After preschool yesterday we started walking toward the bookstore. When we were half a block away I asked El Chico, "Do you know what we're going to do now? We're going to go return the Dora book you took. I'd like you to hold it and when we go in you can hand it back and tell 'them' that you took it." I pulled it out from under the stroller and put it in his lap.
"No, Mama! Please don't make me say it! Please don't make me tell them. You tell them, please? Pleeeeeeaaase?!"
My mother was so right. I did have a child exactly like me. Not that I was a shoplifter, but man,
am was I histrionic. One of the nicknames my mom has for me is Sarah Bernhardt. So I was hoping that he actually was that scared of going in to confess, and wasn't just working himself up into an empty lather as I know I've done in the past.
We went in and I went over to Customer Service to pretend to ask if we should go to the Children's Section. I really just wanted El Chico to have to encounter as many adults who would hear that he'd stolen the book as possible, figuring this would reinforce the message that he shouldn't do it. The lady at the Customer Service desk was too sweet, though, and she said, "Thank you! That's so nice of you to return it!" Hello? Aren't you going to help me teach my child the natural consequences of stealing? He's going to think he should steal books every day just to get approval when he brings them back! I'm sure her attitude somehow can be traced back to Timothy Leary and/or the Free Love Movement. Damn hippies.
So we got to the Children's Section, and I was dismayed to see a very sweet-looking woman at the register. She turned out to be from the islands, which worked in my favor, as one of El Chico's friends has a nany from the islands who's a little on the scary side. Initially the clerk thanked me for returning the book, but when I said that my son took it and thought nothing would happen she winked at me and started to read him out about it. That's what I'm talking about. Then she told him that if we had been caught on the way out of the store with the book we would have been taken to a back room with the security guard, who would have called the police. The police would have taken us to the police station and locked us up. I added that we would have been locked up until Daddy came to get us with a lawyer. El Chico looked very sober and said he was sorry and hid his face behind my legs. I let him off the hook by telling him to find a book I could read to him but that we wouldn't buy, and then I thanked the clerk. She laughed and thanked me for bringing it back because "most of them wouldn't do it." I know she's right about many of the parents in this city, which kind of makes me sad. It's lonely work trying to raise a Jimmy Carter instead of a Richard Nixon.
Yesterday's other project was trying to track down Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. All you Chicagoans are thinking, "Hypnotic? Yeah, whatever," but I had never heard (of) them until we saw them playing on the subway platform on the way home from church on Sunday. They're street musicians from Chicago and they're in NYC for a few weeks. I had no money on me on Sunday so I couldn't buy a CD, but El Chico and El Pequeño were mesmerized by them. After we left the subway, El Chico said, "I really liked that music." The Hypnotic guy told me they'd be on the same subway platform next Sunday, but I'm hoping to find the CD before then. I found a write-up about them here, and a blog write-up about them in NYC here that links to this MP3 of one of their songs. They have no website, but there's a number to call to buy CDs. I called it, hoping I could find out when they'd be in our part of the city again, but their mailbox was full. So El Chico and I listened to the MP3 about 8 times in a row and danced around the apartment. I hope I can find them in the next day or two.