This morning I took my tantrum throwing toddler with me to run several errands. And would you believe that the heavens opened up and angels sang and peace descended upon us? We were gone for several hours and the only time we had any tears at all was when I let him hold a certain truck at Pic n Save (Big Lots to most of you but it'll always be Pic n Save in my mind. Also, shout out to Price Club!) and then wouldn't let him take it home. The tears were minimal though. Hardly a blip on the radar. We went to WalMart, Michael's, and Pic n Lots and had no major tantrums. I did not use the pacifier. It was glorious. It might have had something to do with promising him repeatedly that if he behaved he would get a treat. I'm just not above bribery. So shoot me.
When we were finished at Big n Save we walked across the parking lot to McDonald's. $4.50 later I made the bright choice to have him facing the play area. Oops. He only wanted to eat french fries. I told him that unless he consumed his hamburger, there would be no playing. He gobbled half of his burger down. The second half was like pulling out wisdom teeth with tweezers and no anesthesia. He wasn't being particularly naughty, he just didn't want it. So he plugged his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. Most of you know by now that Troy is the parent of choice by a landslide. I don't know why, probably because he sees too much of me and not quite enough of him. At meal time, Troy can get him to eat just about anything, especially the things that I can't get him to eat. It's a dirty trick they play on me. So I said, in reference to the half of burger that was still left, "Daddy really wants you to eat a bite of this." And would you believe that kid opened his mouth like a starving baby bird and munched. We got down to three bites. I ate one of them for good measure. The other two sat on the table for a good seven or eight minutes. I tried everything. Against my better judgement I attempted to "airplane" it into his mouth. I told him daddy still wanted him to eat it. I finally said that we would not be able to play if he didn't eat the last two bites. As the minutes ticked by I honestly thought I was going to have to put him in the car without playing and hope he understood the action/consequence situation. Finally he ate them and I just about threw a party.
Here it should be mentioned that a multitude of parents allow their children to wolf down nuggets and fries on the playground while wearing their shoes and shoving all the other children. It's true, the sign says that the play area is for ages 3-12 and my kid isn't even 2 but I supervise extremely well and I take off his shoes and I make him eat his lunch in a chair so that he doesn't leave half chewed bites of soggy guck on the slide. So anyway, it took him forever to finally go down the slide but once he did, there was no stopping him. Eventually he decided that he wanted to go on the big slide but he was scared of crawling through the tunnels by himself and, quite frankly, with the huge middle schoolers that were playing on it, I was a little scared for him. So together we climbed up into the tunnels. As we were waiting our turn to go down, a big burly boy shoved me to try to get past. I nicely told him that we were waiting in line. About five seconds later he hissed, "Excuse me!" I looked at him and said, "I am waiting to take him down the slide." He kind of rolled his eyes and gasped. Oh my gosh. I'm so very sorry that the adult up here is inconveniencing you so much. I didn't say that, mind you. I just wanted to. Not two seconds later he literally barrelled himself into me, pushing me into the side. If he had gotten past me, he would have had to climb over my toddler and I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that he wouldn't have done it with a great deal of care. I have the confrontation skills of a timid cat, even when it comes to children, but this kid was making me mad. So I rammed my arm sideways, blocking his course of action, and sort of hissed in his general direction, "My son and I are next!" I realize that he probably thought the overgrown child (me) had no business being on the play equipment to begin with but the sign clearly says that parents are allowed. Of course, in that moment, the slide became available and Garrett threw himself down it with wild abandon, oblivious to the fact that his mother was about to get into a fist fight with a kid a third her age. That left me sitting up in the stupid play yard with no toddler. Given the line behind me and the fact that my son was unattended at the bottom, I had no choice but to slide down all alone thus looking like I spend my free time at the McDonald's playground. Ah well, the smile on Garrett's face when I got to the bottom was worth it. It was more of a "weeee I love slides" smile and less of a "you tell that big bratty bully," but in any case he went down the smaller slide one more time and then we came home. I think he was asleep before his head hit the mattress. After all, it takes a lot out of a kid to not throw a tantrum, eat a hamburger, and spend the better part of an hour climbing and sliding.