Any mother or father knows that getting out of the door in one piece can sometimes be a little tricky. I once remember a coworker telling me that, once I had made it to work after surviving the morning and dropping Harrison and Ella off at daycare, the hardest part of my day was over. And she was correct. When I became a stay at home mom, there were a few glorious weeks where I realized we didn’t HAVE to be anywhere on time, and I thought I was finally free from the madness that is leaving the house with toddlers in tow.
We couldn’t stay home forever, though. Eventually we made trips to the grocery store, and the gym, and to friends’ houses. Although we weren’t tied to a specific time line for these outings, I still had to manage to get both children dressed, groomed, packed (you know, because everyone needs a three course meal, a drink in their favorite cup, seventeen diapers and two changes of clothes even for a ride down the street) and strapped in the car before we could go anyplace. This can obviously wear on one’s nerves, but it is not an impossible feat.
The kids attend a preschool a half hour away from our house, so three days a week we pack up and go to school, with all of the aforementioned items tossed in the minivan. Some days it was a little hectic. Some days I almost just took of my shoes at sat on the couch, thinking it just wasn’t worth the struggle. There were a few days Harrison got in the car without shoes because he refused to put them on. There was one day Ella cried all the way to school because she forgot her blanket and wanted me to go get it for her. (After chasing her all over the yard to get her in the car, I didn’t have time to go get the blanket. And you know what? If she had spent half that energy she used running away from me to just bring her crap with her, she wouldn’t have been in that pickle.)
Since this isn’t my first rodeo, I try real hard to have everything packed and ready to go the night before. I TRY to foresee all complications and prepare for them. My kids, however, always come up with something they need to have or do before we leave the house, and there is usually some epic tantrum moments before we need to leave.
My favorite of all time meltdown happened on the second to last day of preschool this year. For some insane reason unbeknownst to me, my dear sweet son decided that his stuffed dragon needed shoes to wear to school. There are a few problems here. 1. Dragon is not enrolled in school. 2. Dragon doesn’t own shoes. 3. Dragon has very small feet, so none of the shoes in the house would fit Dragon. After explaining to Harrison that he could not put shoes that didn’t exist on Dragon’s feet, the screaming and crying and writhing on the floor ensued. Naturally we were beyond late at this point. I don’t remember exactly how I managed to get Harrison in the car but I am pretty sure I carried him there. And I am positive that after he yelled at me for being a horrible person and hit me that I did not allow Dragon to come, barefoot, with us. (Note: I was making a point to Harrison that he couldn’t get away with treating me so terribly. I actually have no problem whatsoever with barefoot dragons.)
My boy spent the entire car ride yelling, “YOU GO BACK RIGHT NOW AND GET DRAGON!! HE NEEDS HIS SHOES!” amidst sobs of disappointment and anger. I felt badly that I had made a show of throwing dragon in the house, and wondered if I had gone too far. I also remembered all of the endearing things Harrison had done the day before and worried if I spent too much time disciplining him for his poor behavior, and not enough time praising him for the good. I considered how endearing it was that he wanted to properly clothe his stuffed animal. This got me in my soft spot, and the guilt of perhaps going too far with my frustration of him sent me on my way…
After dropping the kids off at school, I was overtaken by the need to buy that damn dragon some shoes. I have a thing for footwear, so I can relate. And here I am relating to a stuffed animal. I’m pretty sure it all goes downhill from here, folks. Anyway, I made the trip to Family Dollar in search of shoes suitable for a dragon. My choices were slim, but I made do with what they had. Justin thought I was off my rocker, but I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last ridiculous thing I do to please my child. As a matter of fact, he asked me, after the delight of his dragon’s shoes wore off, where we’d be buying Dragon’s NEXT pair of shoes.