Lisa's Lines 7/8/21

Lisa Ingebrand,

Are my kids the only ones who forgot how to act in public?

It has been months since the COVID lockdown guidelines were lifted, but I still find myself having to retrain my offspring on the basics.  It’s baffling, frustrating, and a bit hilarious.

Last weekend, my family of four ventured to Kohl’s and Target because 9-yearold Ellen needed a few things for camp.

We pull into the parking lot. John and I get out of the vehicle and begin walking towards the store… but our children failed to follow. They were still getting out of the vehicle. Someone had taken her shoes off and couldn’t find one (how???). The other child was frantically searching for her purse she was sure she brought (but didn’t).

John and I stood there, on the hot pavement, waiting for them.

Why is getting out of the vehicle in a timely manner so difficult? They are no longer little. They knew where we were going. They could tell we had arrived and should have taken the initiative to prepare for departure (A.K.A. - Get your shoes on and gather the things you’ll need).

When they finally did get out of the vehicle, their dear daddy reviewed the vehicle departure process with them as we walked to the store.

Then, as we approached the door, both girls stood IN FRONT of the the door I needed to pull to open.

I looked at them, expecting them to move… and they just looked back at me, confused as to what I needed of them.

“At this point, we open the door. You need to MOVE aside or use your muscles to PULL the door open, so we can go in,” I informed them in my slow-talking mom voice I use to explain things they do/should already know.

Finally realizing they were standing in front of the door, they giggled at their actions and moved aside, allowing me to open the door.

Anna kindly grabbed a cart and the four of us headed to the girls’ clothing department. As Ellen darted around the displays of shorts and t-shirts, trying to decide what she liked best, I browsed the area to help her in her search. However, wherever I turned, Anna was RIGHT THERE with the cart. Repeatedly she managed to park the cart between me and whatever I was trying to examine. It was a bit annoying, so I had words with her about how to properly manage a cart.

Finally, Ellen tried on a few things and selected her favorites, so we headed to the checkout. There was one long line of people at the checkout, but the line was feeding at least four tills, so it was moving pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, my little redhead didn’t pick up on the process and jumped ahead in line, thinking she had just scored us a fast-pass out of the store. “Mom! Over here! No one’s over here! Come quick!” she hollered, giving the people who had waited their turn evil eyes.

She was devastated when I walked over, explained how the line was working, and told her to stand in the oh-solong line with us.

Of course, when little sister is downtrodden, big sister likes to push her buttons. I’m not sure what words were exchanged or what exactly went down, but all too soon, my daughters were loudly and dramatically squabbling in the checkout line.

They received dad’s death stare, but only brought it down a decibel.

It took me physically separating them, standing between them, and threatening them with going straight home and not getting dinner out to stop their antics.

Thankfully, the fresh air seemed to clear whatever had caused the issue, and we decided to enjoy a dinner out as a family.

Maybe our kids just had ants in their pants that day— they are good kid—or maybe it had been way too long since they’ve been out of the house in a public setting.

On the way into the restaurant, we reviewed why you don’t walk in front of someone and then stop.

Throughout dinner, John and I found ourselves having to correct their behaviors repeatedly—sit still, look at the server when you talk to them, remember your “pleases” and “thank yous,” don’t double dip in a shared platter, cover your mouth when you yawn, the people at the table next to us don’t want to hear you, stop blowing bubbles in your drink, put your napkins on your laps, etc.

I swear, these are all things my kids did automatically before COVID.

Unfortunately, social skills are only a small part of what we (at least my kids) lost during the pandemic.

Now, more than ever, there’s a need for patience, understanding, and loving guidance—for both kids and adults.

Good luck, fellow parents.



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