.
"Are you kidding?"

As I looked into those two pair of wide brown eyes I tried to read what was going on behind them. I hadn't intended to reply with such sarcasm. I was just scared, shocked, embarrassed...
"All hands on the cart, " I ordered.
I reminded K that it was a privilege to get to use something potentially dangerous and informed her she was on scissor restriction for 2 days. I pulled a completely stereotypical Mom move and warned her she could have poked R's eyes out.
And then I finished my shopping trip.

That night before bed we talked about it again. I explained how shocked I was because I knew she knew better. I told K that I knew she wasn't trying to be violent or hurtful. I acknowledged that she had likely just gotten carried away by the fun and forgotten to think about safety and consequences. My heart winced at the knowledge that this wouldn't be the last time a minor in my home was reprimanded for choosing the fun of the moment over responsible decision making. (Especially since at 36 I am too often guilty of the same.)

But every time I look at those red handled scissors it will be a reminder that not even my most responsible child is above falling into temptation. (It seems obvious from my own struggle with sin...but it is easy to forget and/or assume/expect.) It is also a reminder to pray...that my children will develop discernment, self control and responsibility...that they will be protected from harm...that they will be strengthened against temptation...and that when they wander into mischief they will get caught before dangerous consequences ensue.


ChelseaSalomone said...

And those red handled scissors can also serve as a reminder that school will be starting soon!! :) Hang in there!

Jennifer said...

Amen, Chelsea...and a reminder to pray for all you teachers getting ready to reign them all back in!

Taylor said...

Not even the most responsible are above falling to temptation... that statement gripped me. So true. Thankful for mercy. So often, the "I knew better," can be haunting. Grace, forgiveness...thankful.

Christ's Blessings to you & yours,

julie said...

Um, maybe I am a sarcastic badmommy but the phrase "are you KIDDING me???" is a regular around these parts...and the timetothink in a grocery store - ya need it. Been there, done that.

One of the funniest things I have ever seen grocery shopping is a mother in the milk section with a full cart looking at the food while her toddler was pulling eggs from the cart (She was in the front) and dropping them on the ground. I ran over and we both had a good laugh while we cleaned it up.

Jennifer said...

Julie! You are NOT a bad mommy. I am naturally bent to I have to keep it in check. :-) Especially since mine are old enough they start to echo it back! The egg story is priceless.

Jani said...

I have to chuckle at "scissor restriction". I have to admit, I hand out a lot of punishments with three boys but I have never given out a "scissor restriction." :-)

I would bet there isn't a mom out there who can read this story without nodding her head with a thought of "I've been there and done that!"

Have a wonderful school year!

Diane Tohline said...

I laughed out loud when i read, "It's survival people". Ahhh, so true. I think "You've got to be kidding me" is mild. I am impressed! So much self control that you just repeated that phrase over and over. You are doing an amazing job.

Love Being A Nonny said...

I so see myself (lots of years ago) in this post! Great post. Great reminders!