As my friend Sonnya likes to say, "We were all great parents before we had kids."
Obviously, my thoughts have come back to bite me, never more evident than what happened yesterday afternoon.
I should have known we were off to a bad start. I have a head cold/cough/sore throat thing, so I've been trying to avoid being around other people's children. I decided that after Scotty's craptastic 90 minute nap, we were going to head the Springs Preserve for an afternoon of imposed quarantine for myself and some good energy-running activities for the Bear. Our membership had just run out, and I wanted to renew it again before it got too hot outside. And as you may recall from last year, the Springs Preserve is a gorgeous place and just perfect for kids.
More on that later.
Okay, started off in the kids exhibit. Oh wait, let's back up. I knew it was going to be a tough afternoon (nap not withstanding) when I offered Scotty his first M&M before we loaded up the bop-bop ("car," for you new readers). He loved it. LOVED it. It was like watching a crack addict take their first hit. He wanted more M&Ms, and he wanted them now. Based on the crazed look in his eyes, as he stood by the counter with his arms outstretched, I could tell he thought God put him on this earth to eat M&Ms. It was his right. He wanted and needed more M&Ms. Now.
When I refused, he cried. And cried. He wailed all the way to the bop-bop, down our street, on to the 215, and was still hollering when we merged on to the 15. I wanted to slam my face into the steer wheel, but instead, I simply opted to crank up the radio to drown out the ruckus in the backseat.
Then he protested when I greased him up with sunscreen. The nice woman at the ticketing counter very graciously took all of my info verbally, since I was wrestling with the little wolverine and a tube of very slippery suncreen. Finaly, finally, we were finally in the park.
I was exhausted and it was only 35 minutes into the adventure.
So we're in the kids area. I don't want to put it on the older kids who were there, but...well, they were throwing sand. And Scotty, #1 fan of Big Kids, started to imitate them. All of the mothers were on their kids immediately, and the sand-throwing stopped. Except for my child since he's still a little slow on the uptake of new info. So I chased him around, trying to prevent him from blinding another child, in the blazing hot sun while the minutes ticked slowly past.
Yes, blazing hot. It's not even April yet, and inexplicably, it felt like a furnace yesterday. There was no wind, little shade, and lots and lots of sun beating down on us. Scotty and I were red-faced and sweating within ten minutes.
I finally was able to cajole him to a different area (away from the naughty Big Kids) and he took it upon himself to take large handfuls of sand and smear it on my pants. Okay, he probably shouldn't have been doing this, but it was an upgrade from throwing the sand, so I took it. And he took great delight in getting me, my pants, and my sandals very, very dirty.
He's also developed this very covert way of biting me. Ever since the institution of the time-out, he hasn't taken a chomp out of my leg in weeks. But yet he somehow figured out that if he pretends to put something in his mouth, I will try to fish it out and wham! Gotcha, Momma. And I fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
So as we baked in the Nevada sun, covered in dirt, sand, and sweat, Scotty decided to play his little trick. Mind you, I'm hacking up a lung from all of this airborne dust and my hair is hanging in my eyes. I feel awful, look worse, and I'm just praying for it to be five o'clock soon. Brian had agreed to meet us for dinner at the cafe in the main building, and all I wanted to do was drench my aching throat in some fancy flavored ice tea and pass the child off to his other parent.
Scotty appeared to put something in his mouth, and I fall for it. He practically took off the tip of my index finger. And I just loose it. I mean, completely loose it. I went from zero to dunzo in about 1.2 seconds.
"DAMMIT SCOTT!" I holler. "CUT IT OUT!"
And every head in the playground swivels my way. And then, even worse, all of the heads turn politely turn downward, as to avoid eye contact with me.
Argh. I was that mom.
Despite my embrarrasment, I shot everyone a defiant look. I kept my head held high. It was as if to say, "Hey everyone. Judge all you want. You all know you've been here before. You're just happy it's me and not you. Well, it will be. One day. Mark my words."
And at that, I threw Scotty in the stroller (screaming, "TIME-OUT! TIME-OOOOOOOUT!" while he wailed and fought me. Klassy, I know) and we ran out of the children's area.
What happens next, I am not proud of. But it needs to be said.
I had no idea what to do with my child during a time-out not on our property. So I took him to the bathroom (I really had to go.) He's hollering, I'm still screaming, and we are making enough racket to raise the dead. Thankfully, no one else was in the restroom, so I push him into the farthest stall, lock the door, and put down the little paper toilet seat cover, all while we are both still yelling at each other and I am clearly not paying attention to what I'm doing.
I missed off the toilet.
And hit the floor. With my butt.
I was so busy yelling that I didn't see where my behind was headed.
At least it shut the kid up.
I think Scotty was so surprised to see Momma fall that he recoiled a little and then just blinked at me in silence. I managed to get back up and er, finish, without incident but my hip ached and my pride was far more wounded.
(Though I would like to thank the good people at the Springs Preserve for maintaining such clean bathrooms. The floor was sparkling and stall was downright lovely.)
We limped out of the restroom, and I set Scotty to play in the outside artificial grass area while I pulled myself together. He clearly had no issues with separating himself from Momma, as he took off for the stage. See the picture above? The cute one with my little foldable Bear? Well, this is the Bear at present day.
He's little Mr. Independence lately, and since there was no one else around, I figured it was okay for him to be so far away. I could make out his little blond head bobbing in the distance, and quite honestly, we both needed a little space from one another.
After a bit, we headed to the library for some cool air. My watch only read 4:15pm and I was ready to do anything to make the time go by faster. Scotty took it upon himself to chuck some glass geos off their shelf and run between the aisles of books.
From the shelf, I selected an Eric Carle board book and one about counting desert animals. Mr. Independence ba-hooed my choices, and promptly went to the shelves to make his own selection. He came back (I kid you not), with "A Student's Guide to Biotechnology: Debatable Issues."
We didn't make it past the forward.
And just like that, Scotty was once again climbing on the chairs, throwing his sippy cup, and attempting to break semi-precious stones.
Is it five o'clock yet?
To make conversation (and take the attention off of my terrorist toddler), I asked the librarian's assistant what time the library closed. "Six pm," he said. He looked like a punky high school kid. "What about the cafe?" I asked. He snorted at me before answering.
And that, folks, it how Brian and I ended up eating dinner at a questionable Applebee's on West Charleston on a Wednesday night. I was covered in dirt, all of my makeup had sweated off, and I was limping.
Moral of the story: be nice to moms with misbehaving toddlers. It will be you one day.