I started out the car trip with such high hopes, such enthusiasm, after all I had a great and productive day. I was able to work with a fellow project manager to achieve a common goal where both parties won and management would even be happy; it was a hat trick day!
Plus only 3 more days until Ben is home! Once he’s home, he’ll take the kids to and from school on his way too and from work. I wanted to continue the happy train and get my kids on board so I thought I’d treat them to something special.
It’s funny how I can be in my bubble, my home office, and look forward to getting out a bit, while everyone else just wants to go home. Perhaps that was the downfall of my plan.
Today I’ll pick up the little man first because he is closest to the house (generally I pick him up last so he doesn’t have to ride 20 minutes with me to and from Em’s day care). He’ll run up to me yelling “MOOOMMM! and give me a big hug. He’ll hand me his backpack and start his happy jabber on the walk to the car. Then he and I will conspire about what kind of skates to get and he’ll tell me about his day.
Then we’ll pick up Em at daycare. She’ll be all fly away hair with a big hug and a “kwiss”. And off we go out to dinner, of their choice, and pick out roller skates.
I picked up the Little Man first because he is closest to the house. The teacher greeted me at the door: “He had an off day today.” My LilMan comes shyly to the door, head down, his eyes a pink around the edges, holding his hands in front of himself. She continues, “He and another little boy were watching the older boys play the game where you pay to get three basketballs and you shoot them into the baskets to see how many you can get in the allotted time. Well, after they were done, LilMan and another little boy crawled under the machine and took out the balls. Then he just didn’t seem to be able to keep his hands to himself today.”
The lady continued on, but I hardly heard a word because I’m thinking ‘well nuts, I can’t very well buy him a pair of skates and dinner after such a bad report. But I really want to do this!’ So I press on, these are my plans and I want to do them to spread the love, happiness and make a good day for my kids.
The car ride is quiet, LilMan gave the superlative “I don’t know” answer to most of my questions:
“What did you have for lunch? – “I don’t know”,
“What movie did you watch today? – “I don’t know”
Seriously, I get more information from staring at walls! It made for a quiet 20 minute ride.
Next stop, Em’s day care. She comes running at me with hair flying “MOOOOMMMYYY!”, big hug and a ‘kwiss”. Now this is more like it! Immediately she asks “Can I get a sticker?” (she asks this EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!).
“Because it is not Friday. We only get stickers on Friday when you are good all week.”- “Why?”
“Because that’s what we do. If we didn’t and got a sticker everyday then it would be as special.” – “Why?”
…I ignored the last why and kept walking.
We hop in the car, she buckles herself in. LilMan doesn’t buckle himself, instead he whines “It’s too hard in the truck” and starts this grating, short muffled, pout moan that almost sends me over the edge. But I press on, thinking ‘he’s had a rough day’ and I’m determined to have a good time with my kids.
I decided to go to the Toy Store first to get the skates. Even in the Toy Store parking lot, LilMan is giving attitude and has managed to rub off his bad attitude onto Em by copying her, arguing with her etc. My mother voice comes out (you know the one, it’s the voice that is bitter and short – the no nonsense voice) “You stop this right now, I’m not going to have this bad attitude. You straighten up and act right or we’ll go straight home and not get the skates or dinner. Do you understand?”
“You say, ‘Yes Mam’.”
” Yes mam.” in a quiet mumble.
And were off again. I’m no longer in a congenial mood, more of a woman on a mission to find skates. As soon as I get the kids loaded into the cart, my inner dialog is rapidly firing. ‘Where in the sam-hill are the stupid skates in this gigantic store, isn’t there someone who works here. Ah, there is someone!’ We find the skates, try some on. Everything is hunky dory, the kids are excited and ready to eat. Let’s go pay .
There are 10 cash registers in the store and only one is open. The woman in front of me with at least 50 things of baby food and a lethargic cashier that’s easily distracted. I’m breathing, calming the inner rage. Meanwhile, the kids are reaching and talking over each other LOUDLY, “Can we get candy? We’ve never got candy from here before..”.
“No.” – “Why?”
“Because we are about to go have dinner.” the grating, short, muffled pout moan comes out with a lower lip. “What did I say earlier, I don’t have to buy you these skates and you are certainly not getting candy! Now sit down and be quiet!”
We make it to the car after spending nearly $100 on two pairs of skates – kids skates – that’s ridiculous! I should’ve stopped there, but I still had the dream of having a great time with the kids at dinner. So we all agreed on Red Robin – unlimited mac and cheese for the kids – they love it!
Dinner went pretty well and the food was good. Until it came time when the kids were done and we waited on the check. “I’m ready to gooooo.”
“I know, just wait patiently while we wait for the check and pay.” I’m looking around for the waiter, knowing that I have limited time with these two inpatient little people. He finally drops of the check and swishes away before I can slip in card.
“I’m ready to gooooo.” – “I’m not, sit down, be quiet or you won’t get a balloon.”
“But I want a balloon.” – “Then sit down and be quiet.”
Where in the sam-hill is that waiter!
“Can we skate when we get home?” – “Not tonight.”
“Why?” - “Because it’ll be dark by the time we get home and it’ll be time to read stories and go to bed.”
“Why?” – “Because we have school tomorrow and bedtime is 8.”
“Why?”- “Just sit down and be quiet!”
The waiter finally comes back to take the card and returns with the receipt with enough space in between for the kids to say they are ready to go at least four more times and one “I’m tired, I’m ready to go home”.
“I want a balloon.” – “No, you didn’t sit down like a told you to, you’re not getting a balloon. Let’s go.”
The little greeter girl actually said “Oh they can have a balloon.” To which I smile through very thin lips and grit my teeth “No they can’t, they didn’t listen and do as they were told.”
And the crying goes full blast all the way to the car – an annoying grating 5 year old “wayyyyyyyyy”. I’m pretty sure Em was crying too but who could hear over the loud cry of a 5 year old drama king. I’m going to have to get that on video so I can embarrass him when he’s older!
On the way home, 3 Biker guys (daytime dentists, lawyers and such) laugh and smile at the bleeding cries coming from my rolled down windows. I’m somewhat embarrassed, but I don’t want to roll up the windows because the kids are just super loud and I need the noise to escape.
Before long, tears stop, the crying and grating noises stop and I see in the rear view mirror two soured up kids staring out the windows. We made it home without another episode. Until we walk into the house.
“I want chocolate milk.” – “Chocolate milk is for breakfast”
“Why?” “because it is bad for your teeth if you drink it at night without brushing your teeth.”
Tears and the crying start. “Go to your room and pick out a pajamas and a book.”
I manage to get them changed, the story read, hug and kiss goodnight. Then about 5 minutes after the calm “Em starts crying: “I WANT CHOCOLATE MILK!!!!” over and over and over again. Then LilMan starts crying because Em woke him up and she’s being “annoying”. I let this go on while I unload and load the dishwasher I finally had it and yell: “If you want something to cry about, fine I’ll give you something to cry about! The skates are going back to the store tomorrow! Good Night!”
And they stopped crying and went to bed.
My good intentions, were dashed – I shouldn’t have tried, I should’ve stuck with the standard routine.
Tomorrow, I’m taking the skates back to the store. When they cry tomorrow, which I’m sure they will, I’ll tell them to ask Santa or ask for their birthday.
My lessons learned today: I should’ve quit while I was ahead.