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Monday, March 15, 2010

Adventures in parenting...at WalMart

Brent was going to work at a trail on Saturday and Samantha was NOT happy about his leaving. So I had the brilliant idea that she, Jacob and I would all leave at the same time that Brent left, in an effort to prevent a meltdown.

It was working fine. She was happy about going to the store and got dressed without any problems or fussing. But then Jacob got hungry...so I started feeding him. In the middle of his feeding, Brent was ready to leave. In fact, he was running late. So I stopped feeding Jacob and figured I would just continue feeding him once we got to the store.

That was working fine, too. Jacob didn't fuss at all when I put him in his car seat. He stayed happy all the way to WalMart. He was still OK when we went into the store. Samantha was doing a great job of staying with the shopping cart. That's the deal. If she wants to walk, she has to stay right beside the shopping cart or help me push the shopping cart.

We went into the garden center and she helped me choose flowers to plant in our flower beds. She didn't even get too upset when I put the flowers underneath the shopping cart rather than letting her carry them. And she quickly got over being upset.

We came back inside and I put Jacob in the sling and started feeding him. All was still well. Samantha was helping me push the shopping cart and find the things we needed in the pharmacy area.

Then we got to the toy department. Things started going downhill. She wanted to "look" at all the toys. I was OK with that and slowed down a little for her. But then she refused to keep up with me at all. I told her that she needed to come help me push the shopping cart. She said, "No, Mommy. I playing." I told her, "I see that you are playing, but now it is time to stop playing and go to a different part of the store." She refused again. I told her that she could help me push the shopping cart or she would have to ride inside the shopping cart. She didn't budge.

I stopped feeding Jacob and readjusted him in the sling so that he would still be safe while I picked Samantha up to put her in the shopping cart. I gave her one last chance to help me push the shopping cart, but she refused again.

I picked her up and she started yelling and crying. As I went to put her inside the shopping cart, she started flailing and arching her back. I sat her down in the shopping cart and she immediately stood up, still screaming and crying at the top of her lungs.

I told her that she needed to sit down inside the shopping cart to be safe and she refused. I made sure that the shopping cart was smack dab in the middle of the aisle so that she couldn't reach any of the toys on the shelves and I turned my back. (Well actually, I just turned to the side, so that it would seem that I was looking at the toys rather than paying attention to her, but I could still see her and was within arms reach so that I could catch her if she started to fall.)

She continued screaming and I told her that we would not be able to move anywhere until she was sitting down. The she started screaming "NEED POTTY, MOMMY!!" with sobbing still throughout. I calmly told her that when she sat down and stopped having a fit, I would be able to take her to the potty. She kept screaming, and I kept acting like I wasn't paying any attention.

People were staring as they walked by. And I kept acting like I wasn't paying any attention. Every once in a while I would remind her that when she sat down and stopped having a fit, I could take her to the potty. Finally, after every person in the store had heard her screaming, she sat down and in a sweet voice, with no screaming or crying whatsoever, asked me for juice and goldfish.

I immediately gave them to her and thanked her for asking me nicely. I said that we could go to the potty now since she was sitting down and it was now safe to move the shopping cart. She said, "OK, Mommy," in a very sweet little voice.

As we walked toward the back of the store, Jacob started crying. So I started trying to feed him again. He wasn't having any of it, and started crying louder and louder. Then I smelled his poopy diaper. That was a LOOOONG trip to the back of the store with me trying to calm him every few seconds.

When we got to the site to store part of the store, where the restrooms are, I told Samantha that we needed to put the goldfish away so that we could go into the restroom. She started screaming "DON'T WANT POTTY, MOMMY!!" and had a fit about me putting the lid on the goldfish.

I told her that she didn't have to go potty but that she did need to come in with me so that I could change Jacob's diaper and then she could have the goldfish back as soon as we were done. It didn't matter. She continued crying and screaming "DON'T WANT POTTY!"

I picked her up out of the shopping cart. Yes, I do know it would have been a LOT easier to just take the shopping cart into the restroom, but we had quite a bit of merchandise that we hadn't paid for yet. So taking the shopping cart in wasn't an option. I set her down on the floor and she immediately laid down and continued crying and screaming. And Jacob was still crying, too. Lovely. I look like I could definitely win mother of the year here.

