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.
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
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. "
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.
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.