|Playing nicely. For a change.|
I've been a little hesitant to take both children outside of the house to anywhere but the grocery store, and I only do that because it’s necessary.
Actually that's a bit of an understatement. I'm completely terrified that as soon as I get into a store or restaurant they will both scream and throw themselves onto the ground, flailing and thrashing and kicking whatever is within range - be it puppies or books or random babies that happen to be rolling by. As a result we haven't ventured too far from home.
But I think I've done the kids a disservice. They are GOOD kids. As much as I talk and complain about them, for the most part, at least in public, they are well behaved.
And so since we've been dealing with screaming and tantrums and back talking and the general distaste of a 3 year old who thinks he's 25 and can do whatever he wants, I thought we needed a change of scenery.
Plus we were coming off one of those days where running away and leaving the kids to fend for themselves started to sound like a viable option.
So when I got an email reminder of a library book that was overdue a week ago (woops!) I used it as an excuse to pack everybody up and venture out into the world. Even though I'd forgotten to take a shower (yes, that happens) and couple that with cheap shampoo and I was looking a little insane. And the dry shampoo I’d bought just for such an occasion didn’t really do what it was the bottle claimed it was supposed to (bastard). So in all reality I should have holed up until I could properly present myself. But what the hell, right? It’s not like people don’t think I’m nuts as soon as I open my mouth or stumble into a potted plant anyway.
Plus Adele slept late so I knew she probably wouldn't take a morning nap - so we had a little more freedom.
We dropped the book off then headed to the mall for the indoor play area. Other than an almost meltdown over the stupid horse ride that I wouldn’t let Sebastian ride on because we were GOING TO A PLAY AREA CALM DOWN CHILD, everything was fantastic.
Sebastian ran around and jumped off foam pyramids and climbed on something big and round and vaguely Parthenon-like. He met a little girl who had a temporary tattoo from Thomas and a little boy who was a little younger but still followed him around and attempted all the daredevil stuff, too.
He had a blast. Even Adele enjoyed herself, crawling around and exploring and talking to whoever she saw.
We stayed for about an hour which was long enough for Sebastian to be okay with leaving without bribes, threats or embarrassment. I was able to take the kids in a couple of shops, but the whole time Sebastian was telling me what a ‘hungry boy’ he was, so I thought maybe it was time for lunch.
Now I had three choices. Home for PB&J, stop at a fast food restaurant drive thru and take it home, or sit inside and eat. Since I don’t think he’s ever actually eaten inside the place with the huge M (“There’s lots of ‘Ms’ Mommy!”) I thought I’d treat us. Plus I wasn’t ready to end the day. We were having such a good time! So in we went.
However I didn’t take into account how I would actually get the food from the counter to a table and also still keep track of two children, one of whom isn’t walking yet. So after ordering I found a quiet place to set the kids and started to go back up for the food when the woman who took my order brought it out to me. She even filled up my drink. I thanked her profusely since I hadn’t been too comfortable walking away from the kids, even if I could still see them.
Thank you so much! I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do this!
Believe me, I’ve been there.
(In my head: It would be weird to hug you right? But I really want to. I’m gonna go ahead and send you a mental hug right …. NOW! Did you get it?)
(So thank you McDonald’s lady. Made a good day that much better.)
Unfortunately I had inadvertently sat the kids down at a table directly under the TV, which was playing nonstop Fox News. And they were mesmerized. As were the five or so middle-to-old-aged people who sat down after us.
And since we were having such a good time that none of us wanted to go home, plus we had about an hour until we stepped into the dreaded ‘It’s time for nap but we’re nowhere near home and for the love of sweet baby Jesus don’t fall asleep in your car seat otherwise as soon as I move you you’ll wake up and never go back to sleep and will be terror – rific all afternoon.
Plus I had a birthday gift card to Barnes and Noble that was burning a hole in my purse and I’d discovered a new knitting book I desperately* needed. I made sure Sebastian understood that we’d only be going for a little bit and he could play with the trains but there would be NO FUSSING when it was time to leave.
I did make him look at books with me for just a few minutes before the train table and in that amount of time he made friends with an older woman who just happened to be around, and he was so impressive and friendly and just plain silly that she swore he’d be famous someday and she’d say that she remembered him when.
That kid can charm even the most cantankerous of people, I think. Put him in a room with a bunch of grumps and they’ll be singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ in a span of 10 minutes.
When it was time to leave we only had a minor meltdown, nothing I couldn’t handle and nothing that lasted too long or caused too much embarrassment, even though there were three other mothers and about five other kids around.
I think the trick is remaining calm yourself, I think. And if I’d been going the way I had been before we left the house, I probably would have jerked him up at the first scream and marched him outside, which would have only ended in more screaming and possibly even scratching but most definitely crying. Instead I waited patiently for him to pick up random books and tell me ‘no, he wanted to play with the trains’ until he understood that I was serious. It was TIME. And that was it.
Every time I lose my cool the situation escalates into something bordering on exorcism territory.
And I just don’t know that many priests personally anymore. Who would I call?