Sunday, May 11, 2008


I don’t have any kids but being a former kid myself, I remember the kinds of things adults did to make me behave. All they need is an open mind and a dose of good luck. Here’s how I turned a tantrum into an adventure. It happened on Devon Avenue in Chicago back in the spring of 2001.

My sister had dropped off her son at my house while she went to work. My nephew, being a normal 4-year-old, had an attack of separation anxiety. He didn’t want to be with me, he wanted Mommy. Tough luck, he was stuck with me. I had to go to the hardware store a half mile away so I dragged that screaming bundle of nerves down Devon Avenue, ignoring his shrieks and tears. I told him, “I don’t care how ornery you are, I love you anyway,” which set him off even more. The tantrum lasted through three city blocks, two dollar stores and the Indian Sari Place. Each place we entered I apologized to the staff, looked around briefly and left without buying anything.

Finally about a block and a half from the hardware store I met my salvation. It was a huge dead cockroach in the vestibule of a restaurant.

I directed my nephew’s attention to the six-legged brown dead creature and said, “Isn’t that the coolest thing you ever saw?” The tantrum was over. He smiled and said, “Yes!” I asked if he would like to take it home. That was like asking if he’d like me to throw out his oatmeal and give him ice cream instead. I told him that if he wanted it we would have to get to the hardware store and buy a jar for it. But we had to move fast so nobody else would get it first.

So now he was dragging me to the hardware store. Problem solved.

Several weeks later I visited my sister. That disgusting roach was still languishing in a jar on the window sill. Happy Mothers' Day!

No comments: