So I had a holy hell of a toddler experience yesterday. Zoe is on spring break this week, yay for no taxi-driver duties! We pretty much read stories and watched videos until about three in the afternoon, at which point I decided that if I was going to cook ham for dinner, we'd better get moving. I put the ham in the oven, then loaded everyone up to find some dinner rolls at Wal-Mart. (Have you ever tried their Texas ranch rolls? So yummy! I hate Wal-Mart for so many reasons, but they do have this one saving grace.)
Before I go on, you should know that Zoe has a new fascination with charts and checklists, which I decided to capitalize upon by giving her a couple of chores. She earns a dollar a week for each chore that gets checked off the list every day. (I know, I'm totally generous, right?) Yesterday was her first payday. Two whole dollars! Plus, the one she already had, that Uncle Adam or someone gave her. Anyway, long story short, Liam is NOT into charts and checklists. Or chores. AT ALL. He strongly opposes anything that means picking anything up. His one chore is to clear the kitchen table before dinner, so we can eat, and after dinner so we can do the dishes. Or at the very least, stack them near the sink. Anyway, all week Zoe was rubbing it in that she would buy a prize with her allowance and he wouldn't have any. Which was true, even though I tried to get her to leave him alone about it and quit bragging already!!
So I'm in Wal-Mart with all three kids and a cart full of crap I didn't come in for, trying to convince Zoe that if she wants to buy anything she should SAVE her allowance for next week, so she'll have five dollars instead of only three. She would not be convinced. Which is fine- because I refuse to be the mom that tells her how to spend her money; but maddening- because she wasn't pleased with anything she could afford. She wandered aimlessly, (and S-L-O-W-L-Y) refusing to believe that the only things in the toys section for less than three dollars were matchbox cars, or bubbles. In the meantime, Liam found a dinosaur book he wanted, and I cant really justify buying him a book just to shut him up, when I made her earn her money and refused to cover the difference between her three dollars and a five dollar littlest pet-shop creature. He walked backward from the back wall, all the way to the register, "hiding" the book behind his back. I figured I would yoink it from him right after we checked out, saving the bulk of the imminent tantrum for after we were in the car, safely out of the public eye. Well, that didn't work.
I forgot to take it from him until just before we were out the door. I think he must have thought he was home-free, because he was shocked when I told him I didn't pay for that, and he would have to put it back until next time. He started crying, saying he was "just" taking it home. So, I enlisted the door greeter to help me, thinking that if it didn't come from mommy, he would put up less of a fight. Wrong again. The stupid old man wouldn't take it! I told Liam he couldn't steal, and needed to give it back to the worker. Just as Liam was about to hand it to him, the old man looks at me, and says "You don't want him to have it?" What!?!? The fact that I'm on my way OUT THE DOOR, with my stuff in bags, and a three year old throwing a fit, wasn't a clue enough for you that I'm trying to get the kid to leave the frickin book here? Sheesh! I pried the book out of Liams hands (no exaggeration), practically chucked it at the stupidest old man I've ever met, and start heading out the door. But no, Liam wants to "stay HERE!" badly enough to stand right in the entryway and stomp and scream at the top of his lungs.
I picked him up and carried him to the car, suffering kicks to my thighs and screaming in my ears all the way. I had to set him down to fish my keys out of my purse, and he ran to the other side of the car parked next to ours, screaming and stomping all the way. He seemed to be sticking close, and I learned a few years ago that you should never chase a running toddler, so I just kept and eye on him while unloaded everything from the cart to the car and got the other two kids buckled in. No less than three people asked him if he was lost, and all three gave me that disgusted look of horror, when I popped around the other vehicle to explain that he was not lost, but just letting off some steam.
Finally, there was nothing left to do, so I walked around to get him and take him back to the car. Yeah, the chasing a toddler rule still holds true. The second he saw that I was ready to pick him up, he turned and RAN, full speed, down the parking lot. I ran after him. Just as I started to run, I hear "Is that you, Rachelle?" -UGG...Of course not! Rachelle is totally together, and calm, and never has to chase her perfect children through the Wal-Mart parking lot just so she can take them home. I turned around and there was Cory, a co-worker from Arbys, who I haven't seen in about 6 years. She has her husband and two-year old with her, and looks fantastic (of course! and not at all frazzled, I might add). Cory gushes "How are you!?" -haha! Obviously I'm wonderful!!- As I ran past her, I tried to joke that I'm usually better than this, and gestured wildly to the tow-head quickly disappearing between the rows of cars. He nearly got hit by a car before I caught him by the straps of his overalls and threw him over my shoulder sack-of-potatoes style.
