Thursday, November 29, 2007

May I have the envelope please?

And the winner, for Dumbest Mommy on Earth.....


It's as if I just hopped out of the cabbage patch, I swear. Like I haven't been his mama for nearly FIVE years. Tonight was a family Pancake Dinner at my husband's school, combined with a Bookfair. We actually planned to go. Ahead of time. Like the idiots that we are.

So we went merrily about our day, errands and toy ogling at Target, Bitty Girl taking only a one-hour nap, making Rice Krispie treats, lah di dah... The nap should have sealed it for me, but no, I'm like the girl in the horror movie who keeps walking toward the dark closet even though she knows the killer is in there.

When we arrive at the school, it's nice and early, so no big crowd yet. The Boy is suddenly nervous and refuses to go into the gym, where a teacher and parent that he knows well are cooking pancakes. We let him stay outside for a few minutes, but it's cold, and I had to chase Bitty Girl, so I made him come in. He could sit in his Dad's office, which is in the gym (hence the P.E. Teacher thing). He got a little upset, but seemed to calm down.

One visit to the bookfair should have given us our first. Big. Clue. He was overwhelmed with all the big kids, too many books, and of course gravitated toward the awful Spiderman or Transformers comic-book/magazine type things, instead of all the perfectly wonderful books there. We left the Bookfair without buying a book, and headed for the gym to get in line for pancakes.

Dinner part was fairly uneventful, except for the Bitty Girl problem. She didn't want to eat, didn't want to sit on my lap, wanted to reach across the table and hug/maul the 6 month old baby of the school counselor, wanted Daddy to hold her, was tired, etc. The Boy was actually pretty good, entertained with the person dressed up in a Clifford the Big Red Dog costume, although he got a little rough and pulled Clifford's tail a couple of times.

So what do we do? WE GO BACK TO THE BOOKFAIR. Like complete numbskulls. Like someone just dropped this kid in our laps and we have no idea about his personality or about parenting. What happened to the "quit while you're ahead" or "cut your losses" mentality? Dad took him first, and I followed with Bitty Girl.

Upon arrival, I see Dad having trouble with the "wanting weird comic book Pokemon" thing, so he took Bitty Girl and I took over with the book issue. Instead of just buying him the dumb $4.00 Transformer book that he wanted, and would be guaranteed to provide me with hours of mind-numbing bedtime stories, I decided to take this one to the mattresses. I said I wouldn't spend my money on those books, but he could use his allowance for them. Five minutes of whining and whispered, angry arguing later, I dragged him out. He was starting to kick and fuss, but escalated down the hall, and outside erupted into the hitting, kicking, spitting fury that we haven't seen much lately. Last year at this time, I think we saw a lot of it. We never learn.

Somehow, he calmed down enough to get in the car. We sent Bitty Girl home in Dad's car, for her own personal safety. I managed to take some deep breaths, get him to ride home quietly, and defuse some of the anger--for both of us.

We didn't really discuss things when we got home, both kids were hungry (unfortunate after a Pancake Dinner!) but he knew it was time for pajamas and a story. Bedtime was fairly smooth, I managed to keep myself calm, and he went to sleep fine.

What I am practically too exhausted to reflect upon is this: I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING! It was Textbook Boy Behavior, and I am just stupid. First of all, we shouldn't have gone to the dinner. Or I should have dropped him off and let Dad deal with him. Less Mama Drama, less Bitty Girl factor. And second, we should have either avoided the Bookfair entirely, or told him we weren't buying books FROM THE START, and that he could use his allowance for anything he wanted.

I feel frustrated because I get so angry and embarrassed at his tantrum. It's at his Dad's school, for crying out loud! And then I feel terrible that he gets so upset, because it's scary to be out of control like that. And then I feel like an idiot mama for not seeing it coming, and for setting the appropriate expectations.

Sigh. To quote one of my favorite kids' books, the type of book I was TRYING to encourage him to get, (Lily's Purple Plastic Purse), "Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better."

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