Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making a spectacle of oneself

Oh, I have so much sympathy for my friends who have extra behavioral challenges with their children. "Regular" kids are challenging enough ...

I got a taste of this today. Bo Peep is sweet and serene the vast majority of the time. But a few times a year, it's necessary for her to ... well, to completely lose her ever-loving-mind, as my mama used to say. Kind of like when your computer goes all wonky because it needs a reboot.

We live a half mile from the elementary school. Beautiful day, so I walked up to get them. We had barely left, when Peep began pulling back hard on the stroller. As if she wanted me to not only push the stroller home, but also drag her. This isn't unusual, so I just reminded her not to do that, as I often do.

Complete freak out.

Yanking back on the stroller, pulling on me, yelling, crying, oh, you name it. Kicking, screaming ... and refusing to walk.

I finally just plunked myself down on the sidewalk, told The Princess to take the stroller and walk on ahead, and told Bo Peep that it was fine, we'd just wait there til she was ready to be good. "Are you ready to be good?" "NO!" she hollered. I pulled out my iPod and put the buds in my ears. Stretched my face out to the warm sun.

"Are you ready to be good?" "NO!!!"

"Are you ready to be good?" "NO!!!"

Helpful Mom #1 stopped her minivan near us and leaned out to find out if I needed any help, or a ride. She was afraid perhaps I was ill or something. I thanked her for her kindness. She drove on.

"Are you ready to be good?" "NO!!!"

I like my iPod.

"Waaaah, you haaaaate me!"

I resisted the urge to explain that if I didn't love her and her siblings to the depth of my being, I would have thrown them in a volcano years ago.

We walk hand in hand a few yards. She continues wailing about how I don't love her, I haaaate her, I think she's a big dummy head, I'm going to burn her with fire, etc. I just walk, silently.

She throws herself down on the ground again. I wait. Eventually she gets up and we walk on. This repeats a few times. During one of those times, I just walk forward and go sit on the curb. A gaggle of kids come by and try to ask her what's wrong. She screams at them. Then Helpful Mom #2, walking home, stops and tries to comfort her and find out what's wrong. I call out, "Hi, I'm the mom, I'm right here."

She walks up and says, "She said her Mom is mad at her."

"Yup, pretty much," I say. She smiles sympathetically at me.

Helpful Mom #3 stops her minivan and asks if her son can walk to the corner with The Princess. Sure. (Little Warrior is sleeping in her stroller through all of this.)

I walk back over to Bo Peep. She has stopped her fit. I just want to get home. I hold her hand and we walk home. Now she is crying that she's a dumb, dumb, dummy.

During all of this, we've had Not Helpful Child #1, a classmate of The Princess, walking along beside me, offering her views on the whole situation, and that she can't understand why Bo Peep is acting like this, she never would. "What would your Mom do if you acted this way?" I ask. "She'd spank me on my BARE BOTTOM."

(We don't spank ... but I have to admit to having a little evil feeling of happiness that the girl said this where Peep could hear. Yeah, there is evil is this here mama.)

Anyway, we are home now. Bo Peep is lying in my bed, where I'm about to go have a talk about What Is Appropriate Behavior When Walking Home.

The Helpful People did nothing wrong. (Unless a Helpful Person called CPS because I just really don't have the time for it, right now ...)

But they didn't actually help in any way. So when I think about you mamas (and daddies) who have to deal with this on a regular basis, when you go out in public ... I'm sorry. And I'll try to be careful about not being helpfully unhelpful, myself.


Earthbound Spirit said...

Been there. Time after time. They do grow up, thanks be to all that is holy.

You did a great job, by the way - sounds like you were a totally "non-anxious presence."

ms. kitty said...

Yup, that's life, isn't it? Good job!

jfield said...

This post sounds like a scene from my life. Though for us it almost always happens in the car.

After school today I was stuck for a few minutes as the mom next door had to herd two girls and her toddler into her car. At first I was going to step out and pretend to be helpful but instead I just waited and when she came back to the car I just gave her a knowing smile and she laughed back.

Shannon said...


and I like my little ipod shuffle too.

Comrade Kevin said...

It helps me to contemplate the inherent spark of the divine that is in all of us, even when seeking it is no easy feat. :-)

Every 7th Day said...

I use bourbon.

Lizard Eater said...

7, I completely adore you.