Friday, September 10, 2010

Tears and Tantrums

It's a phase.

I have to tell myself that in order to get through it without suffering a nervous breakdown and committing myself.

My 21-month-old daughter has entered a phase wherein she feels it is absolutely necessary to scream horrifically when placed in the seat of a shopping cart. This is not the end of the world, you say... but when nearly 50% of our outings consist of the need for a shopping cart, it darn near FEELS like the end of the world.

Attempt #1... JoAnn Fabrics. I come to the realization that not only does the NEW location not open till October 1st, but the current location has been in the midst of a closeout sale for the good part of two months. The likelihood of finding what I'm looking for is slim yet I still attempt a quick look. The screaming begins (my daughter's... not mine) and all 10 patrons quickly glare my way. Thirty seconds in and I'm already approaching insanity. I grab my girl whispering intense motherly reasons why her behavior is NOT acceptable and drag Brendan nearly running full speed to the car.

Attempt #1... FAIL

Attempt #2... I get a text from a friend to meet in a half hour at a nearby kids recreation facility. Good idea... JoAnn's was a bust. And just enough time to stop by Fred Meyer for a few small items on my list. Hop Brendan into the cart basket and Aubrey into the seat and this time the blood curdling scream is accompanied by kicking and thrashing. "I will conquer" I think to myself... "I can do this, I will ignore and will not be defeated." But humiliation sets in as, with each step, the tirade increases. I grab Brendan and pull crazy screaming child from the cart and attempt to quickly leave the store with my dignity intact.

Attempt #2... FAIL

So as if one could possibly find the idea of a third attempt even remotely a good idea...

Day 2, attempt #3... Drop Brendan off at preschool and prep myself for what will be a MUCH better stroll through Fred Meyer...


Screaming begins the second I lift her into place, legs kicking, arms thrashing. This time I have the energy. I can do it. I will ignore her obvious efforts to take control of this situation and I will persevere. The glares from fellow shoppers quickly wear me down. "HELLO?? If you just move a little faster, I can make this quicker for all of us" I think. She is unrelenting and louder by the second. An old man shoots me a look. "YUP!" I want to shout, "if you think it's hurting YOUR ears, imagine how it sounds from just six inches away from the amplified source!" I can't hear anything other than the shrill cries of my child. Her mouth seems permanently fixed in the open and screaming position, every ounce of saliva mixing with tears and snot to produce a disgusting mess that slowly drips from her face. I am focused on the task at hand and my attempts at comforting her only seem to fuel her angry outburst. I hear a lady say softly to her husband "I think she may be hurt" and I want to shout "she WILL be if I have to endure this much longer!!" And finally, in what had to have been the longest 10 minutes of my life, I was out of the store with my head hung in horror, shame, guilt and anger. I strapped her in her car seat and released an unnecessary furious outburst. Then I closed the doors and laid my head on the steering wheel and began to cry with my daughter. Me, for being the type of mother I never wanted to be... for not knowing how to fix my child... for letting anger take hold of me... for feeling banned from public places that require shopping carts... for using unkind words directed at this tiny person who fills my heart with so much love.

Her, for reasons I will never know.

Attempt #3... FAIL FAIL FAIL

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oregon Coast Camping

Having camped on the Oregon coast nearly every summer of my childhood, I should have expected the ever present and infamous wind and cold. However, I purposely scheduled our annual family camp trip (insert my parents, their fifth-wheel and all accompanying camp gear i.e. espresso machine) on the last weekend of August to attempt for a bit of warmth and sunshine. I failed on at least one count. Sunshine be darned, the wind on the beach made sand castle building almost unbearable... almost... Little did Brendan know, his grandpa is a die-hard when it comes to sandcastles and has survived 5 unrelenting children who would freeze their butts off before leaving an unfinished sculpture.

Beverly Beach was our site of choice this year, a site where many of my childhood camping memories were made. Lots of fun times, food, biking, food, nature walks, food, playing in the sand, food and more food. We come prepared to feed an army so what else is there to do?? And who says you can't have s'mores in the middle of the afternoon? Where there's a fire, there's a s'more! As far as Aubrey was concerned, forget roasting, the marshmallow was fine as is (less mess factor for me!)

More importantly, lots of smiles and laughs, and despite the long drive home, lots of good old memories made...