It is no secret to some of you that Autumn can be, at times, our most difficult child in terms of behavior. Yes, Scarlet gets in to EVERYTHING, and Gabbi can have an attitude that would make you gasp, but when it comes to all out tantrums or reigning in behavior, Autumn gives me a run for my money. There are times when we are out as a family and we split the kids up in terms of who is watching them, one of us gets Gabbi and Scarlet and the other gets Autumn – just to make it even.
She knows what she wants and listening isn’t always her strong suit. Especially when we are out. And Wednesday was no exception. In fact, it was literally the worst outing I have had with the girls in a LONG time.
I try not to take them too often to do things that I know will make them bored and restless, especially if its close to naptime, but I had to go and get some fabric for Gabbi to make Emerson a quilt. I knew that it wouldn’t take that long to find the right fabrics, since Gabbi had already been very specific about what she wanted and we still an hour or so until meltdown time, so I decided to just go for it.
I should have left as soon as we walked in the store, because Autumn immediately ran away from the cart and it took me a few seconds to even find her! I THOUGHT I convinced her to stay right next to me, but it happened 3 more times on the way to the fabrics we needed. I was already so frustrated and ready to go. Then the 4th time she ran off, she came back with an entire bolt of fleece Mickey Mouse fabric, asking to bring it home. It was cute, and I needed fleece for the girls’ winter blankets, so I said we could get some. I was also desperately hoping that the fabric would distract her until I could finish….
When I had gotten all the way to the back of the store to get the quilt batting, the girls began fighting over who could hold my keys. It happens often, so I was just letting them figure it out and trying me very best to hurry up. At least that was until an announcement came over the loud speaker that my car alarm was going off….and I couldn’t get it to shut off from the back of the store, so up to the front we walked – with a bunch of people now staring at my fighting and yelling children.
The Autumn saw another little girl carrying a toy frog, and ran away again because she wanted to pet the “froggy”. The other child DID NOT appreciate Autumn coming up to touch her toy, causing even yet another scene….was this ever going to end?
At that point I decided that it was best to put Autumn in the cart, but it only made her yelling louder, now mixed with crying over not being able to walk. I think about 3, maybe 4 nice, older women kindly pointed out to me that my children were probably tired…as if I didn’t already know that.
I get in line, behind 2 people who immediately turn to look at the spectacle that is now me trying to calm then down while they are screaming over candy – which I was not about to give them after the show we had just put on in the store.
The women directly in front of me took one look at my cart and said “You better just go ahead of me…”, I sheepishly moved ahead. When the last person in front of me had a return, the cashier began to struggle with what to do. She, not –so – discreetly, paged the manager, who was close enough for everyone to hear the response – “send her over to register 3 and just take care of that woman in line with the kids..”
Perhaps she meant it to help me out, BUT it certainly sounded to me like she was trying to rush my spectacle out of the store…
And the woman in line behind me with the very well behaved toddler? Yea – she didn’t help me feel any better.
I left the store in tears, vowing to never take them anywhere again.
But I will take them places again, because I will have to. And I know that they won’t behave this horribly in every store, or every day. I will continue to take them places and attempt to teach them how to listen, how to behave in stores and how to be a helper.
I will continue to let my patience be tested, and continue to learn what works with my children and what doesn’t. As I am writing this, Autumn is hiding behind my chair from the invisible monster, entertaining herself and trying her best not to “bug mommy”, while she writes. She is being pretty good this morning, and she even let me sleep until 615, which might not sound like a lot, but its late for us. She turned the TV on herself this morning, and was so proud. She named all of her friends that were coming over today with a huge smile on her face. She says “Please”, and “Thank you”, all the time without having to be reminded. She picks up her toys when she is done playing and puts them away without being asked. She has learned about 100 new phrases this week, and strings together little paragraphs of conversation as if she has been talking forever. When you understand her on the first try, she smiles so big that you just want to squeeze her, making everything she says that much cuter. She can sometimes count to 8, and she knows a few of her colors. I am so thankful to be her mom everyday and to get to share in all of these amazing things. Even if it means my trips to the fabric store look like the one I just had….
So Moms in the trenches of toddlerhood…take heart. Even though we have what seems like the longest days in the world, the years are so short. Before we know it, we will be in the midst of the teenage years, longing for this time that seems so stressful now.
Gosh…I love this girl!!