In a moment of blind sentiment, I decided to take my 1 year old on a date for Valentine's Day.
I planned to do a little window shopping at the mall, eat at the food court and play at kiddie land, all while I smiled benevolently at my busy, beautiful and well-behaved offspring. When it was time to leave, I would quietly give him a five-minute warning, after which he would walk over to me, reach for my hand and we'd go home. There I would help him wash his face, brush his teeth, we'd read a book, cuddle and pray. Then, I would tenderly tuck him into bed for the night.
What happened was quite different. At 5:30, I picked up a surly toddler who'd had a very long day. He was hopped up on sugar from his daycare Valentine's party an hour before. He was also ready to eat dinner and be left alone. Instead, it took us an hour to get to the mall (note: he sucked down 12 oz of milk on the drive), where he protested (loudly) to being confined to a stroller while I looked at earrings. I rushed through a purchase I now regret then moved on to dinner. I eyed our choices at the food court and realized, "yeah, he's not gonna eat any of this crap." Instead, I spent $10 of a hard-earned gift card for a turkey and swiss sandwich and more milk.
I rode the elevator up to the food court to eat (did I mention he's terrified of elevators?), where he objected (loudly) to being confined to a stroller while we ate. Seeing a pattern, here? I scarfed down my food. He scarfed down his. Then he loudly protested that there was no more milk. I wasn't spending $2 on another carton--he'd already had sixteen ounces in two hours. I told him he wasn't getting any more damned milk (no swearing; but I felt like it). He knocked over his stroller in impotent rage. I dragged him, kicking and screaming, back to the elevator, decided it wasn't worth it, and did what I swore I'd never do. I hauled my screaming toddler, an overstuffed diaper bag and an umbrella stroller down the escalator. He wasn't in the stroller, but still...I work for an escalator manufacturer where I get almost daily reports of escalator injuries due to stupid choices that passengers make. Even before I worked here, I judged parents harshly for doing what I was doing. I learned a valuable lesson in humility last night.
During that ride, I discovered his diaper was soaked (Remember sixteen ounces?) and toted him to the family changing room. Thus ensued a 5-minute death-match over changing that diaper. I won, but not without collateral damage and a great deal of sweat. Thank God there were no mandated reporters in there.
Then I thought, "let's end this trip on a high note and go to the play place, instead of going straight home!" Dumb idea. Apparently, Valentine's evening is when fathers take their smart phones and their children to the play place at the mall, so they can ignore them in an enclosed space. These kids, like mine, are also wound up from earlier candy binges. I chased my ecstatic and blissfully unaware boy around a 20-foot enclosure for 25 minutes, begging much bigger children not to step on, roll over, push or otherwise maim him in their sugar-induced euphorias. After his last narrow escape from death, I decided to call it quits, which is when the top of his head exploded.
Okay, it didn't, but it surely seemed like it. I dragged him--arching, screeching, and hitting--out of the mall and into the car. He babbled angrily at me all the way home, where I stripped him, shoved him into jammies and tossed him in bed--no book, no cuddle, no prayer.
Yep. Mother of the year, right here.