Teach children to “cross their arms” while in a store. My mother did this with us, and I cannot tell you how many times this has come in handy over the years…especially lately. For a couple years there, I was basically a hermit. Four children and all, you know. I am not superwoman, which is why I had to stay home most of the time until Number Four turned two.
Now we leave the house, and most of the time it works out okay.
One of the reasons I can keep my sanity while shopping with four children is due to my mother’s rule: Cross your arms!
Growing up, our family friends owned the town pharmacy. It was also the only real “store” in town by the time I was in junior high.
You could even by Precious Moments figurines there!
Well, this place was packed to overflowing with all sorts of goods. When you are the community’s only store, you make sure you have a little bit of everything, right?
My mother’s daughters could drive her batty in this store. We wanted to touch…everything.
So she told us to cross our arms.
I still remember standing outside of Stringham’s** and listening to her remind me that I absolutely must cross my arms.
The whole time.
Sounds crazy, I know, but recently we were out and Daughter Q. was touching things–removing things from racks, even! I remembered my mother’s rule and instructed her to keep her arms crossed. It worked wonders.
Later, we passed by another family with a few children, and the mother was constantly nagging. “Don’t touch that. Put that back. Stop touching that. Put that down. You’re going to break that!”
It was an almost-constant refrain.
It dawned on me that I have no memories of my mother doing that to me.
I’m pretty sure that is because there is more power in telling the child to do one thing, than trying to forbid a thousand things.
Of course, Daughter Q. is a bit of a human contortionist. She can almost touch things while still technically keeping her arms crossed.
But not quite.
*A long time ago, I began typing up little tips and hints that I picked up from people I knew, and from books I read. I haven’t added to this list in four years! But I like to keep it. I figure I’ll print it out and give with baby shower gifts once I’m old enough to know if any of this was really wisdom.
**Stringham’s which, sadly, was bought out by Rite Aid and no longer exists.
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