Accompanied by the kicking and screaming I wrestled him into his seat-belt by holding his hips down with one hand and buckling with the other, with flashes of the Dr Phil show on abusive parents going through my head. After pausing a moment to close the back door, and check myself for bruises, I started to drive out of the parking lot. I had a silent debate going in my head over whether the headline would read "Mother abuses boy in Wal-Mart parking lot" or, "Search for child-killer ensues" as Liam climbed out of his (still buckled) seat-belt, and tried to open the door. Yes, while the car was moving. When he couldn't get the door to open he figured beating the back of my arms and head with his fists would suffice, and upped the screaming volume a notch for good measure.
About a block away from Wal-Mart, I pulled off on the side of the road, pulled him out of the car, stood him on the sidewalk and asked him if he wanted to walk home. First he got louder, screaming that he didn't want to go home. I walked back toward the car, telling him that if he wanted to walk back to Wal-Mart instead, he should feel free to do so. Zoe was bawling, and screaming "Mom, he's too little to walk home! He'll get lost!!" (Oh, to be so lucky...) Of course the second I got the drivers door open again, he wanted to come with us. So, we reviewed his options again. He could SHUT THE HELL UP, buckle his seat-belt, and ride home with us. OR, he could WALK HOME ALONE. (I realize I'm a bully, and this tactic goes against every parenting experts advise, but holy freaking crap people, have the "experts" ever even seen a kid? Or less, taken one to Wal-Mart?) Whatever...
Anyway, he made it all the way home without freaking out again. The second I pulled in, I carried him to his bed and told him to stay there. He didn't cry, or even try to come out. When dinner was ready an hour later, he was sound asleep. We woke him up, but he wakes up grumpy (even on his good days, which this obviously wasn't) so we left him to drift in and out until he was ready to come eat. From the dinner table we heard him call out in his sleep "I want to WALK HOME!!" Ha ha, too late kid.
When Liam finally did come out of his room, he was contrite and sweet, apologizing on his own before being lectured by his dad, and again after. It still amazes me how I can go totally mommy-monster on them, but less than an hour later one little "I'm sorry momma" with a big hug, will still melt me completely. Brian grounded him from watching any shows, or going to any stores for a week. (Haha I guess he didn't think getting the crap beat out of me by my own three year old was enough of a punishment for taking the kids to Wal-Mart, and I needed a week of finding things for them to do, on top of it.) The joke was on him though, at least for that night, because soon after dinner, Zoe and I left for our "girls night".
Girls night is a little thing we came up with so that Zoe and I could go out without the boys. Haha - obviously. Usually she wants to go to a movie, which is more complicated than it should be, because there is almost never a movie out that we both want to see and, she almost never sits through a whole movie. For this GN, I convinced her that the bookstore and ice-cream would be way more fun. We hung out at Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours, read a bunch of books and each picked one to buy. Then we went to the Red Mango, for some ridiculously overpriced, but oh-so-yummy pomegranate frozen yogurt. She picked a Princess diary at B&N, so we completed some of the fill-in the blanks about me pages together while we ate our yogurt. Then, we headed to the dollar store (she still had three dollars to spend).
She was so funny, as it got later, she was getting overtired and giddy hyper-active. She kept saying "This is the best night of my life!" I kept thinking how the best night of my life was probably the night of her birthday. Laying there in a hospital bed, watching her every move with total fascination. I couldn't even believe it was true, that she was really there, and I was a mother! Finally! Our girls night out felt like a pretty close second best night of my life though, after the ordeal with Liam earlier, to be able to go out and spend time with my child, in public, and be reminded that they do in fact, know how to behave appropriately. So about two and a half more years, and I'll be able to take Liam in public without total humiliation...? I hope.