This Saturday will be Gomer's 8th birthday and Adolpha's 6th birthday.
Although they share a birthday and are best friends, they have such different personalities. Adolpha was high maintenance in the womb and Gomer has always been the most easy going and loving kid you could meet. In fact, Gomer never threw a fit until he was two years old.
We'd had a pretty good run until the day I took him to Old Navy.
It was January and Adolpha desperately needed tights. Everything she had to wear was a dress and she needed something to keep her little bare legs warm. Old Navy had a good selection for a decent price so I decided to take a minute to myself and run out and get her some tights.
As I was leaving the Hubs said, "Really? You're going to leave me with both of them?? Alone??"
"You can do it," I replied. "I'll be an hour."
"I can't do it. Adolpha is too fussy to be put down and Gomer will miss you too much. You have to take one of them," he said.
I sighed heavily and decided I'd take Gomer. At least he could walk so I wouldn't need a stroller and the Hubs was right, Adolpha was too fussy - he could keep her for a while!
Gomer wasn't too happy to go out in the cold and he really wasn't thrilled about shopping, but he put on a brave face like he always did.
In those days Gomer was obsessed with balls. He was crazy for them. I remembered that Old Navy had a big gumball machine-looking thing that would give you a giant superball for a quarter. I told Gomer, "We need to be quick and if you're a good boy I'll get you a ball at the store. OK?"
"OK!" he replied.
We got the store and I found the tights that I wanted. I started to get on line when Gomer reminded me, "Ball!"
"Oh, right! OK, they're over here, Gomer." I walked over to the gumball machine thingy and put in a quarter. Just as I did this, Gomer walked over to a bin of soccer balls and selected an $8.00 ball.
"Ball!" he said holding up his pick.
"Oh, no, Gomer. Mommy got your ball already. See?" I showed him the super ball.
|These aren't good enough for my kid.|
Not like a wahhhhh scream, but like an ear-piercing-I'm-being-abducted-someone-call-the-cops-I-don't-know-this-crazy-lady scream.
The entire store turned and stared at me. I was horrified. My precious snowflake had never behaved like this before. I had no idea what to do.
"Gomer," I hissed. "stop that right now."
"Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!" he wailed at the top of his lungs and then he threw himself on the floor.
"Gomer! Get off the floor!" What the hell had just happened to my little boy? It was is if he was possessed by the devil himself.
"That's it. No. Ball," I whispered to him. I shoved the super ball in my pocket and tried to get Gomer off the floor.
He went limp like a 45 pound wet noodle. I struggled to hang on to my tights and my child.
By now people had stopped shopping and were just staring at us. They were watching me try and parent my child and they were watching my child melt down like an ice cream cone on a hot July day.
I weighed my options: On one hand Adolpha needed tights and I didn't know when I'd get the chance to go shopping again without having to haul two kids, a stroller, an infant car seat, an enormous diaper bag (Gomer still wasn't potty trained at this point, so I needed newborn diapers and gargantuan diapers), a breast pump (no matter how hard I tried to plan to go out in between my pumping schedule, it seemed like I always had to pump at least once in a public restroom), a back up battery for the breast pump, at least two lovies for each kid, snacks for Gomer and an extra bottle for Adolpha in an insulated cooler (in case my breast pump AND back up battery failed AND the winter temperatures dropped so low that my baby's bottle MIGHT get a tad warm and get her sick - God, I don't miss those days of worrying about EVERYTHING when my kids were babies!!). On the other hand Gomer was a mess. He'd misunderstood me because I wasn't clear about which ball I was offering. I could buy that $8.00 ball and he'd shut up. But then he'd win. He'd know that in the future anytime he wanted something he could pitch a fit and I'd cave.
I had to decide right then and there what kind of parent I was going to be. I looked at his bright red, screaming face and made my decision.
Nope. Adolpha was getting her tights and Gomer wasn't getting ANY ball no matter how hard he screamed.
I dragged his limp ass up to the line and waited patiently. I ignored him while he wailed and thrashed on the floor beside me.
A few people actually moved and let me go ahead of them. "Thank you," I said through gritted teeth as I shoved him forward with my foot.
Now I was between an older lady (grandma age) and a teenage girl. Both of them were looking at me like I was Mother of the Year. The grandma harrumphed and muttered something like, "I would take him home." The teenage girl nodded in agreement.
"Look," I told grandma, "I have a two month old baby at home that needs tights, dammit. This kid is pitching a fit because he can't have a ball. You are too old to remember when your kids acted up in a store and you -" I turned on the teenager, "should pay close attention, because I'm giving you a glimpse of your future if you don't practice safe sex. Now everyone quit staring at me."
I paid for the tights and carried my screaming, thrashing toddler from the store while he pulled down the front of my shirt and exposed my boobs to everyone who cared to see my goods. I wrestled him into his carseat. This was my first experience with the arching toddler who refuses to be buckled into his seat. I ended up sticking my knee in his gut to get him in his seat. I threw myself into my seat exhausted and called the Hubs.
"You will never believe what YOUR son just did."
"What happened? Why is he crying?" the Hubs asked.
"Clear out his room. Take everything of any value that he cares about. I want it all gone by the time I get home. Everything he loves is off limits."
The Hubs could tell I meant business. He hung up and got to work.
We got home and I filled in the Hubs. We sent Gomer to his room to think about his actions for a bit while I calmed myself down.
Finally, I went upstairs to talk to him about his behavior. After our talk I asked him, "Do you have anything you'd like to say to me?"
He had calmed down. He sat there and stared into my eyes and thought long and hard. Finally he said, "Sorry usually works."
"HUBS!" I yelled. "Come and get your son before I hurt him!"