Terror at the Mall

Tonight I encountered the most terrifying scene I've ever witnessed at the mall. It was ugly. Brutal even. At the center of the storm? Big One, of course.

Don't worry, no children were injured in the making of this blog post.

Tonight was supposed to be our family swim class. Unfortunately, the instructor that doesn't really instruct was sick. No sub. So no swim class. (They waited to call until after I shaved my legs, by the way. But that's a different rant post.) Big One was bummed so we decided to take him to the mall to play and possibly ride the Easter train. The only requirement? He had to eat dinner at the mall with us.

Can you guess how that went? Read the title of the post. You may be able to hypothesize about the events that unfolded next.

Big One refused to eat. We warned him no less than 20 times that he would not be playing at the play area or riding the train if he did not eat. Yet still he refused. Just when I think he's getting to the age that he can understand cause and effect he reminds me that he is only 3 1/2. The temper tantrum started at the table. The drama. The kicking. The screaming. I had to excuse myself before I totally lost it.

Little One and I abandoned Hubs with Big One and his fit. Sorry, Hubs. But the scene would have been a lot worse had I stuck around. We hung out on a bench and waited for them. Big One walked along willingly for maybe 50 feet. Then all hell broke loose.

The child was literally kicking and screaming in the middle of the mall. We tried the "walk away and he'll follow" technique but I just can't let myself get too far away from him. I've read too many stories about pedophiles stalking the malls.

I tried the tough love approach. He continued his kicking and screaming. I picked up my 45 pound flailing preschooler and started through the mall. Of all the nights for him to wear his McQueen crocs. One flew several feet, fortunately avoiding any fellow shoppers.

Hubs and I basically took turns swapping the kids. Tonight also happened to be a night I forgot the stroller so both kids had to be carried. I'm sure the reactions ranged from "Glad it's not me!" to "I've been there before" to "What horrible parents!" I was too pissed to even look at anyone too closely.

Until we reached Old Navy. An employee standing in the window glared at me. Excuse me? Obviously, you either have no children or are delusional enough to think they would never act this way. It really drives me nuts when people judge others. If there's one thing I've learned from being a parent it's never judge!

I'm just so frustrated because in many ways he is self sufficient and acting like a big boy. And then he brings me back to reality with something like this. I know he's a preschooler and this is normal. But man it sucks when you're the one dealing with it.

And I promise I'm never going to laugh when I see another parent dealing with a monster tantrum in the store. That did not help, fellow mall shopper. But thanks for trying!

Despite the fact that we both wanted to break something by the time we got home, I am proud of us for sticking to our guns. I would rather be that family with the child throwing a tantrum than the one who gives in and lets their child get away with things (don't get me wrong, we've been that family too).

I guess the bottom line is, we're all "that family" at some point. Some of us more than others.

There was a humorous point in the evening after we got home. Little One started some drama after her bath and I lost it. I started crying. Hubs and Big One were also in the room. This is what happened...

Me: sobbing
Big One: Mommy? Are you crying?
Me: Yes.
Big One: Why?
Me: Because I want just one day when EVERYONE is happy. All day long. Just one day. ONE DAY!
Big One: (whispering) Daddy, I think we should leave now.
Hubs: Why?
Big One: Because I think Mommy's getting angry.

I almost started laughing. But I still needed to cry. Just a little. By myself. Hubs knew just when to send Big One in to hug me. And then we were back to good.

5 comments:

amy lou. said...

you do realize you have the hardest job in the world and i admire the heck out of you!!

jen@odbt said...

Oh boy. I have plenty of those days. I think I freak the kids out when I cry. Good for you sticking to your guns. It's not easy in the moment but the lesson learned lasts longer.

Dena said...

LOL - I had one of these during christmas and left the mall, it is hard not to give in so they keep quite, but what message does it send, so kudos to you for sticking it through!

Carter Family said...

I too have had many, many days like this and I often wonder why do people stare? Have they never seen a child do this before? Were their children perfect every time they stepped into public?
People can be so . . . . .

Good to you for sticking with it! And heres to many, many more good and bad (but for sure the good outweigh the bad....)

That hug at the end proves that!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Proud of you for leaving the mall and not giving in. It's so hard.
One time, Ethan said to me (as a 3 year old--bet you can't wait for 4) "I hate you." I, of course, burst into tears and left the room. He came into my room, tears streaming down his face, and said, "Mommy. My heart. Is. Ripped." Seriously, they have good hearts. It's just those demons inside them that come SCREAMING out that make you wonder...