Monday, September 7, 2015

It Happened at the Mall

We had a meltdown of epic proportions last Saturday. It all started innocently enough. Breakfast with my sister and her kiddos then a quick stop at the mall. My friend Colleen had a little sprinkle for her new baby girl that next weekend and I needed to pick up a few extra items for her gift. 

I told Shepherd to hang in there during the shopping and we'd get to go see the animals. He did, so we did. He was fine looking at all the animals, then we left. He asked if he could ride one of those infernal rides in the mall. I hate those things.

I told him that we could try to find three quarters and if we succeeded, he could ride it. He had been so good, so I thought I'd throw him a bone. We found the quarters and I told him when it was all done, we were all done. I made sure he understood. He repeated back to me that we would only do one ride. 

We 'drove' the food truck and he pretended to sell me hot dogs. When it was done, he hopped right down and there was no issue. 

But then, right around the time we got to Vitamin World, he lost control. He started crying and screaming that he didn't want to leave the mall. 

"I don't want to go home! I want to stay at the mall!"

My hands were full and so I told him when he was done, to come sit by me on the bench. Yes. I left him there. I'm almost six months pregnant, my hands were full and when Shepherd gets into fits, he kicks. So I waited and talked to him soothingly from the bench.

He just got worse. So finally I scooped him up. He kicked and screamed the entire way through the mall. He was completely out of control and I was filling with rage. We got to the parking lot (somehow) and he kicked me in the belly, almost fell out of my arms, tried to run into the street when I set him down to open the door, socked me in the face and then screamed the entire way home.

When I got home, I took him straight to his room and started singing "This little light of mine." Over and over. He started to calm down, so I switched to a different song. He started to resemble my little boy and not a monster anymore.

I told him he needed to stay in his room for a while and read books so that mommy could calm down. I walked into the living room and immediately started to ugly cry. I was so angry and worked up that there was nothing else I could do. If I could have ran a mile, or lift weights or even had a punching bag to utilize, I would've. But I had nothing but this intense anger and frustration that could only be channeled by crying. We had another rough hour, but Shepherd kept himself in the room (with the door open) and we both calmed down. He apologized. I explained to him why were wen't going back to the mall. Probably EVER.

These moments are hard. Parenting a two year old is tough. This was our first major public breakdown. There are times when I don't recognize my kid. He is defiant and disrespectful and we have to be on him all the time. Any kind of correction and he freaks out.

But then I remember that this is a phase. He is learning and growing and testing limits. I am learning and growing and creating boundaries. It is tough, but I know that he is a boy filled with love, joy, courage. A boy with a tender heart and a steel resolve. 

He is precious and we will walk through this together. Sometimes in tears, sometimes in separate rooms. That is real life.


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