For some reason, blog posts almost always generate a song in my head. This one is from the Third Day song “Come Together”.
We had a crazy night last night. It was short-lived craziness, but crazy nonetheless. I feel compelled to write about it because of the way Jeff and I handled it.
Being a new parent is a daunting task. Not only has your marriage completely changed and redefined itself, but you’re both also trying to figure out what in the world to do with each seperate issue that comes up with this new little person. With the first child, I think that these things continue to come up throughout each stage of their lives. What do we do about scheduling? How do we get him to sleep? Why is he crying so much? to… How do we keep him off of the fireplace? How much tv should we let him watch? Who should we allow to keep him? to… Why is he screaming on the floor? What should we do for punishment? Why in the HELL HECK won’t he poop in the potty? It continues.
I have to admit that I’m a planning control freak give us props and say that we did talk a lot about a lot of issues ahead of time. There were so many things that we were prepared to handle when they came up. We had our “playbook” down pat for the first 2 years. Now, things are changing. This whole discipline thing is starting to get the best of me. More than ever, we have to make sure we’re on the same page.
Anyway…back to the crazy night.
We ate dinner at Co.rona’s after church last night. I notice Carter is acting a little punchy coo-coo on the way over. I don’t know how to explain “punchy coo-coo” other than to say it’s how my son acts when he is reaching the point of exhaustion. Some behavior examples in this transitional stage from okness to total meltdown are: baby talk, shutting his eyes when you speak to him, kicking his feet and other mildly annoying toddler things. So, I’m mentally preparing myself for what may be coming in front of about 30 of my closest friends from church and my MIL.
We sit down to chips and salsa. Carter dips into the spicy stuff. It’s hot. He’s “got fire in his mouth”(his words) and there are no drinks yet. MIL offers to go to the car to get his bag. I’m certain he can wait a minute on the bevs to come, but I can see on her face that she thinks he’s in dire need of a drink. She gets him a bottle of water from the car. He takes a sip, sits it on the table then knocks it over with his menu. Deep breath. Clean it up.
Time passes. Orders are taken. Carter decides to get out of his seat. Just so you know, that’s a no-no. During a meal, you stay in your seat. I tell him to get back in his seat. I get that stare. The one that 2 year-olds master. It’s a stare of defiance and of stone-cold resolve to NOT do what you are asking. So I play my cards. “Carter, get back in your chair right now or you are going to have to sit in a high-chair.” Same stare. Follow through coming. I go get the highchair and put him in it. I’m feeling the stares from my MIL. Hers is different. Hers is the I-can’t-believe-you’re-going-to-do-that-to-that-sweet-boy-you-evil-mommy stare.
(On a side note: there are two types of people I hate to discipline in front of–good friends and family. Hmm…I think that just about leaves me at home.)
He’s in the high chair. He’s starting to cry. We move on. Then, a few minutes later I offer him a chip and he hits me. No amount of “Stop” and “I don’t like that” is affecting him. Jeff and I change places. Things are good for a while. Carter gets sleepier. He rubs his eyes. He rubs and rubs and rubs his eyes. He rubs them some more. He wiggles. He lays over. He kicks. He cries. He rubs his eyes some more. He cries louder. Jeff moves him away from the table. He rubs his eyes. He cries. Jeff brings him back to the table and takes him out and holds him. MIL asks if she can help. Jeff says no. He cries louder. MIL asks if she can walk him around. Jeff says no, but not so nice this time. He cries and kicks and wiggles. MIL asks me if she can take him home since she’s done with her meal. I say ask Jeff. She asks Jeff. Jeff says no along with some other comments that did not make the blog cut. MIL leaves. I finish eating. Jeff lets me take Carter.
We go to the bathroom and wash his face, eyes and hands, but he’s still rubbing them. I take him outside to cool him down to give the other guests relief of the screaming and I literally have to hold his hands away from his face. More crying and fighting. Jeff comes outside after he’s done and takes Carter so I can go in and pay. I give him the lowdown and hand him off. He puts him in the car and pulls up beside the door to get me.
On the way home we talk and give little sad laughs about how the night went. I ask if he told anyone goodbye. No. We laughed. But what struck me, what gave me a warm feeling on the inside, was the way that we DID NOT argue with each other. We DID NOT take out any frustrations on each other. We did not look to the other expecting them to fix it or have all the answers. There was a definite feeling of “we’re in this together”. After it was all over, we could still smile.