Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cosmic Re-balance

On Monday, I took the kids to the playground. While we were there, some fighting and screaming and not-sharing occurred, which forced me to separate the kids and institute a no-playing-on-the-tire-swing-if-you-can't- play-nicely-rule. I remained calm during the screaming fest, and meted out punishments swiftly and compassionately, and--miracles of miracles--the fighting ceased. Eventually, we had to abandon the tire-swing, since the fighting resumed and I needed to stick to my rules, but we got over this hump with minimal sniffles and managed to have some fun on the jungle gym instead.

As we were leaving--well, no, actually, this also happened during our stay--I glanced surreptitiously around at the other mothers to see if they noticed how well I was handling my kids. I did. I admit it. I wanted to be sure I had witnesses, I wanted some kudos, I wanted everyone else there to be impressed. And I presumed, in my head, that they were. I imagined them thinking things like, "wow, her kids are really well behaved!, and "she was completely consistent there and didn't back down!" and also "I wish I had her legs".

Kind of makes you cringe, doesn't it? First of all, what a fucking smug condescending bitch, even if it was only in my head! Secondly, and most importantly, did I not know the Mommy law of averages?? It is no secret that for every good moment you have with your kids you will have an opposite and (un)equal number of bad days. But I didn't cringe. I didn't consider the whole pride-cometh-before-the-fall-thing, not even once. (You would think that the newness of this kind of thought (good parenting? me?) would have tipped me off, but, well, it is me, after all. Self-awareness is not my strong suit.)

And so, we left the park, hopping jauntily into our luxury SUV, smiling all the way (I'm barfing here too, don't worry) and . . . headed straight into hell.

You read about the grocery visit, which occurred that same afternoon. But before that happened I decided to take the kids to Starbucks to meet Melissa. I know! Only an idiot takes a 3-1/2 year old and a 2 year old into Starbucks and expects to have a relaxing conversation with another adult! What can I say, I was still flying high on my superior mothering experience from the park.

You know what happened. The kids were good for approximately 3 minutes, long enough for me to order my drink but not long enough for me to get it. By the time Melissa arrived they had alienated all of the customers with their ear-piercing screams (Vivian's new trick: it's awesome) and bossy snatching and refusal to share (one of Isaac's old and numerous tricks: also awesome). Melissa and I stayed and chatted for a quick 15 minutes or so, while the kids yelled at decibel levels only appropriate during air shows and I ineffectually tried to quiet them by threatening to leave about 12 times. I fully expected one of the other patrons to stand up and say, "Lady, you keep threatening to leave but then you never do. Take those kids and get out of here!" It would have been fully within their rights to do so, and it only says good things about those patrons that they didn't. I have a feeling, however, that they headed over to Blogging Baby to vent their frustrations before we had left the building.

Sigh. Melissa was adorable, though. Very forgiving of the two cretins--she even had toys to hand out!--and just exactly like I expected her to be. I know I keep telling you what to read, and god knows you don't want to take advice from me (I can't even keep my kids under control for 15 minutes at Starbucks!), but still. Go read her blog, if you don't already.

Well. The Starbucks visit from hell was followed by the pooping extravaganza, no naps, and the grocery store debacle. Okay, I thought. Universe, you smacked me down good. I have learned my lesson. No more condescending thoughts! I promise!

Today, we went back to the same park (what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment). Again, the tire swing proved to be a very large point of contention, even though I had made it a point to discuss the tire swing and the behavior required to be allowed to play on the tire swing before we got there. I got down on their level, I was calm and understanding but firm, etc. etc. etc. Minute three into our park stay, a fight ensued over who was going to ride the tire swing. I got up and explained the rules again, calmly. Two minutes later, another fight. I got up and explained again, following the explanation with a warning: one more fight and we were going home. Thirty seconds later, a fight. Then began the real fun: trying to corral a sobbing and hysterical 3-year-old into the car about 100 yards away without leaving the also sobbing 2-year-old by herself for too long. Three trips later (one for the older kid, one for the younger kid, and one for my Chai Tea Latte and two pairs of sandals) I had both kids (still screaming) in the car. You can bet I wasn't looking around today to see which mothers were admiring my skills. In fact, I kept my eyes down at all times, afraid to even make eye-contact, lest one of them be laughing in my face.

I am shamed. I am humble. Please forgive me, O Creative Power of the Universe. Surely, the scales can tip back in my favor soon?

*Update: (shhh!) we did just have a particularly good afternoon, including a quick trip to the grocery store AND a meal at Rubio's. (Where, I need to add, the clerk was obviously a mom since she included two cups and two bowls of rice with the one kids' meal that I bought, and she remembered to skip the toy and the churro. Bless her.)

I thank you, O Creative Power of the Universe. I genuflect in front of you, for as long as you wish.

1 comment:

isimsiz kahraman said...
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