I can't speak for Sam, but to my knowledge, this was the first time that Owen and Ben have ever been in an actual bookstore. (We live in a small town that does not offer much in the way of shopping). The library has been the extent of their exposure to large collections of books. At the library, kids are free to take the books off the shelves to read, to take toys out of the toy chest to play with on the floor, to play games on the computer, and to wander aimlessly around on their own, (with adult supervision, of course).
|Our library: I suppose it DOES look a lot like a bookstore.|
We should have explained the difference between the library and a bookstore before we entered it, but who knew? You would have thought that we had walked into a candy store! The two older boys were running around like maniacs checking out all of the cool new books and colorful displays. Now, please understand that these are boys who are pretty well-behaved, especially in public. I am constantly hearing compliments about them while we are out about how well-behaved and polite they are, so this was completely unexpected behavior.
It was total chaos. They were dashing from one display to the next, grabbing books and toys, and going crazy over the selection of superhero books. (In their defense, if you've never seen the children's section of Borders, it IS set up more like a toy store than a book store). I was lucky enough to be carrying Ben, since we forgot the stroller at home, and as soon as we stepped into that bookstore, he turned into super wiggle-worm. At the library, I allow Ben to get down on the floor, to walk around as he pleases (within the reading room), to play with the toys and examine the books on the shelves. So he was practically diving out of my arms for the opportunity to run around and check out everything. At one point, I had no choice but to put him down because he would not stop yelling and trying to leap from my arms. I regretted it as soon as his feet hit the floor; he was off like a lightning bolt, pulling books off the shelves, climbing on top of the display of board games, and trying to follow his brothers around. I immediately scooped him up and left the store, leaving Daddio to reign in the other boys. About five minutes later, they came out of the store, each with a book in hand. Daddio said that Owen, thinking that it was like the library, had tried to walk out of the store without paying for his book.
When we finally made it home, the boys were showing me their books and I noticed that Owen had three Cars stickers on the back of his! The first thing I immediately thought was that he had come across a book with stickers in it, and thinking that they were like the free sticker box at the library, had taken them and put them on his book. I asked him where they came from and how they made it on his book. He came up with some story about the car driving and whooshing it's way onto the book. Right. Like I'm going to fall for that one. I tried a different approach and the next story that he came up with was that a book had ripped and the boy had given him the stickers. Okay, that's a little more believable. Maybe the guy at the counter HAD given them to him. However, when I asked Sam to confirm that this was what happened, he shook his head "no". Great. My son is a thief and a liar! I am so disappointed with him! I'm going to cry!
I never really figured out what happened, but Daddio swears that Owen did not take them out of any book, but I suspect that he did not have his eye on him the whole time. I ended up having a long, serious conversation with Owen about what stealing means and the difference between a bookstore and the library and why we have to pay for things at the store. He seemed to understand and was genuinely upset over the whole ordeal, as was I.
Not only was I disgusted with the behavior that the boys showed in the store, but I was shocked at the thought that Owen may have actually stolen the stickers! I realize that if he did take the stickers, then he probably didn't understand what it meant at the time, he is only three afterall, but that didn't make up for the disappointment that I felt. This was my first taste of how strong of a feeling it is to be really disappointed with my own child. It was heartwrenching. I hope that I never have to feel that way again, but I know that I will not be that lucky. It was only a glimpse of what I will be dealing with in the future.