Chloe and I had an argument yesterday morning. We stopped at the local bookstore before her tennis lesson so that she could buy herself a new tome. For once, she took care of her business quickly, and ran back out to the car after just a couple of minutes, new book in hand. But then she noticed that the cover was a little damaged.
She started to huff and puff, and she would have blown the car down if she was the big, bad wolf. But since she’s just Chloe, she just huffed and puffed some more. I told her not to worry about it, to just go back to the store and exchange the book for another copy. “I don’t want to do that, Mom. It’s embarrassing!” “It’s not embarrassing,” I replied. “People do that all the time. Damaged books are part of doing business in a bookstore, and I am 100% sure they won’t mind at all.”
Instead of listening to me, she became more frustrated. “I’ve never seen anyone do that before, Mom. It’s embarrassing!” “Chloe, you’ve never seen anyone do that before because you’re only 10 years old and you’ve only lived a fraction of the life I’ve lived.” She continued to huff and puff.
I then tried to reason with Chloe. Because she’s a smart girl and because she likes to think she’s mature and reasonable. “What will make you more upset? Going home with a damaged book or simply going back to the bookstore and asking to exchange the damaged book?” That didn’t work. Her response: “They’re both bad. It’s embarrassing!”
I’d just about had it. These are the parenting moments that cause me to want to start ingesting tranquilizers by the cupful. I offered to go with her again (I had already tried that twice, to no avail). This time, her stubbornness lost out to her desire to have a book with a cover that wasn’t bent and she finally relented. We went into the store and she asked me to ask the cashier if she could trade copies. And I did. And Chloe saw the employee smile and heard her say, “Of course.” And off Chloe ran, to get a pristine book.
Happy again. When I asked Chloe a few hours later if she would be comfortable sticking up for her rights as a customer in the future, she admitted, “probably not.” I have a feeling that “it’s embarrassing” is going to be Chloe’s favorite avoidance phrase for the next several years. Forget cupfuls of tranquilizers. I think I’m going to need bottlefuls.