Two toddlers, One trip to the UPS Store, 272 more gray hairs

by Melody on October 11, 2012

Loaded up the boys in the car to run two seemingly innocuous errands.  Everybody had slept well, bellies were full, we had emergency snacks just in case.

First errand.  I had to drop something off at the UPS store.  Literally, just drop off.  I didn’t even take my purse in.  There was one person in front of me and he turned out to be a bit of a talker.

What I said: “I don’t mind if you look, but please don’t touch anything.  If I ask you to come stand by me, you need to listen the first time and do the right things”.

What they must have heard: “Touch absolutely everything in sight.  Attempt to pull all the paper trays out of the copy machine.  Steal Mom’s keys and run as fast as possible into the parking lot.  Scream and cry when Mom takes the keys away”.

Second errand.  The boys earned free book vouchers at a local bookstore from the summer reading program at the library.  I thought it would be nice and pleasant for all of us to go to the store and pick out a book.

What I said: “This is going to be so much fun!  You each get to pick out a book of your very own, what ever you like”.

What they must have heard: “Steal Mom’s keys.  Run hysterically around the store, laughing as Mom tries to catch you and looks a bit like a howler monkey.  Scream at the top of your lungs as she attempts to hold you while you are lunging out of her arms, all while trying to juggle your books, her purse and the aforementioned keys.  Maybe even tear out a clump of Mom’s hair and flash half her bra to everyone in the store.”

Those two errands took almost two hours.  I was exhausted when we got in the car.  The mere thought of going home to make lunch was almost too much.  When we left the house, the boys were so well-behaved and sweet.  If they had been all crazy and naughty, I probably would have stayed home.  This hit me like a ton of bricks, I never saw it coming!

When I used to see parents struggling with their kids in the store, I often wondered why they didn’t just remove their kid from the situation.  Now I realize.  It’s amazingly hard some days to just wrangle your children into the car.  The thought of leaving the store before your errand is finished?  Unthinkable.  Heck to the no. I put this much work into getting here, I’m leaving with something.  Even if it’s just a headache.

This can’t just be me.  I’ll be perfectly honest, while I feel terrible for my friends when they tell me the crazy/wild/naughty/out of control things their kids have done, it makes me feel slightly better than I’m not alone.

I’m pretty sure I’m the best parent I can be on any given day.  Don’t get me wrong, my best is sometimes sitting and watching a cartoon in our pajamas while eating breakfast on the couch, but it’s still the best I have to give that day.

I am almost positive that I tell my kids NOT to run out in the street and we always talk about safety, listening, using kind words, not running away, not kicking your brother in the face {insert any random offense here}.  I try hard to give positive reinforcement, not just negative feedback.  I attempt to remember all the parenting tips the books and magazines tell me, although on some days I can’t even remember my own name, so that may not always work.

Some days in this mad, mad world of parenting, survival is often the best we can hope for.  Who knew this would be such a wild ride?

Other tales from the trenches:

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