Word Up - It's Time to Get Wordy!

Word of the Day
I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. Gertrude Stein

08 March 2008

Anybody else want to glean from my wisdom?

My friend Holly has told me recently that she often hears herself saying, "How does Jodie do it?" She, for obvious reasons (as you will soon see) views me as a very patient mother of well-behaved children. Just so happens we had an incident this week to illustrate my great prowess (exceptional or superior ability, skill, or strength). I emailed her this story.

(clears throat)

One day after school I had a great idea. I'm gonna take the kids to Dollar Tree for a treat. They love Dollar Tree. I'm a great mom. I'm creating happy feelings and memories in the hearts of my children. Puddin's exhausted, so he's gonna sleep. So really, I'll just have two of them to take care of. This is gonna be fun.

So we get there. In the parking lot, I kill the engine. I turn to them and give them "the talk".
There will be no running in the parking lot, as running in the parking lot is very dangerous.
We will hold hands when we walk into the store, as not holding hands is dangerous because of the other cars in the parking lot.
When we get into the store if you behave you each get one treat. If you don't obey Mama, there will be no treats.
We're gonna look at the toys, and there are some things Mama wants to look at too.
And you're gonna stay by the basket. No running ahead.
Okay?
Yes.
Yes ma'am?
Yes ma'am.

Gooood. I'm confident that we will have a good time. It's gonna be fun. (still delusional)

We get out of the van and things are going pretty well. When we walk in I have to reign them in from the stuffed teddy bears at the entrance and say (again), "remember what we talked about. Stay by the basket, ok?" I'm a little miffed I have to mention it already, because hello. It's only been 2.2 minutes since "the talk".

I have to tell Sweet Pickle (again) to stop bouncing his ball and throwing it in the store. Finally I take the ball and put it in the cart. "One more correction and you don't get this ball, ok?" Ok.

We shop a little more. Puddin is not sleeping. He's wide awake. He's whining and he has spit up on himself twice. His shirt and the straps of his car seat are soaked through. His white shirt is now yellow. He stinks.

Time to check out. We get in line and I take the baby out of his seat because he's crying again. Why hasn't he fallen asleep? He was exhausted pre-trip.

As I'm unstrapping my stinky Puddin', Sugarhead (3) grabs Sweet Pickle's (4) hand and they walk off to the shelves of nick nack trash trinkets. I follow them with my half-dressed baby on my shoulder. He's wearing a long sleeve shirt, a wet diaper and a pair of socks. I don't look much better. There's spit up on me too.

I snap my fingers and hiss. Back to the cart. Now. And no toys. (Why did I think this would work?)

We're all back in line. There are people in front of us and behind us. Now the pressure's really on. The kids in front of us are playing with these chickens placed strategically at the register. They squawk LOUDLY when you squeeze them. (trying to ignore how badly that sound grates on my nerves)

They finish up. Now it's our turn to squeeze the chickens. I check out, tell the girl I'm gonna pass on this coloring book and this ball. I'm sorry.

Sweet Pickle has a chicken in his hand and when I say "okay guys, time to go" he looks me square in the face and says forcefully, NO!

Oh yes he did.

I tilt my head to the side and attempt to burn his retinas with mine and say, "YES SIR! Put the chicken up. NOW. We're leaving. "

"NO!"

A lady behind me says, "Aw mama. He just wants a chicken."

Yes she did.

(Jesus, I think I'll slap her. That's what you would do, right?) I snap back, "He may want a chicken. He's about to get something else!" I never thought for even a second, be polite Jodie. I'm sure she means well.

I walk over to him, my chest is on fire. As I'm walking over Puddin' spits again. This time it runs down his leg, onto the carpet, and I have no spit rag. I take off his sock and wipe his leg, and ignore the carpet. Because really. I cannot take any. more.

I look at my child and I say with clenched teeth, "Son. I will take you in the bathroom right now and discipline you in this store if you don't put that chicken up right. now. I said it's time to leave. Obey." (I'm secretly thinking, if this doesn't work, I'm screwed - because really, if I have to follow through, I have to put down my baby who will no doubt furiously scream his head off. I really don't want to have to deal with that right now. I just want to go home.)

