Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tough Morning

We had a playdate/picnic today with several of the other moms from our church, at one mom's house, out in the front yard. Everything was set up beautifully - a tent, a spinning chair, toys, several sheets and blankets spread out, and chairs as well.

Ethan started out great. He was excited to see the other kids from his class. He found a toy that he quickly grew attached to, and carried it with him everywhere.

And then, of course, it happened.

Someone else liked the toy, too. Oh, the horror!

Fighting ensued. Crying, snot-dripping, screaming, hitting type of fighting, and it was not pretty, and I was ashamed. (To be fair to him, Ethan was not hitting. At least not that I saw, anyway. But he was doing a lot of wresting and yanking and so forth, and his tone was not all sweetness and light - not by a long shot.)

And here is where I never, ever know what to do. When a kid wants a toy that my kid has been playing with, does that kid need to learn to suck it up and find something else to play with, because we don't take toys away from other people? Or does my own kid need to learn to share and take turns, and let the other kid play with it for a few minutes and he can have it back when that kid moves on to something else? I am always, always torn on this one!!

I managed to talk Ethan down off the ledge, and had him sit by me and calm down, and I ever-so-gently suggested that maybe P would like a chance to play with that fun toy, too, and why don't you have a seat here by me and have some bread and apples, and when you're done you can have a cookie, and by then maybe P will have moved on and you can play with the toy again.

And - wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles - it worked. He actually walked up to P and said, "here, would you like to play with this for a few minutes?" and the sun shone down and the angels sang and all was well in our little world.

But little did I know that as he was eating, he still had one eye on the toy. And as soon as P put it down, Ethan (although he had not yet finished lunch, per our deal) was off like a shot to snatch it back again. But as it happened, P wasn't really done with it.

And fighting ensued. Crying, snot-dripping, screaming, hitting type of fighting, and it was not pretty, and I was ashamed.

And then the playdate hostess swooped down and spirited the toy away into the house, which was absolutely for the best, as it was clear they were not going to come to a consensus on who was going to play with this toy on this particular day. But boy, did that make Ethan mad. He was about as mad as I think I have ever seen him. Yelling, screaming, stomping...blah.

And just then? Aidan stuck his foot right into a large bowl of ranch dressing! Hooray!

And so I had to take him to the spigot to rinse him off, and as I did so, much to my dismay, I heard Ethan bellowing furiously at another mommy, and I'm guessing it was the playdate hostess, upset as he was at having lost his One True Love.

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

So I stripped off Aidan's sandals, and set him down and walked over to Ethan. "I'm sorry. I think it's time to go home." Of course, that went over like a lead balloon. I wrestled him to the van, with him screaming, "LET'S TRY AGAIN! I WANT ANOTHER CHANCE!!" and strapped him in, then went back for the other two.

As I was strapping Dylan into his carrier, who should appear behind me, but Ethan, unstrapped from his seat and back in the yard again, after having been told in no uncertain terms to stay put. The reason? Well, it was a matter of great seriousness that the doors were missing off his Hot Wheels SWAT team van. Why were they missing? Because he had slammed it into the window of the van in a fit of wrath, and the back doors had flown off.

I finished packing up, and one of the other moms helped me carry lunch items and helped me herd Aidan, and I left the playdate, feeling very beaten down and humiliated, after blurting out to two mommies there, "is this normal? Really? Because I feel sometimes like he is just so over-the-top!" which of course I immediately felt stupid for losing my cool in that way as well, even after having been assured that yes, we all have days like that.

Ethan cried all the way home. I had said he could have apples! I said he could have a cookie! And I had to do a ton of explaining about why, exactly, we were not at playdate eating apples and cookies. Well, not really a ton of explaining, just the same explanation over and over ad nauseum.

Straight into bed he went, as soon as we walked in the door. And it took him way too long, but he finally drifted off to sleep, after having lost his jack-o'-lantern carving privileges.

I hate the days when I don't have ANY of the answers. Most days I at least have some of the answers, and some days I even have most of the answers, and then there are days like today when I wonder if I'm doing any of it right at all.

So I'm just worn out, and I'm really wanting someone else to be the Mommy today, because there are times when I'm just not up to it.

1 comment:

Kerrie said...

Oh how I FEEL for you! I swear, even after all these years of mommyhood I feel like I'm still the only one leaving the playgroup with burning cheeks. Chloe & Caoimhe humiliate me on a regular basis, I come home wondering why I even try.
While the other mommies sit and talk I'm chasing down my hyperactive demon spawn.
I hope it'll be some consolation ( I have to remind myself here too...) that my 5 oldest have grown into wonderful, polite, sweet, considerate kids that other moms rave about so I like to think it's their advanced intellect that makes them toddling terrors.