And then I looked up at the lady waiting to pick up her merchandise. I recognized her face, but just couldn't quite place her. She looked at me. So I told her that she looks very familiar. She replied "Dr Barnett's office." Yep, she was my sonographer through both in vitro processes. I wondered if she was wondering "Why on earth did this woman have children, not once but TWICE since she OBVIOUSLY can't handle them in public?"

Her next statement completely relieved me of that notion, though. Instead, she told me that she remembered having hers about 17 months apart and going through the same thing. Throughout our exchange, Samantha continued to lay on the floor and cry. I finally picked her up and carried her into the bathroom with her still screaming "DON'T WANT POTTY!"

Thankfully, they have a bench inside this restroom, so I set her on the bench, and once again told her that she doesn't have to go potty, but that I do need to change Jacob's diaper. She started sliding down off the bench. I picked her back up and told her that she can lay on the bench but that she CANNOT lay on the floor in the bathroom, b/c it is yucky. She slid back down off the bench but amazingly, she stood on her own two feet this time. She was no longer screaming, but she was still whimpering and crying "Don't want potty." Apparently she wasn't convinced that I meant it when I said she didn't have to go potty.

She calmed down more as I changed Jacob's diaper, and even helped me by throwing his diaper away. She came close to another meltdown when she asked to wash her hands and I gave her the antibacterial gel on her hands. But then she decided that was an OK way to wash after all. Wheeww. Another disaster averted.

I put her back in the shopping cart and she went back to happily eating her goldfish.

Jacob still wasn't happy, though. I sat on the bench by the counter and tried to feed him. He would not latch on and kept on screaming. I have no idea what was wrong. Maybe he was just exhausted because he hadn't had a nap yet that morning. I finally gave up on trying to feed him and held him upright in the sling. He was a little happier that way. I swayed him and bounced a little and he stopped crying. Until I stopped the swaying and bouncing to push the shopping cart.

So I pushed the shopping cart with one hand while doing a swaying, bouncing type walk. I'm sure I looked completely goofy to every person who saw me, but hey, my baby was happier, so what did it matter? And as long as I kept that up, Jacob was fine. But every time I stopped, he started crying again. So every time I stopped walking to get something off the shelf, he cried. And I was having to check labels to find milk and egg free foods for me to eat to help this child who CLEARLY did not appreciate my efforts.

What a supreme effort it took to continue this shopping trip. But I had no choice, because there was NOTHING in the house that I could have for lunch.

FINALLY, we made it to the checkouts. There were long lines everywhere. And I remembered that I had not gotten any yogurt for Samantha. And I decided that I didn't care. Anything that I forgot could wait. I ABSOLUTELY refused to make this trip any longer. We were already coming close to 2 hours. On a trip that should have only taken about 30 minutes.

While we were standing in line, Samantha put down her goldfish to start handing me items to put on the checkout belt. Unfortunately, she set the bowl down sideways, and most of the goldfish fell out onto the floor. And Samantha couldn't understand why I wouldn't give them back to her to eat. Even when I repeated that the floor is yucky. But at least she didn't have a meltdown.

Then Jacob stopped crying as soon as I put him in his car seat to be able to get the bags and pay. Seriously?! That was backwards. We usually have crying when I put him IN the car seat and stop crying when I take him out. But hey. You didn't hear any complaining from me about this. I was just glad that he was happy again.

Samantha wanted more goldfish while we were driving home. Since we didn't have any more, I bribed her to stay happy by asking her if she wanted some french fries. Her answer was a happy "YES!" Another disaster averted. Jacob fell asleep in the car, and Samantha ate her lunch while I unloaded the groceries, so we finished the morning much more like normal.

I learned that I will never take both kids to WalMart by myself again. Actually I might not even be allowed to. They just might tell me that we are no longer allowed in the store. HA! But if (actually, when) I do have to take both of them by myself again, I will NOT interrupt Jacob's feeding before leaving and I will take plenty of bribes snacks to keep Samantha happy in the shopping cart from the get go.

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