Friday, February 1, 2013
The Story of the Starbucks Troublemakers
Here's the full story:
Yesterday, I took the kids to the coffee store for a special treat. Before we went, I reminded Oliver that he needed to share with his sister. He's been acting out in public recently, so I wanted to nip any problems in the bud. He nodded and said, "You have to share with Jo." Perfect!
We got there, and I let Oliver select a chocolate milk. I ordered a soy latte for me and a pumpkin scone for all of us to split. Oliver picked out a table and pushed the high chair over to the table for Jo. Things were going well. I broke up the scone into pieces for Jo and broke off a hunk for Oliver to eat. I waited for my drink and talked to the barista. It was a nice morning out. One young couple was at a nearby table and told me that my kids were really cute. They giggled about Oliver wearing his sunglasses indoors, and they were crooked. I felt proud of my kiddos.
I sat down with the kids and broke up more scone. Jo's mouth was sticky, and she needed something to drink. I reminded Oliver that he needed to share. He freaked out and yelled, "No! No! I don't have to share with Jo!"
I got down to his level and said, "Oliver, if you keep this up, we have to leave. Remember: there are restaurant rules." He stopped hollering but kept insisting he didn't want to share with Jo. I told him he had to share. I reminded him we talked about it, and Jo needed some milk. If he didn't share, then he didn't get any, either. I picked up his milk, and he seemed OK. I raised it to Jo's lips.
Cue three year old tantrum.
Like, he went from 0 to 10 instantaneously. Oliver started to scream. I was horrified. He yanked the milk away, and then Jo started screaming and crying, too. I'm squatting in front of two kids yelling and screaming and crying in the middle of Starbucks. I just said, "That's it. You didn't share. You broke the rules. We have to go. Now."
Behind me, I hear the nice couple trying not to laugh. The young man said, "He's mad because he didn't want to share his scone!" Honestly, looking back, I'm so glad they weren't mad and took it so lightly. At the time, I was too horrified and shocked with Oliver's behavior to feel properly humiliated or grateful. I just grabbed Jo out of the highchair, grabbed our stuff, and told Oliver we were leaving. We left behind a table full of crumbs, and a high chair pushed into a table.
Oliver waited up on the sidewalk, sniffling, as I buckled Jo into the car. I walked over to him, and he begged to go back inside. I told him he lost it because he didn't share. I reminded him that, if he doesn't share, then neither of them get any.
We drove home. I kept trying to think of how to teach Oliver his behavior wasn't OK. I also wanted him to know that sharing is good. We got into the house, and Oliver asked for more. I told him we had to call the coffee store to apologize. I sat next to Oliver and called Starbucks. I told them we were really sorry for disturbing everybody, and I was sorry we'd left a mess. I also promised we'd come by later this week and leave a tip for them. The barista was really nice and said she's a mom, too, and knows how it goes. She told me not to worry.
After the phone call, I told Oliver we broke the restaurant rules. He really seemed to understand everything because he kept saying, "You have to be quiet at restaurants," and, "You lost it because you didn't share with Jo." We had a talk about sharing. If he shared, then they both got some milk and scone. If he didn't, then neither of them got any. He helped me pour some of his milk into a cup for Jo. Then, we split the remaining scone for the two of them, and they both got to enjoy their treat.
Before Andrew got home, I explained to Oliver that he was going to go back to the coffee store and apologize. Honestly, at that point, I wasn't sure if Oliver would even remember what happened. Even as a mom, it's hard to know what all three-year-olds remember and understand. He seemed to really get it, though, because he talked about it for an hour before they went back to Starbucks. He kept saying things like, "I have to say sorry because I didn't share with Jo. There's no yelling at restaurants! They're sad. I have to say sorry." It's kind of cute how little ones think out loud.