Wednesday, August 7, 2013


The scene couldn't have been more perfect (and ridiculous) unless it was from a movie. But, we weren't characters from a movie. It was me and Kendan. .... and Damien too but he had more of a supporting role in this scene. The setting: a busy grocery store, late afternoon, on a week night. Dozens of good citizens paying for their last minute dinner necessities. I walked into the store with the boys in a hurry since it was the second of two stops on our way to a friend's house. I pleaded with Kendan to ride in a cart in an attempt to make this stop very quick and painless. He refused. I knew better than to push it considering the day full of fits we had already had. No, it'd be faster to just let him walk. I, for some insane reason, did not grab a cart for Damien. We were only picking up one item. It shouldn't be too hard. Then it happened. Kendan saw a large salt water taffy display. I don't blame him for wanting a piece. We were on our way to eat dinner, he was hungry, and the array of brightly colored candy was taunting him. I get it. He immediately bolted to the damn taffy. I was saying "no" before he even asked. I reminded him that we were only there for one thing and on our way to dinner. So, no, he could not have a piece of candy. All.hell.broke.loose. He began crying, begging, and plucking a blue taffy directly from the shelf before I could intercept him. *Sigh* Now I'm literally taking candy from a baby. Whoever came up with that saying to reference something being easy has never taken candy from a kid who actually knows what candy is. Well, my kid knows. And he knew he wanted that candy. NOW! I put the pristinely wrapped, sugar-filled bane of my existence back from whence it came. Shrill screaming ensued. "I WANT A CANDY!!!!!" See? Seriously from a movie. A movie where you want to take the screaming child over your knee and teach him a lesson. All while shaking your head and thinking to yourself, "My child will never act like that!" That was my child. I attempted to take him by the hand to lead him to the dairy section and he ripped it away from me. It was clear I would have to carry him. I bent down to pick him up and two gentlemen standing near us offered to get me a cart. I knew Kendan would freak out if I put him in a cart since we already came to the conclusion that he will not ride in one. Again, why didn't I accept one for Damien? He was clearly the last thing on my mind (as made evident by the fact that we lost his pacifier in the heat of the incident and I didn't notice until the next day!). Poor Brother. Having refused a cart, I began carrying both boys to the back of the store. My mind racing! If only Kroger had vegan cheese we wouldn't be making this stop. I should have just let him have the stupid candy; we'd be done by now! No, he cannot always have his way. This is not the place to be teaching him a lesson though. Some where during my thoughts Kendan slipped down out of my arms due to his violent thrashing. All while still screaming for a candy as loud as I have ever heard him scream. We made it to the check out where he continued to make a spectacle of himself. I just ignored him and quickly paid for our item. The cashier asked me "how I was doing today". As if I had to answer. I took him by the hand and had to literally drag him out of the store. I got him between the two sets of doors, almost there. We were in the vestibule! I could feel the relief of the blistering heat outside (the only time I have ever welcomed the Texas heat). He broke loose!!! He runs back into the store. I am taken so by surprise that I almost drop my purse... and my other child! I adjusted everything in my arms, but by then he had a lead on me. I ran after him and got ahold of his wrist, halfway back passed the check out aisles. I managed to get him into my one *somewhat* free arm and looked up just in time to see a woman mouth "whoa" and look away. That's it. That's all I needed to make it the most embarrassing moment of my life! Thank you very much, lady. And thank you, Kendan. It didn't end there. We struggled all the way back to the car. I had to pin him against the side of the tire to keep him from darting into the parking lot while I buckled Damien in. I wrestled Kendan into his seat and performed some sort of miracle to get his straps over his arms. I was drenched in sweat. All while he screamed. And kicked. And hit me. And, yes, even tried to bite me. The worst tantrum he has ever had to date. 

I'd be lying if I said that was the first time. True, that's the worst I've ever seen it. But, definitely not the first time. I've climbed to the top of too many Chick Fil A jungle gyms to drag him kicking and screaming down to go home. We had a few months right before and after he turned three that really, really, tested me. My patience. My frustration tolerance. My ability to refrain from shaking my child. I know that those fits are usually a combination of many things. Kendan being tired and hungry and my being impatient with him are usually the top three contributors to the issue. The majority of the tantrums have cleared up. Thank goodness. True, they are now a rarity but when they do happen .... it makes for the worst day ever! 

Just as Kendan's introduction to the age of three was calming down, Damien hit a severe separation anxiety phase. Right at about 17 months I could not put Damien down at all. I could not walk away from him. Not even an inch. He would climb up my leg. Scream (he can rival his older brother.... I promise you). Hit. Freak out. He would lose his mind. It was nearly impossible to accomplish anything. Everything had to be done one-handed while I held a baby in the other arm. Dinner. Dishes. Putting costumes on Kendan. Everything. I couldn't even sit on the floor with him in my arms because he feared I would set him down. If I did not have him in my arms he was letting out a blood-curdling cry at my feet. While I used the bathroom. While I cut his fruit for lunch. While I got us ready for the pool. Always with my begging him to stop. Thankfully, I believe this phase is on its way out. But, just as with Kendan's occasional loss of sanity, I know Damien will sometimes remind of us of this trying time in our lives. 

I've been struggling. It has been a very long few months. I've been desperate. Crying in the kitchen while I let my child scream. All he wants is for me to hold him! But, I cannot hold him all the time. It is physically impossible. Believe me, I've tried to put a shirt on while holding him. It cannot be done! Crying in the car after Kendan made the biggest spectacle of himself in public ever. Obsessing over what happened and all the things I did wrong. And the look. The look of disbelief the woman gave me when Kendan went racing back into the store. All the confirmation I needed that I was failing. I worry all the time that the way I handle my children in these critical moments is ruining them. When they need me to remain calm and simultaneously teach them a lesson, make them feel safe, and contain the situation, I cannot always deliver. Sometimes, yes, I handle it as well as anyone! I love those days. Even if it was a hard moment with the boys I take comfort in knowing that I dealt with it properly. But, a lot of the times, I do not handle it well. I become impatient. I begin to raise my voice. I cut Kendan off when he's talking. I yell. I repeatedly ask Damien to stop crying, which makes him cry harder. If we're in public, I panic that we're making a scene and completely lose focus and nerve for what I have to do to rectify the situation. It's miserable. But, it's the truth. We've been struggling. 

I really do hope these days will be behind us soon. I hope my children will have less days full of crying. I hope I can have enough good days in a row to rebuild my confidence in my parenting ability. I hope my children know how much I love them even when we are all crying. Out of tiredness. Hunger. Anxiety. Fear. Stress. Being overwhelmed. Or just because we have to have a blue salt water taffy, right now. Mostly, I hope that this post finds somebody else who needed this. A mom. A dad. A friend. Doesn't matter. Just so they know that we all struggle from time to time.