While talking with my parents, I informed them that I'm going to have to write a book. Yeah, it'll be called "Your Children Are Miserable and Sullen, and It's All Your Fault", and I'm going to fill it with stories like the following.
Some time back a woman came into the toy store I work at. She had a young daughter, about 12 or 13 months old. First she handed the child a small ball...and then a small bag. After wandering the store for about ten minutes, she turned to the girl and started informing her in a mixture of Chinese and English that she had to choose one of the two. Bag or ball? Bag or ball? The little girl just stared at her blankly, so the mother forcefully took the ball from the girl, who began screaming and crying and carrying on. Bag or ball? Bag or ball? "Only one!" she announced. During this time she repeatedly feigned to hand the ball back to the child, but just as the child reached out for the ball the woman would withdraw the ball again, having not seen the child simultaneously offering up the bag.
Eventually she handed the ball back to the girl, only to then take the bag, repeating the carrot-on-stick taunting. It was so inept as to be mean-spirited. The child had tears streaming down her face at this point, so the mother, the bag in hand, finally took the ball as well, replacing it in its original location, and paid for the bag. Her daughter, however, found a tiny plastic novelty, which contented her.
For the next five minutes the mother talked to the girl in Chinese, patiently gesturing repeatedly to put the novelty back. The little girl blissfully ignored the mother, shaking the novelty around and smiling confusedly at her incompetent mother. After about five minutes of this, with my patience reaching its limit and knowing that parents hate being parents, I walked up and informed the woman that "I'll give you another minute, and then I'll walk up and take the thing from the child so you don't have to be the bad guy."
She mumbled something about trying to convince her daughter to put the novelty back, and continued her foolishness for another two minutes before physically taking the novelty and exiting the store with a screaming and crying child.
So, I guess she had a successful visit?