Many of you read an article I posted a few weeks ago about becoming a fast talker as manifested by the chaos I experienced while food shopping one day after school with my five rambunctious children.
Today, I had the good fortune again, of taking all five of my kids, fresh out of school, famished and full of electricity, to speak about serious matters with a computer technician. This is the complicated technical stuff that my brain-without-kids cannot even comprehend. I knew what I was in for and had thrown back a 20 ounce cup of Joe prior to arrival. There was no option---I needed to retrieve my malfunctioning computer. And these kids were stuck with me for the rest of the day. It was now or never.
I am all for innovation and quick to invent mothering techniques as needed. So I developed a plan of action and tested it immediately to determine efficacy. Moving forward, I trained my small battalion on my just-improvised hand signals in the Office Depot parking lot. This would be our imminent form of communication once inside the potentially hostile territory. All five recruits were down with this secret language. Prepping them from inside the family vehicle, I told them we were soldiers on a recon mission. I described the layout of the store and identified where the most delicate and expensive equipment was located—in hopes that they would avoid these danger zones completely.
I reminded them, again, for the millionth time, that “mommy cannot hear well” when out in an open public space. I am deaf in one ear and emphasized the necessity to remain quiet and employ our covert gestures in lieu of verbal communication. Prior to entering the domain, just outside the intimidating double electric doors, we engaged in simulated drills. I presented a myriad of hypothetical scenarios such as: the baby wanders off, something breaks, one of the comrades becomes rowdy or is unwrapping un-purchased merchandise--- to list a few. We huddled together, crouched down on our knees, (General Mom was also secretly praying that this would work,) and we discussed strategies.
Here is the play-by-play of how it went down-
First 5 minutes- We swagger in like a cop squad, informed and in charge. I notice intrigue on behalf of fellow customers as my crew exchanges coded messages like an undercover fraternity. The kids love it.
Minute 5 to 25- Just as the General Manager is about to unleash his theories about my infected hard drive, we are forced to take an unanticipated detour towards the restrooms. We have sited them no less than a hundred yards from the point of entry, deeply embedded in the storage room. Like a wildly contagious epidemic consuming a small village, each child, one by one asserts his desire to “go.” Two fifths of the gang is now clearing out their intestines. For security purposes, I am hostage to this foul-smelling confined space--- void of the most basic décor, including an exhaust fan, for what seems like an eternity.
Minute 25 to 50- While in the throes of techy-tongue talk, I am slightly agitated with my troops as they begin to unravel. Desperately, I begin to murmur promises of store-bought prizes which momentarily averts a ransacking ambush of the store property.
Minute 50 to 80- I comment nervously to passionate tech, still blissfully lost in computer fairyland, that I must abort mission as I catch a glimpse of my two boys wrestling in the printer aisle.
Minute 80 to 90- Brief recap of clandestine gesticulations followed by an order directed towards each child to return the fifty extraneous objects dangling from their upper limbs. Upon full compliance, I reward trainees for their exemplary behavior by allowing them to each choose one item valued at no more than $3.
Yes, I bribe my kids and I do it often by surreptitiously tapping into their active imaginations.
Pragmatically speaking, in a situation like this, it is more economically prudent to make five $3 purchases, i.e. payoffs, than pay a sitter to supervise them at home.