The other day I went to pick up M from school. The sun was shining, the birds were singing; it was a beautiful afternoon and everything seemed right with the world.
Then I walked out the school gate in front of her, and suddenly...WOE. How dare I go out before her because SHE WANTED TO GO FIRST and now her life is RUINED, RUINED, RUINED and I'M GOING TO STAND HERE AND SCREAM AND CRY UNTIL YOUR LIFE IS RUINED, RUINED, RUINED TOO! (Only not in so many words. It was more like, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!")
There was so much woe that people stopped to stare. Which was probably for the best, because when there is a screeching, irrational child in the vicinity, my instinct is to run. (I do not think this is the same instinct that got me pregnant. In fact, it is probably more closely tied to the one that allowed me to go to Chicago with my girlfriends for four days.) But no matter, because if people are staring at you, you can't ditch your kid. That is called Bad Parenting.
It took a good 10 minutes for her to calm down enough to get ourselves home and onto a quiet spot on the couch where we sat and read books and ate a snack and skipped our previously scheduled activity. But those were a seriously loooong 10 minutes, and during them, I tried everything I could think of to get her to calm down:
1) Reasoning -
Fatigue can do crazy, crazy things to a kid. Making them into a rational, receptive human being is not one of them.
2) Threatening -
Apparently it is almost impossible for threats to be heard over the sound of screeching. Also, don't forget about the watching bystanders!
3) Begging -
Even if they are screaming, kids generally remember whatever treat it is you have promised them. So "OMG, please, please, please stop making that noise and I will buy you a pony!" is not advised.
4) Trying to enlist help -
What, fellow parent and neighbor? You don't want to have her over for a play date? Why not? Can't you see my beseeching eyes?! SHE'S LOVELY, PLEASE TAKE HER NOW!
4) Patience -
Hmm. This is not one of my strengths. Are you saying you want me to stand here and be patient and loving and accepting while my kid flips out and maybe even just hug her and wait quietly until she gets through it? Because that's pretty hard to do, and I'm not even sure that's gonna...hey! It works! Let's go home.
So we did.
On a totally unrelated side note: I went to the small local grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner and some cake mix for cupcakes for the class bake sale. But they didn't have any mix, and I had to make cup cakes FROM SCRATCH. It's like the dark ages around here.
At least there was canned frosting. Phew.