Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Public Parent Embarassment

Well, it happened. J's first public melt down. Until last weekend, he had always been a cooperative, happy shopping companion. And I totally took that for granted.

The instance in question occurred last weekend during a routine shopping trip. The day started poorly. At 5.a.m, I might add. J was in a mood. Not his normal self, to be sure. He was grouchy, whiny and just plain foul at points. Before 8am, he had served two times outs accompanied by tantrums.  I will admit, I probably should have abandonded the idea of grocery shopping given how the day started. But, my time is limited due to work and I just didn't know when else I would get it done. So, I forged ahead.

The trip to the store and shopping went well until the point that we checked out.  I had the groceries loaded onto the checkout counter and that is when it happened.  J spotted a Hot Wheels car that he absolutely must have. He asked if he could have it and I told him "no."  As I explained to him that his behavior so far that day had not been good enough for him to deserve a toy from the store, the pouty lip popped out and the tears welled up in his big brown eyes.  I knew what was coming. I felt like I was witnessing a car wreck. I could see it happening, but could do nothing to prevent it.

J started to scream. An ear piercing "I WANT THE CAR!" wail that he repeated over and over. My own mantra for him was "I said no, and this is why. When does a fit get you what you want? Never." I will admit that I was probably repeating my mantra a little too loudly. Mostly for the benefit of the passers by who I am sure thought some sort of abuse was occurring due to the volume of J's wailing. 

Then it happened. As if it wasn't bad enough to be weathering my first public melt down, the cashier decided she would "help" me. She looked at J and said, "honey, if you stop crying, your mommy might buy you that toy."  Um, what? I couldn't believe it! Had she really just said that? No, I must be mistaken. But then , sure enough, she said it again. I told her that I didn't intend to buy the toy, especially now that J was pitching a fit. She said "Well, I said you MIGHT buy the toy for him." Oh, sure, because an inconsolable 3 year old really heard the MIGHT in that statement!  As patiently as I could, I explained that I didn't believe in rewarding a tantrum with a toy.  I thought that would put the issue to rest.

Oh, how wrong I was. J stopped crying so twice more this cashier said to J "See how good you are being? I am almost done and your mommy is going to buy that toy for you!" Then she gives me a conspiritorial smile and says "I have four kids." I think I was too dumbfounded to speak. Which is good because all I could think of was a sarcastic "yeah, and I bet they're awesome!" I turned away so as not to loose it and finally the cashier announced my total as well as "All done! Now, should I ring up that toy mom?"  I again said no and I didn't appreciate being put on the spot that way. To which she replied "Geez, if I had a dollar, I would just buy it FOR him."  Yeah, because that was the point, lady! 

There are two things of note that came from this experience.  1.) I have way more self control that I ever imagined.  I kept my cool with the 3 year old whose head was spinning around like the girl from the Exorcist AND I managed not to flip out on the cashier. It was ah-may-zing on my part, I think. And 2.) No one should intervene when you are dealing with your kids. (With the exception of someone who is being abusive, of course). I have personally never done this to another parent and never will.  I was embarassed by the tantrum, but became mortified by this woman who essentially accused me of not handling the situation right.  How about a little support instead of ridicule? How about a  supportive "your mommy is right, crying never gets you anything buddy!" Would that have been so hard? I was standing my ground. I was not being mean or abusive to him. He was not hurt in some way, he was being a stinker. And I was NOT going to be the parent that says no and then sheepishly gives in and buys the toy. This is why: because if I give in once, J will learn that having a hissy fit gets him his way. And it doesn't. Ever. Did I want him stop crying? Yes! More than anything! But I really believe that if I had given in, it would have been the beginning of the end.

So there it is. My first public tantrum situation.  And I survived it! Barely! So for all the moms reading this, hopefully you will feel better about your own embarassing moments. You are not alone. I am now in your ranks and will never take my usually good natured, happy boy for granted.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Another Easter is in the books. I thought we had our weekend mapped out, but everything got turned a little upside down. Plans fell through and others were made. But in the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite Easters ever.

Jackson and I dyed Easter eggs on Good Friday. We also kept busy making M&M/frosting/pretzel flowers. Well, I made flowers, J ate M&M's. It was a good partnership. We needed the pretty, bright colored M&M's for the "petals" but not the brown ones. J was free to consume as many of those as he wanted. Our eggs turned out great and he was really into coloring them this year.  We had great weather and took the eggs and dye onto the porch for coloring. We had a few splashes (when eggs are dropped into a cup of dye, it tends slosh onto the table). We had a few cracked eggs. And we learned that vinegar not only smells bad, it tastes bad too (I swear this child tastes EVERYTHING!).

                                                  Materpieces! The flowers were delicious!

We spent Saturday morning at a  kids event held at a local church. There were crafts, a bouncy house, egg hunts and even lunch! J hung out with one of his buddies from daycare and declared on the way home that "I'm tired. That wore me out." So, we napped! Hooray! Nap time was followed up with church and pizza dinner.

                                        All lined up to hunt eggs. I turned around and saw this.
                                                             He just loves Miss Maddie!

But Sunday was the highlight of the weekend for me. Our plans were changing continually for the days leading up to Easter. Ultimately, we decided to take a laid back approach to the day.  J rose early (as usual) excited to see if the Easter Bunny had come. He found a couple eggs before spying his basket. The Easter Bunny had been inspired by something he read. It said that a good gift for a child consists of: something they want, something they need, something they wear and something to read.  Based on this, J's basket held a Hiro train (from his favorite Thomas video), a new frisbee (to replace our old one that broke), a short and t-shirt set and some books to help learn sight words.  But, Easter Bunny could have saved a bunch of money and just bought the train. J was ELATED with Hiro. He played with that train all day, slept with it that night and took it to daycare the next day. Even when he was hunting the rest of his eggs, his mind is still on Hiro:

                                                                   "I got a Hiro!"

                                                             All smiles posing with Hiro.

After the eggs were found (all 18 - no one was free to go until they were all located. No stinky eggs for us!), we let J pick our activites for the morning. He chose playing at the park followed by throwing rocks into the Mississippi.  We slid, climbed and swang. We skipped stones and even got to see a train go by while we were down by the river.  Mostly though, we ran around and laughed and were silly:

                                         Not thrilled about him calling me by my first name.                             
                                        Also, notice his dad doing nothing to discourage him :)

                                                                    My Boys :)
                                                                     All smiles.
                                                     Tossin' rocks into the Mississippi
                                                   We don't toss no stinking puny rocks.

After rock tossing and explaining to J why he couldn't go swimming about 50 times, we returned home for lunch. We had chicken nuggets and mac and cheese - I may have dropped the ball a little on Easter dinner! But, that was what J wanted, so that is what we had. The rest of the day was spent taking a nap (bonus - two in one weekend!), playing outside and playing games.

It was definitely a break from tradition for us this year, but it was one of the best Easters I can remember having. We slowed down. We played. We laughed A LOT. We enjoyed the gorgeous day we were given and I felt like this might have been one of the few Easters that we really did right. It is fun to have egg hunts and Easter baskets. To see family and friends and spend time together. And we did those things. But Easter day was more about just being together enjoying the life we can have because Jesus died on the cross for us and forgave our sins. I think that is more the point than peeps and jelly beans (although I do love me some peeps!).

Happy Easter Everyone!!!!