Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lord help me.

It all started with a trip to the grocery store a few days ago. I had just picked J up from daycare after work, and decided to stop at Fresh & Easy (or as we call it "Trader Joe's Light") to grab a few things for dinner since J seemed to be in a relatively cooperative mood and, well, the cupboards at home were bare. In hindsight, I should have known better just because of the time (5:30pm, a.k.a. The Witching Hour) and the fact that this far along in the pregnancy I can't always be counted on to bring my Preschooler Parenting "A" Game when the sh-- hits the fan, and just ordered a pizza. But I didn't.

So we get to F & E, and after prepping J in the car -- "When we get in here, you have to listen to Mommy. I'm not kidding. We're just getting like 5 things, and then we can go home and make pizza and have fun, ok?" we headed in. The proverbial sh-- hit the fan about 3 feet inside the door. First it was the fight we've been having every. single. time. lately about J riding in the cart. He doesn't want to ride in the cart. He's seen other kids walking around the store freely and wants to be free, too. I want him in the cart when I'm by myself, because...he's a non-listening 3 year old. Then we have to fight about him riding in the front or in the "big part" of the cart. Some days I'm down with the big part, but not that day because I had breakables (eggs and jars of pizza sauce) that needed to go back there. So I was just about to get him up in the front seat of the cart with a minimum of whining when this lady walks by pushing her cart with her preschooler under the frigging cart on that little rack on the bottom laughing and pushing a Hot Wheels car along the floor while his mom shopped. As soon as J saw that he managed somehow --at lightning speed I might add--to jam himself under the cart like that other kid and proclaim that he wanted to shop that way. I debated fighting over it, and decided to try it for a couple feet.

Surprise, surprise, that turned out to be a bad move. Like I said, not exactly bringing the "A" game these days. Before we had gotten halfway down one aisle I almost rammed J's arm into the grocery displays twice because he wouldn't keep it within the confines of the cart. So I bent down, and told J he had to get out from under the cart and either ride in the front or walk next to me holding the side. I expected whining, instead I got full-blast yelling: "Noooo!!! I wanna ride under here! It's a racecar, I'm driving a racecar!!"

Me: (hissing) Get out from under there.

J: (crying and causing a scene) NO! NO! NOOOOO!!

Me: (talking through clenched teeth) I'm counting to three. You better get out from under there RIGHT NOW, BUDDY.

J: I wanna stay under here! Aaah! My foot! My foot is stuck in the thing!! (yep his foot was caught in the wire thing under the cart and his shoe was coming off).

Me: (uncharitably) That's what you get. If you break your ankle it'll be your own fault for not listening to Mommy. If you keep this up, we're leaving the store.

(Starting to pull on his arm to get him out, totally embarassed now and sweating because I'm 9 months pregnant and it's impossible to bend over like that for more than 15 seconds without extreme discomfort and immediate acute heartburn).


--I wasn't hurting him by the way.--

Me: (uncharitable thought that I didn't say out loud: Fine I hope I push the cart while your arm is hanging out and run over your little fingers. I bet THAT would get you out of there real quick.) Fine. Do you see this little car you left in the cart? If you don't get out of there THIS MINUTE this car is going in that big trashcan over there! (Holding said car hostage over the trashcan nearby).

Mean, yes. Also effective. J scrambled out, grabbed the car from me, and stood by the cart crying and hugging the car to his chest, pitifully accusing me: "You can't throw my car away! You were going to throw my car away! That's not nice, Mommy!"

Meanwhile there's a stocker/loader type guy wearing one of those long plastic aprons who has just been staring at us the whole time. Along with all the other store patrons, who weren't saying anything or being, I don't know, HELPFUL or anything. So of course at that point we had to abandon our cart and leave the store. I was done. Dooooooooone. "Come on," I snapped at J. "I've had enough. No homemade pizza tonight for you. We're leaving the store." Which inevitably led to more crying, and wrestling, and me trying to remain composed while I did what another blogger calls the Surfer Dude where you're carrying a little kid horizontal at your side like a surfboard while they basically thrash around and try to kick you in the kidneys. (And boy I hated to have to Be a Good Mom and Follow Through With a Threat because I really wanted to pick up some whole wheat pizza dough and fresh grapes. I was so sad to leave those grapes behind in the cart!) Thankfully I was parked really close to the entrance because in all my pregnant ungainliness by the time I got to the car it J had slipped down and it was more a dragging-by-the-underarms motion than anything a self-respecting surfer would do. Once we got to the car, a little standoff ensued because J wouldn't get in his carseat. I'm standing outside the car on a 95 degree afternoon, J is holed up in the foot well loudly crying about going back in the store and I just don't have enough energy to wrestle him up into the seat so I just have to wait. And here comes the grocery stocker guy nonchalantly walking by the car and slowing down to see what we're doing. I knew (I KNEW) that because of the scene inside the store that he was really checking to make sure that I wasn't beating my kid out in the parking lot. Good intentions, I guess, but once again instead of doing anything helpful he just stood there watching me stand there wearily telling J to get in his seat, already.

We made it home with much sniveling and crying and whining. TH saved the day and brought pizza home. And when I was relaying this story to my coworker who has an almost-four-year-old and a new baby, all she could say was, "Just wait until you get to replay this whole scene while you've got a screaming baby in a carrier."

Lord help me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Next thing you know he'll be begging to use my car.

J is turning into a big little kid right before my eyes. I can't really call him a toddler anymore, and on days like today I can easily envision how he's going to be a few years from now.

Normally in the morning our routine is to rush around getting dressed and ready for daycare and work, and despite our best efforts consistently leave the house 5 minutes late. In order to cut down on morning slow-downs we had to institute a rule (for J and for Mommy & Daddy) that no TV/computer/Blackberry can be turned on until we're all dressed, with teeth and hair brushed, and daycare backpacks or work lunchbags packed. Since we instituted this rule at the beginning of the summer, J has learned that if he lets us get him dressed & ready really quickly with a minimum of fighting, he can *maybe* get in a full episode of Dora before we leave.

So this morning, J seemed to be sleeping in--meaning it was about 6:15am and he wasn't up yet--so I went downstairs to make my lunch. (And eat a leftover piece of Surprise Baby Shower cake for breakfast, but that's besides the point.) I heard J get up, but he didn't come out of his room right away, which is strange. Usually he runs into our room and jumps on the bed so he can lounge for a few minutes before getting ready. So anyway this morning I heard him banging around in his room, and then, wonder of wonders, I heard him go into his bathroom unprompted and use the potty, including flushing and washing his hands. A few minutes later he came downstairs looking for me, and he was fully dressed! The clothes didn't quite match (khaki camo shirt with red and yellow shorts), but he had on a full outfit: shirt, shorts, underwear, socks, and toothbrush in his hand. I was amazed, and proud. Occasionally he'll pick out clothes or if we pick them out he'll put on the pants or something, but he's never completely gotten himself ready in the morning without any assistance at all. When I asked him where the clothes came from, he shrugged and in this nonchalant, teenagery "duh, mom" voice said, "I got them out of the drawers in my bedroom. I have to get dressed and ready before I turn the computer on." And he proceeded to go upstairs, turn on the computer, and load up the Nick Jr. website by himself.

On the one hand, if he can get himself ready in the morning my days are going to be alot easier once the new baby arrives. But I still felt kind of wistful after he went back upstairs to do his own thing. J really isn't a baby anymore...