Friday, November 4, 2011

Testing, 1...2...3

Some moments test my patience.  Some days test it even more.  Yesterday was one of them.

I appreciate and adore Z's boldness, independence, sense of wonder and amazement.  However, there's nothing like a three year old to test my patience and reaction.

A lot of stuff he does is inconvenient or annoying but I have to pick my battles.  I realize most of the time when I get annoyed it's about what I want or expect.  Sometimes that should matter and others not.  For the most part I cross each bridge as we come to it.  He's three and learning and I'm learning just as much.  But some days it hits me one after the other and some of the things he does are a few of our major no-no's -like hitting, running off and not stopping (over and over) and saying "rude" words to people.  It's an extra challenge with a four-month old in tow.

Yesterday was a roller coaster.  I am glad that we started and ended happy though.

Thursday morning started awesome.  We cuddled, ate breakfast, watched a cartoon, played and set out for the park to meet some friends.  We arrived and he set off to play like every other park visit.  Then he decided to run into the cafe out of my vision and as we're looking for him my friend says, "He's going into the store!"  OK, corral him back after he refuses to stop and explain we'll go later.  Test one.

Suddenly I look over and I'm getting the stink eye from other Mamas.  I see a small kid on the ground crying and Z staritng to push another one.  I get up and I see it in his face that he knows what he did wasn't nice.  I ask him not to push or hit people.  They were small and it wasn't just roughhousing.  He goes about his business.  Test two.

My friend and I are talking and I'm holding Bodhi but Z decides to book it up the stairs again.  Once again I ask him to go back to the park and he runs for the parking lot.  "Stop!  Z, STOP!"  He eventually stops and we head back to the park to play.  Test three.

At one point he comes for snacks and decides to call me the "B word".  I ask him not to but don't want to overreact and make him say it more.  He seems to enjoy it when I get riled up.  I guess it's the "ha, I got a reaction" thing kids get a rise out of.  Test four.

Eventually our friends leave and Z heads for the store.  But wait, we have to get our stuff and put little Bodhi in the carrier.  "Please wait, Z.  Want to help me?  Please don't run off."  He inches ahead of me.  Test five.

We go inside and it's super busy.  He stops every two feet touching everything.  As usual.  No worries here.  He's exploring.  We're deciding on a sandwich and he keeps running off and the store is crazy crowded.  He almost gets knocked down and people are irritated.  I just don't want him or anyone hurt.  I ask him to stay close or I can carry him.  He's beginning to hit a nerve.  I'm beginning to feel hot.  Everything before is to be expected but now I'm hungry.  He ate what I brought and I know he wants to eat more.  He stays close for a few minutes.  Test six.

I snag a sandwich and he picks green beans as a side so we head to buy the food.  He starts swinging the basket and I ask him to stay close and not hit anyone.  He starts to take off with it.  I leave the line and corral him back.  We go back to our place in line.  He wants to run off and I lean to talk to him and he punches me.  I grab his hand and tell him not to do that.  Just then some guy cuts ahead of me and five other people in line to get a coffee.  I smile at the guy behind me.  The guy behind me smiles with patient understanding, "We're in it for the experience, right?".  Whew.  Thank you for saying that, guy.  Test seven.

Where to sit?  He wants to go upstairs to eat.  No, downstairs.  No, upstairs.  He clearly just wants to do the stairs and we're in no one's way.  OK.  We go up again.  I want to sit inside.  No outside on the patio.  No, downstairs.  "(No.) Let's pick a table up here, Z."  It's less crowded.  We go outside to the patio and there are a few big kids running around feeding the birds and no other people.  Cool.  They run inside.  I'm thinking -please come back out.  They do.  Then they go back in.  I'm nursing Bodhi and our food and bag are out.  Z tries to open the door.  "Please come here, Z.  PLEASE don't go inside."  Just then he gets the door and starts to disappear.  I leap up, hold Bodhi, pull my shirt down and run.  He's only a few feet inside.  I ask him to go back in.  I'm really hot now and he knows it.  I don't even look around but I can imagine that some people probably feel me, some are irritated and some are amused.  He refuses.  I give him a choice.  Go back to the table or I will pick him up.  Bodhi starts crying.  I pick him up.  Test eight.

