Little law breakers

I’m not talking about your traditional, in-house, in-family law, drawing on walls (although check that box), pulling the cat’s tail (check), or even pulling off car straps while you’re travelling at 160kph in the fast lane (check, check).

I’m talking real, bona-fide laws. Like don’t kill, or attempt to kill, your sister (give it time), or don’t steal (check).

Let me explain.

We were shopping in a large megastore. Needless to say, with a three-year-old, a one-year-old, a husband and a pram, it was chaos. And we were attempting some serious shopping. We were shopping for furniture for the newly-renovated house, stuff that required measuring tapes, undivided attention and family consensus.

Megan picked up a pink fluffy toy cat, which she hugged and decided was lonely, and needed a 'mommy'. Amy picked up a dog’s ball that made the most offensive squeaking noise. Megan dropped the fluffy cat in favour of Amy’s ball. Amy screamed. So dad found her another ball.

Both of them walked around the shop squeezing the balls and laughing and screeching hysterically. Because it was keeping them entertained, Robert and I continued shopping and pretended that it was cute (it wasn’t).

At some point the balls were dropped in favour for facecloths that fold up into something the size of a 10c piece. Because both girls were insistent that we buy them, we found the squeaking balls and put the facecloths back on the shelf. There was never any question that we were going to buy the squeaky balls…

When we finally left this particular megastore (much to the relief of all concerned), we had one package and no squeaky balls. In fact, we’d managed to purchase one of the crucial things on the list, and had done so without having to bribe our children with anything at all.

We were completely smug.

Little thieves!

But then we arrived back at the car, and somewhere in the middle of the smug high-fives, we emptied the pram and discovered the facecloths that we thought had been returned to the shelves. Someone, who shall also remain nameless, had popped them under the pram amid the shoes, empty juice bottles and jerseys.

Now I may be an exhausted parent, but I’m also (mostly) a good citizen. So I hauled my tired body back to the store and paid for the previously-pilfered goods. I know that I should have just returned them and used the resulting hysteria to teach my children a lesson in law and life, but at this point, the exhausted parent won over the good citizen.

Suffice to say that smugness is an emotion of the past. And everytime I feel that particular emotion, I only have to wait until bathtime to be reminded. Whoever knew that such mass-produced, made-in-China merchandise could last so long.

Have your children broken the law? How did you deal with the situation? Comment in the box below.

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