My town has two Walmarts, the new super walmart (which is HUGE) that we loosed Hurricane Niecey on the night they arrived, and the old walmart (which is tiny). Since they did not have what my dad wanted at the super walmart and we went to eat at a place close to the tiny walmart we decided to swing by there after dinner. Also I owed Niecey a new toothbrush since Pa packed her old toothbrush and I bribed her with the offer of a new toothbrush (either Wall-e or transformers or possibly some other cartoon character she is obsessed with) if she would brush her teeth with the old one without a fuss. Bribery does not always work on her since by the time you get to that point she is into total melt down mode and there is NO reasoning with her. I caught her at just the right time and in just the right mood so it worked.
So we get to tiny walmart, it is around 7 or so and so there are actually people in it, which is weird for me since I normally shop in the middle of the night to avoid the psycho walmart crowds. We have a few Niecey fits, she wants to push the cart, she doesn't want me touching the cart (I always hold it on the side so I can keep her from hitting people and running off), normal 5 year old behavior. We make our rounds and get to the toothbrush aisle and she went through all the different options until she settled on a wall-e toothbrush featuring Eva. During this time Pa decided he had to use the facilities and took off. After picking out the toothbrush we discovered that we had "lost" Pa.
Having shopped with my father for the past 25 years I know that he is prone to wander, especially if what you are shopping for is boring. Usually he can be found in the magazine aisle or a bench in the front of the store (depending on the store) so I was not concerned. Besides this is like the smallest walmart on the planet and while he had the car keys I had the apartment keys and the knowledge of how to get there (besides when he drove the rental truck 3 years ago he has never driven around here). Niecey decided that she must find him immediately though and takes off running. I was expecting us to walk at a somewhat brisk pace towards the magazine area possibly calling out, "Pa where are you?" a few times for show and so was not prepared for the mad dash giving her a head start. I yelled at her to stop and come back, which apparently in fiveyearese means, "RUN!!!!!"
She actually managed to spot him, not sure at what point, because she recognized his shirt from across the store (it is a little on the bright side and again a rather tiny store) and so knew where she was going. Being focused on the kid I did not bother trying to spot Dad. My main thought was to catch her and not run into any of the shoppers, oh yeah I am dragging our cart behind me (I needed a "cage" for when I finally caught her). I am not sure if I am the only one who goes through this thought process when chasing a small child, for the first part it was a bit crowded and I was hoping that yelling at her to stop would work (I can hear Baby Sibling laughing at me already) and so was not going at full speed and debating if this situation warranted it. Once we hit the check out lane area and the crowd was slightly thinned and people were making way for the chase I decided it was time to end this. Back in high school I was a sprinter, and I have been doing water aerobics regularly and so am not totally out of shape, so I brought my running/jog up to a full sprint and caught her. Being bigger than her for now (I am height-challenged) I put her in an Auntie-lock (this involves wrapping my arms around her chest and trapping her legs with mine and in my meanest voice I scolded her and told her that when I tell her to stop she must stop and she is never to do that again. Then Dad made it over to us and helped me put her in the front cart seat (she HATES that seat, it is for babies!) before making his intended visit to the rest facilities.
This is going to shock Baby Sibling, once she was in the cart she was visibly unhappy about it but silent. I paced around and blatantly ignored her letting her stew in my lecture and disapproval a bit. When I decided she had cooled down enough (I did not need a cool down, I was very much in control of the situation) I explained why she was not to run away from me like that. Tried to instill a healthy fear of being kidnapped but at the same time not make her neurotic. Ah the balance between traumatizing enough to keep them safe but not to the point they need a shrink for the rest of their lives. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Hopefully she will take this lesson to heart and we won't have to work on it again, being the niece spoiling auntie she rarely gets to see makes my yelling at her somewhat effective in these circumstances, more so than the rest of the family's I think.
Think I'll stick to my usual middle of the night shopping and wear a disguise until this all blows over!
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