He puts down the chicken. I'm very relieved that he believed me. We leave. I almost forget what I bought and have to walk back to the register for my bag.

We get out of the door. "Hold your sister's hand." His hands are stuffed firmly in his pockets. He has no intention of holding her hand. "Take her hand son. Right now." In the meantime, she starts to walk into the parking lot on her own, ahead of us, and in the wrong direction.

Grrrr.

We finally get into the van. I'm fuming. I take a deep breath and pray on the way home. God please. (Most of my prayers begin this way) God please. Give me discernment. I need wisdom. Please give me the right words, and self control.

At this point I'm really not even wanting to calm down because I want to be angry. I was so mad. Long story short, we get home. There's crying and gnashing of teeth. When all is calm again, Sweet Pickle and I hold hands and pray together. I really want him to understand, and I want to train his heart, not just his behavior. He's older and I think better able to understand that part. That it's about disrespecting Mama, and disobeying, and he needs God to help him to be respectful and to follow the rules.

At the end of the day, we were all on good terms, albeit tired and worn out. But I felt good about how I handled it with him. I usually feel guilty because I have a difficult time being both firm and nurturing. Then later, usually when they're all asleep, I feel I've failed them as a mom. I failed to teach them the bigger lesson. I failed to nurture them while I was angry. Most of the time I feel horrible - that they acted that way (I take it personal), that I didn't handle myself better, that I haven't taught them better than that, that I've trained them to ignore my first warning and not take me seriously, that I left God out of it, and that I'm terrible at this...

So I sent the story to Holly so that she could see that other kids have tantrums and are difficult to manage, too.

It really is no wonder she looks up to me. I clearly have exemplary mothering skillz.

25 people love me:

Teresa said...

Isn't it funny how people always think that everyone is doing it better? Or they MUST have PERFECT children. HA!
You're not alone! Just today, it took me over 5 minutes to get my sweet 5 yo redhead (said with obvious sarcasm), out of the truck. I had 2 women watching me, wided eyed, giving me "the look." You know the one.
I think you're great, Jodie!

mamatutwo said...

That's so funny, because you know it happens to us all. Lately, I've caught myself thinking, "My little guy is really so well-behaved. If everybody would just do this and this...."(and I have two older kids! And then we'll go out in public somewhere, and he becomes a heathen. I mean, really. A child that I don't recognize! Man, every time I think I have it down, it bites me in the hiney!

tipptalk said...

Hahaha! Welcome to the blog party!

Mocha with Linda said...

Hilarious. Sounds like you did better than I would have. Or than I did.

I never completely understood the term "seeing red" until I had a 3-year-old.

And the time he scrambled up ON TOP OF the luggage carousel at the airport?! All I could think was "this is a liberal town and I can't spank him in public or someone will call CPS!"

Loved your blog and I'm glad to meet another word geek. Come visit my blog party!!

Gillian Gauthier said...

Your writing is great!!! I read ever word, often with chuckles in how your kids acted in the dollar store (been there, done that with MY kids!) and how you feel at night after they have been disciplined for their actions ...
Thanks for the party! Keep on bloggin!

http://www.gigiphotography.typepad.com/gigiblog/

Diana Evans said...

hahahaah...nice to meet you and great read....

Have fun at the Ultimate blog party...

Cheers,
Diana

Melanie said...

Hi, so nice to meet you! I found your site via the blog party and think I may just have to come and visit again sometime soon.

I can SO relate to this post. I have two sweet children - 6 and 3. I can't tell you how many times we've had a similar experience. Honestly, it makes me feel better to know I'm not alone. That probably doesn't help you any, though, does it? :)

A Woman Who is: said...

If you love Earl Grey, I am telling you try Lady Grey! She is a much lighter version, and doesn't require the sugar and cream the stronger version Earl Grey does. I drink both, depending on my mood.
Sorry about the teapot. My husband melted half a dozen pot on the stove our first two years of marriage. I switched to stainless steal with a whistle grinnnnnn :]
By the way I am serving tea at my party, please do stop by and have a cuppa!

BrineS said...

I'm inviting you to party with me!

Win some chocolate from my-sister-in-law and I...we blog about CHOCOLATE...me from Australia...and her from Michigan. Here's the link: http://thechocolistas.blogspot.com/2008/03/ultimate-blog-party-2008.html

What am I doing in Australia? I married an Aussie...and moved to Brisbane, leaving my family and friends and all the right-side-of-the-road drivers in America.

