I almost left my 2-year-old screaming on the street strapped into her stroller and walked away.
I thought about it, I pictured it, I wondered how far I would walk, could I walk far enough to get away from the piercing screaming? Did I dare?
Oh, I dared, because I was thinking it through pretty carefully as she screamed relentlessly in the stroller. Thinking about walking away took me to a happier place. A place of calm.
Keep in mind, we were well past the first 5 minutes of the tantrum, thinking it was going to end any minute. We were in about minute 35. She started screaming about 3 mins into the walk to her older sister’s preschool. DD1 and I just sorta ignored her and carried on our conversation about school, all the while I’m thinking to myself, this horrid 2-year-old phase will end and some day the screamer and I will be having a lovely conversation on our way to school (if her behavior doesn’t kill me first).
Then a few mins later, she composed herself and said “mommy, walk. I walk mommy.”
I fell for it.
SERIOUSLY. Who the f am I? You’d think I’d never lived through the 2s before. Yeah yeah, I know the 3s are worse. So I fell for it. She sounded so reasonable, she seemed so convincing. For a second I knew it was a bad decision but I fell for it, that sweet voice clearly telling me what she wanted to do.
So I said “Ok, but you have to walk, mommy can’t carry you and push the stroller, there is too much traffic.” (my neighborhood is old and lovely but it has no sidewalks, so we really can’t mess around.)
Good thing I explained myself to her, you know, cause 2-year-olds listen and reason and execute what they say they are going to do. They’re definitely known for that.
Again, who the f am I? Apparently on this third day of the new year, I am an idiot. And I let her out of the stroller. We’ve had plenty of lovely walks to and from school, both girls playing games and racing each other.
Not today, friends. Not today. This kid is going to stomp the optimist out of me before she’s through with me.
Within seconds she was climbing up my legs. Just yesterday my mom pointed out that I should just build steps up my body for all the time DD2 spends climbing up my legs in any given day. I tried reason, I tried reminding her that I can’t carry her and push the stroller and navigate both of them through the traffic.
At this point I realize that I sound like Charlie Brown’s mother….”Waaa Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa” is what the 2-year-old hears. It’s like I”m saying it to myself for fun. Sorta like giving instructions to husbands. Eventually I am trying to get her back into the stroller and I am blocking half the street, DD1 exclaiming “mommy, there are cars coming” and I don’t even look. I’m thinking “I dare those f’ing cars to hit me, let alone honk at me for taking up half the road, I seriously dare them.”
Apparently no one f’s with a woman wrestling a screaming, body straight as a board so you can’t strap her back into the stroller, 2-year-old. Lucky for them. Cause I was ready for a fight with an adult.
I eventually get her back in the stroller and she screams the entire way to school. At school I’m faced with a decision, taking her back out means I have to get her back in, and I don’t have the strength of 5 Olympic body builders, but there is still some optimism left in me, on this third day of the new year. I gamble that she’ll snap out of it on the playground and we’ll have a nice walk home after she plays.
She screams bloody murder as I lift her out and walk her onto the playground. At this point, it’s a good thing DD1 is carrying her own bag and basically signing herself in to school because I’ve all but forgotten about her.
“Just ignore her” I bark at a sympathetic to the screaming kid mother, and I walk away.
DD2 screams and screams and screams. 5-year-olds gather around her, attempt to play with her, she screams. I come back, she screams more. And then I had to get her back into the stroller. As we’re finally rounding a block from home, I’m wondering how she hasn’t gone horse, I”m wondering if I walked away, what would happen, and I’m wondering why. Why me, why today, why the hell is she so fired up? Why not is probably the answer.
How is it that they can be so sweet and so adorable and then just so awful a second later? It’s a dumb question because we all wonder the same thing but I am certain those moments are taking years off my life. There was an article in some parenting magazine the school passed out to us about discipline. It talked about the importance of remaining calm, of behaving how you want your kids to behave, it suggested you visualize yourself and how you want to be seen acting in those moments before you unleash on a kid.
I couldn’t tell if I liked this article or if I wanted to set it on fire, if the author had ever birthed and then raised a kid. But instead, in my moment today, I instead visualized myself just walking away and having a quiet cup of coffee.
Is abandonment the visualization they had in mind when writing that piece?