Sunday, September 7, 2008

Holy &#*&

OK. We've arrived. Last week, I knew it: The "Terrible Twos" had descended upon our happy home.

Alright, I know, by most standards, we've got it pretty good. Our little one says "please" and "thank you" almost without prompting. And she is, on balance, a gentle child who shares both objects and love freely.

However, we had an incident last week, in our local Barnes & Noble, that made me want to crawl under a rock, both because of the way my little one behaved and because of the way I handled it.
We entered the store, perused the books I was there to purchase, and then made our happy way back to the children's section. On our way back to the kids books, my little angel was so sweet and excited, that she made everyone smile as we passed. "Oh what a cute child," some exclaimed. "How wonderful that she's so excited to look at books," others remarked. I followed her, beaming with pride: Yes, this is my outstanding child.

As we approached the checkout, smiling, my little angel underwent a swift and total transformation. She stole my wallet and ran 25 feet to the exit door. I stood looking at her, afraid to move, lest I frighten her into a full sprint. "Olivia," I called to her, in my best Public Mommy Voice, "come back here this instant!" "NO-O-O-O," she screamed in full voice and sprinted to the back of the (warehouse-size!) store.


I ran after her, trying not to look as though I was running, and, finally, caught ahold of her wrist. "I'm very disappointed with you," was all I could come up with as I dragged her--literally--kicking and screaming the half-a -football-field distance back to the cash wrap.

I completely ignored the irritated glares from the customers in line behind me and completed my purchase with one hand, the other gripping her tiny wrist.

As we left the store, I admonished her for her behavior and told her I would have to take away her favorite toy. After I'd strapped her--crying--into her carseat, I climbed into the driver's seat, and felt like crying myself. What am I doing wrong?

A few days later, I picked up a book that's been sitting on my shelf for a while, Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids, by Naomi Drew. The several chapters I have read have been quite helpful, educating me on the nuances of communication and example. It served as a good reminder that everything--literally everything!--we do and say to our children, gets deposited into their memory banks. The great Albert Schweitzer said "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."

And so we embark on a new chapter of growth in our lives, both my daughter's and mine. I go forward, willing to learn, and hoping to inspire--in both of us--more respectful behavior. I hope to accomplish discipline, moderated by peace. I wish to instill boundaries, modeled by respect. My goal--as yours--is to raise a whole, confident, peaceful individual.

I'll let you know how that's working out.


Ruth said...

I don't think I've ever been to a Barnes and Noble with my kids without having some type of incident. But I think your story takes the cake.
Anyway, may I recommend any discipline book by Elizabeth Pantley. She is one of my favorites, not only with great ideas but also not being too hard on yourself as a parent.

stace said...

I have had that same thing happen to me. Its weird, because one moment, everything is going on just fine, and suddenly, they turn into little monsters!! It can be embarrassing, but honestly, once 2 year olds want to do something, and you are telling them not to, there can be no reasoning. The best think is to just try and get out of the place or situation you're in as soon as possible...Sometimes is it impossible to reason and talk with a child when they're getting all fired up. I can't complain though, cooper has been great the past few days. Although i'm trying to get him back into a proper bed routine - which has both of us in tears most nights. xx

SZ said...

Oh, man. I kinda chuckled when I read that Olivia stole your wallet. Any idea where she was planning to go?

That said -- you are doing FINE. She's two. It's her job to flip out every once in a while. I'm sure 90% of the people in the store sympathized with you. Almost everyone understands how hard it is to deal with tantrums, and if they don't, they clearly haven't had to care for a toddler.

So -- don't beat yourself up. I don't have any real advice, but it might make you feel better to read some other's Worst Parenting Stories:

SZ said...

Huh, my link doesn't work. You can get there by Googling this: finslippy worst parent

Meaghan said...

Ruth, thanks for the recommendation. I'll check out her books for sure. I could use the help in both departments.

Stace, you're right. It comes on in an instant, like Jeckyll and Hyde. Hang in there through your tough spot too!

SZ, thanks for the pep talk, and the link. I can't wait to check it out. You always find the funniest, goofiest websites.

Meghan said...

I will so be buying this book or at least taking it out of the library.
My Mr. Man is in the throws of the terrible twos but apparently, only for me.
He is extremely well behaved for everyone but me! LOL

Dawn said...

May I also recommend "Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids" by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson. My husband and I were fortunate enough to attend a workshop by Victoria and it helped us greatly with our very spirited daughter. I am also reading "Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child" by Robert J. MacKenzie. So far I am finding some helpful information... things I can use even with my mellow little man who has recently hit the two's head on!

Meaghan said...

Dawn, thank you so much for the recommendations. I will look into both books. We can all use all the help we can get! As they say, it takes a village.

Meghan, if your little man has good behavior for most, I'd say you're doing great. If he's not bonking the other kids on the playground with his Tonka truck, well then Mama, nice work.

beth♥ said...

Hang in there. My oldest did this to me once .. in Wal-Mart. He was three. This too, believe it or not, shall pass ... and then she'll be a teenager.

Meaghan said...

Beth--Ha! You have a zest! And a zing! When is your book coming out already?