Win a handmade pocket place mat from my blog Comfort Joy Designs. Here's the link:
http://comfortjoydesigns.blogspot.com/2008/03/ultimate-blog-party-2008.html

Want to know more about life in Australia? Visit my A Cup of Joy site where I keep up with my family and friends in America. Here's the link:
http://acupofjoy.wordpress.com/

Happy Partying!

sarah bean said...

Happy blog party ;)

Carey said...

Welcome to the party! ITs nice to meet you.

Naomi said...

thank you... adding the second kid has kind of thrown me for a loop. Nice to know everyone has those days...

Kwana said...

From one mom to another, well done! And great story. Thanks for sharing and the party.

Stephanie @ Figments said...

Hi...stopped by from the Party! Nice to meet you!

Tonja said...

ok...first of all, you got popular something quick :) good job!
now the world will enjoy your humor! it's about time!

and well, next, let me just say that it's been about 5 minutes since I read this blog and I'm still laughing!!!!!!!
Only because I CAN RELATE!! ha! not just relate...you just described so many of my trips to ANY store!!!! I'm still having moments like this...only the tantrums look a bit different...their voices are LOUDER when they say, "So! I don't care if anyone hears me!" when I tell them to be quiet as I discipline them discreetly :)
And, yep, still go to bed feeling like the biggest failure of a mother...because really, your kids are still less than 5 yo...mine are twice that age! I should have this down by now, right? heh!

well, thanks for the laugh! xoxo

Stacey @ Happy Are We said...

Aaaahh...my day is complete. I may have to stay up until after midnight for my "me time," but tonight you REALLY made it worth it! Great post! Glad I found you via the party - will definitely be adding you to my bloglines. :)

Take care!

Melanie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! If you ever really want to train for a half and/or full marathon, get in touch with me! I can get you some great resources on training and such. :)

Linda said...

Well, I'm 45 with big ol children, and I look up to you. You have one tough job, lady, and I'm not casting aspersions on your children. I'm just saying IT'S HARD! But here is one tip I can pass along: I would not threaten to take them into the bathroom at the Dollar Store. At least in Indiana, they don't have public restrooms!

Carlie said...

We must be blessed in La because there are bathrooms here. Don't ask me how I know this! Gread read Jodie! Are you sure you weren't spying on us the last time we went to the Dollar Tree?

Kwana said...

Thanks for the visit! If you can catch Top Chef on Brovo on Wednesday night at 10. It's the first show of the new season and I'll be blogging on it. I hope you stop back!

Melanie said...

Hey Jodie - I don't really have a lot of trouble with shin splints except for when I run on concrete (so I try to avoid sidewalks). But when they flare up, the best thing to do is this one stretch that I'll try to explain. Sit down with your legs straight in front of you, feet together. I lean back on my hands to hold myself up. Have someone else push down on the top of both of your feet (it'd be like if you were pointing your toes and someone was pushing down on top of them). Then, as they push down, pull your toes back up toward you. If done right, your feet aren't really going to move much at all. Pulling against the resistance of the person pushing your feet down stretches your shins better than any other way I've seen it done. Hope this helps!

poetryprincess said...

" A lady behind me says, "Aw mama. He just wants a chicken." "

Word to the not-so-wise: When Mamma says "No" to her children while in the check out line at the store you absolutely do not say anything along the lines of "Aww, but he just wants a _______." (Unless of course he wants a hug 'cause then I guess it'd be ok.).

-Rach

Teresa said...

Hey Jodie, I tagged you on meme at my site. Go check it out! And how have you been?

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Oh, Jodie.

I had a day like this today and DIDN'T handle it well. At all. Bad. Bad, bad, bad mommy.

His grace will be new in the morning.

Anonymous said...

It helps so much to hear that I am not the only momma who feels like a failure at the end of the day.I need to know that other children or parents don't actually have it so much better. I want to take credit for every victory and blame myself for every misbehavior done in public. You make it easy to laugh at myself when I don't do it perfectly. I think God uses our children to keep us humble.
I love your blog. Keep writing!!
Birdie