He says he will stay on the porch.  He is hungry and eats some lunch.  He stays close.  I begin to nurse hungry Bodhi again.  But now there is a couple on the porch trying to have a nice quiet lunch and they are not pleased with Z.  He stays away from them.  Thank goodness.  I still haven't eaten a bite.  He won't sit down and that's fine but now he won't stay close.  That's not fine with me where we are.  He quickly runs and bangs on the window at the people inside.  I get another stink eye.  "Sorry."  I pack our bag.  "I DON'T WANT TO GO!!  WHY ARE WE GOING!!??"  I want to yell, "Because you're sucking right now!!!"  But I say as calm as I can, "Because it's time to go."  He gets fussy.  I ask him to come with me or if he wants me to carry him.  "Hold me, Mama."  I end up carrying him, Bodhi in a carrier and our backpack.  You have to do what you have to do.  Test nine.

We get into the truck.  "I didn't get a gelato!!!!!!!"  I said, "I know, maybe if we can chill out and go to our doctor appointment (to check this bug bite looking thing on his chest) we can talk about coming back."  "WHY!?!?"  I don't say what I want to say but, "Because you ran off, hit me and said rude words.  I am losing my patience, Z.  That's why."  He starts to whine.  I try to ignore it.  Bodhi gets fussy.  I nurse Bodhi and Z sits there being pissy.  "Do you want to talk, Z?  Do you have a feeling?"  "I WANT GELATO!!!!!!!"  I know he's three.  I know he's learning.  I know this will blow over if I don't lose it.  I reply, "If we can go to the doctor and be nice (not hit, run off or say rude words) we will come back and get a gelato."  He huffs but gets my point.  Test ten.

We get to the doctor and both boys are asleep.  I've decided to not talk about it again or be pissy even if it's still on my mind.  That does no good and would only make it worse.  I grab the bag, gently pack up Bodhi in his carrier and go to get Z.  I unbuckle him and grab him as gently as I can and sling him over my shoulder.  Again, about sixty odd extra pounds uncomfortably lugged around.  He wakes up and goes to play with the toys.  We make it through without a hitch.

We go to get gelato and we're smiling again.  Just like at the beginning of the day.  We giggle, eat gelato, laugh and have a blast.  We head to the truck and he falls asleep.

Storm over.

Today?  Let's just see how it goes.


  1. I'm sorry, but I had to giggle as I can totally relate. My son did many of the things you talked about, mainly to see just how far he could push moma while daddy was away. I remember one time we were out in at a public karate school. It was getting dark and I was leaving. He kept playing around and ignoring me. I'd say he was about 5, maybe 6 yrs old. I told him in a stern voice that I was leaving and he needed to 'come on'. He continued to ignore me so I walked out the door and got into my car. The parking lot was quite big and as I was pulling away I could see him through the big glass windows watching me. I guess when I got closer to the road he realized that I wasn't playing and he came running as fast as he could hollering 'mommy, mommy!!'. I stayed stopped long enough for him to get to the car and let him get in. He asked me if I would have left without him. I replied "Yes, and it would have been a very long walk home!"
    Of course, I would never have left him there. But, more importantly, he never did that again :)

  2. Oh my, those months after our second was born were SO tough! Constant testing from my oldest just to get a reaction. My three-year-old once had a huge temper tantrum in the middle of the parking lot at the grocery store. He was screaming and throwing himself on the pavement right in the middle of traffic. I had to balance a tiny baby and grocery bags while I tried to wrestle him off the ground and toward the car. He kept kicking and getting away, running right back out into traffic. Once I got him to the car, I was still barely balancing the baby and groceries while I tried to shove him one-handed inside. Luckily, a stranger came by and offered to help and I asked her to hold the baby while I buckled my little bucking bronco into his car seat.

    Of course, then, within minutes, they are happy and smiling and ready to move on. I just wish I could be that resilient and quick to move past the bad moments.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Thanks for identifying with me. All us Mamas have these stories!! Z is really testing me lately. Sometimes I feel lost! I know he's learning and I have to keep up. It is amazing how they bounce back so quickly after the storm passes. He teaches (and tests!) me so much.

    Mary -I hope that at some point he understands I mean business! I'm lost at discipline sometimes. I try to remain calm and patient but mean what I say. Yours was quite a creative approach!

    Katie -Sounds familiar!!! And bucking broncos with babies in arms are a scary combination. I know all too well. Sometimes you have to grab and go!