Benevolent Dictator and I were at Very Large Chain Bookstore (TM) today for their weekly storytime session, which is a great deal of fun for those of the toddler set. Most of the time you see normal toddler behavior -- some tantrums, wild giggling, blatant snack and sucking down of drinks and lots of singing and dancing.
And you also see haggard parents who are one step behind their children, putting away stuffed animals, reshelving books or making sure that their child doesn't run out the door with something rather valuable. So one has to be rather tolerant of a lot of variety of behaviors during this time -- if you're expecting quiet moments of civilized conversation, THIS IS NOT THE TIME. This is the time to be watching what looks like a bunch of little rug rats go nuts and attempting to keep the havoc to a minimum.
But today, I saw a mom do something that wasn't cool. While she was reading to her daughter, her son (who is at least a year older than BD) was ripping the flaps off of a lift-the-flap book. Which kinda sucks, but kids around the toddler age don't know exactly social norms and have to be reminded every 10 seconds.
It's what happened next that made me drop my jaw. The mom shoved the ripped flaps back into the book and PUT THE BOOK BACK ON THE SHELF. She even did the whole "looking around and making sure that no staff member is seeing this," and PUT THE DAMAGED BOOK ON THE SHELF.
That's not cool in my eyes. I know the temptation to put things back on the shelf. You won't believe how many things I've bought from Very Large Chain Bookstore (TM) because BD licked them, or ripped a page. But it's a matter of honesty and setting a good example. If you damage something, you pay for it at the store. You make amends. You don't just put the book on the shelf and pretend that it never happened. Or at least let the staff know. Not telling anyone is piss poor.
Obviously, when the kid gets older then the item is coming out of the kid's allowance. Now the kid might not be able to tell the difference between right and wrong as easily, but it's up to us, as parents, to set a good example now.
As parents, we all want our kids to be good people. But it's little things like this that set a major example in how they will behave in the future.
Not to mention, I feel bad for anyone who got that book, bought it, took it home and then saw the doors were ripped off. That's just weaksauce.