Seriously, how is it Monday already? When I woke up this morning (at 5:30, for no good reason, with the beginning of a migraine) I couldn't believe it. What happened to that nice, relaxing weekend I'd been longing for?
I guess it's a testament to how difficult last week was. I guess my reservoir of patience and energy was so depleted, that two weekend days weren't enough to fill it back up.
I really, really wanted to blog about something lighthearted and funny, but right now I haven't got much of that. I'm working on it, I promise! :)
Last week was filled to the brim with tantrums. I really don't know what's going on with Katie, aside from the fact that she is 2. She doesn't seem to be teething. I keep blaming it on that, and then catching glimpses inside her mouth and finding that there are no new teeth in there. Hmm.
Tuesday's Trader Joe's fiasco was the pinnacle. I didn't have much to buy, so I finished shopping pretty quickly, but before I was finished Katie had had enough of riding in the cart. She managed to stand straight up on the seat and refused to sit back down, making me wonder why I'd bothered putting that little cart seat belt on her. So I took her out of the cart and let her push it along with me. She did OK as long as she was actively pushing the cart. If I stopped to look at something, she started pulling things off the shelves. I decided to quit shopping and head for the checkout line. On our way there, Katie managed to knock over some fragile-looking gift boxes of cookies from an end cap. That was the end of my tolerance for Katie on the loose. I picked her up, and she started to thrash and scream as if I were torturing her. People in line turned to stare. So did the cashiers. Thank goodness there weren't many people there on a Tuesday morning, but there certainly were enough to make me feel really embarrassed. I abandoned my cart and walked Katie up and down the wine section for a minute, then realized that she was warming up into a full-scale screamfest and that no amount of walking was going to calm her down.
She continued to scream as we made our way back to the cart. Seriously, there has to be a stronger, more descriptive word than "scream" - it just doesn't illustrate what I was dealing with. The checkout guy, who looked too young to have kids but was sympathetic anyway, checked and bagged our groceries with lightening speed, then helped us out to our car. Once I got Katie into the car, still screaming loudly enough to make my ears bleed, I thought I had things under control. I offered her a bottle, which usually works like nothing else to calm her down. Not this time! She wanted to get out and see the choo-choo train that runs near Trader Joe's. So I opened the door and let her out, but she refused to let me hold her hand in the parking lot. By this point I'd really had enough. I scooped her up and tried to get her into the car seat. My little girl weighs less than 25 pounds but has the strength of a bucking bronco! It took several tries before I was able to get her buckled in, and of course now she was screaming more than ever, plus kicking and thrashing. I quickly got into the driver's seat, shaking, and started home.
About 2 miles later, I looked in the rearview and noticed that Katie was STANDING UP in her car seat! She had wiggled her arms out of the straps and then stood up, just like in the cart at TJ's! Needless to say, I freaked out and started screaming "SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW!" as I searched for a place to pull over. (So much for all that positive parenting crap.) I found a red zone (labeled "No parking, stopping or standing at any time" - perfect) and stopped. I got out and got into the back seat, and tried to wrestle her back into her seat. Bucking bronco again. So I sat there for several minutes, saying nothing, hoping she would just calm down now that we were away from TJ's and the choo-choo. I tried to stay calm, but I was really starting to lose it. I kept thinking, what if I can't get her back in the car seat? After about 10 minutes, I did manage to get her back in. She hadn't stopped her tantrum for even a minute. I drove home as fast as I could, while keeping an anxious eye on her. She wiggled her arms out again, but stayed seated with the lap part of the seatbelt fastened, so I decided to keep driving instead of pulling over again.
About a half mile from our house, she quieted down. It actually looked like she was starting to fall asleep, which never happens in the car. We made it home, and when I went to get her out of the carseat, it was as if the meltdown had never happened. I burst into tears and told her I was so sorry I'd yelled, that I was so scared that she would get hurt by being out of her car seat. I don't know if she understood, but I think on some level she did. We went inside and life went on. Except that I'm now a lot grayer!
I've been replaying this scene over and over in my head, and I honestly don't know what I could have done differently. I really feel like I failed this particular test. I mean, I got both of us home in one piece, but I totally lost my head in the process. I don't yell and scream often - in fact, I can't even remember the last time I yelled that loudly - and I didn't like the way it sounded to my own ears. I also have to note that it had absolutely ZERO impact on Katie's behavior. It didn't change anything, except to help me let off steam. It certainly didn't make her sit down. It didn't make her stop crying. (Duh!) My only consolation is that it didn't seem to make things worse, either, but it certainly could have. I am so lucky that Katie has forgotten all about it!
The rest of last week wasn't as bad, in comparison, but it wasn't great either. The weekend was OK, and so far today has been fine, so maybe we're over the hump? I sure hope so! I love my little Katie so much, and I really would like more harmony in our lives. I try so hard to be a good parent - to be kind and attentive and loving as well as firm when necessary. I hate feeling like I'm doing a bad job. :( More on this later - I hear her waking up from her nap!
And I promise to try to find something funny to blog about next time! Crazier Grandma is coming to town; that should be all kinds of amusing. Happy Holidays to all!