Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adventures with a toddler in public

We have had our share of embarrassing moments with Olivia around strangers in public.  Spilled drinks, screaming, kicking, hitting, weird sounds and yelling... etc. A couple of incidents this week have have me in a sharing mood so I think I will.  Some of these are funny and some make me imagine a total stranger dying a slow and satisfying death.

A few months ago I thought Olivia had gained enough self control to go to story time at our public library.  I was very wrong.   All of the mothers were sitting on chairs in the back while their well-behaved children sat in a group on the floor.  In the front of the room was the librarian on a chair, reading a story.  I quietly found a spot on the floor with Olivia and gave her a snack to keep her from wandering.  She swallowed the contents of her raisin box in one gulp and then decided she couldn't see the pictures in the book the librarian was holding and felt that she should stand directly in front of the book so that none of the other kids could see.  I tried to discreetly persuade her to come sit back down and pulled gently on her shirt to avoid a scene, but she wouldn't budge.  The kids started to complain and the librarian announced loudly "It's okay kids, some children are just not ready to come to story time" and looked pointedly at me.  I could feel the eyes of the kids and their mothers boring in the the back of my head and my face turned bright red.  I picked Olivia up, she started kicking and screaming, smacked me across the face in front of the whole group, and I wrestled her out the door while everyone watched.

This story has just recently become funny instead of horrific: Last summer I took a weekend to potty train Olivia.  It was a rough weekend and by Monday I was ready to get out of the house.  Jack and I decided a short trip to Costco would be fine.  Olivia had been holding her pee for hours but I could not make her go for anything.  Finally we just loaded her in the car, thinking if she has held it this long, what is another half-hour?  We quickly did our shopping, put her in the cart, checked out, and got in line to leave (for those of you who don't shop at Costco, you have to have your receipt checked on your way out the door so a bit of a line forms when you are leaving).  The line was pretty closely packed and I guess Liv's little bladder just couldn't hold it anymore, because that's the moment she chose to let loose.  It was like a mini Niagara.  Somehow it ended up all over the shoes of a man next to us and there was a huge puddle on the floor.  The man was understandably grossed-out, Jack was understandably mortified, and I was conveniently a few feet away getting a soda and pretended I didn't know them.  Just kidding...sort of.

Yesterday Jack took both girls to McDonald's so Olivia could play on the play place and I could get some things done at home.  She had to go to the bathroom, but when Jack took her in, there was a man in the stall doing long-term business (seriously who does that at McDonald's?  GO HOME and poop!  You're a grown man!)  Olivia started throwing one of her high-pitched tantrums and the guy came out plugging his ears and giving Jack a dirty look.  Liv wouldn't go potty, kept screaming, and when Jack finally hauled both girls out of the bathroom tons of people out at the tables were looking their way and plugging their ears.  This story made me so mad.  Seriously people?  Do you all have perfect children who never scream?

This next story is the real zinger though..  Another Costco visit.  This was just last week.  We were walking in, Olivia ran ahead and in front of some middle-aged lady pushing her cart out.  This woman screamed at Olivia "Get out of my gosh darned way!"  ...except she didn't say gosh darned.  She screamed swear words at my kid.  Jack and a couple of other dads near him stared and the lady and I wanted to tear her limb-from-limb.  Yes, that really happened.  I had to tell myself that she was in a bad mood because her husband had just died and that she had never been able to have kids so she didn't know what it was like.  After telling myself this little story, I was able to stop Jack from going out to find her and give her a piece of his mind.

The other day we took the girls to Culver's for ice cream.  Jack carried Liv up to the register.  "I want ice cream." she said to the kid behind the counter, he smiled and told her okay and then Jack proceeded with the rest of the order.  Olivia leaned in closer, "ICE cream" she said, very slowly, as if he hadn't heard her the first time.  This happened about four more times, with Olivia speaking more and more loudly and clearly, like the kid was deaf and wasn't getting it.  It was pretty embarrassing and super funny.  I guess she thought he would hand it right over, and when he didn't she needed to keep reminding him.

Aaaaand today's story:  Olivia loves to play "Sharp Tooth" with her dad.  Sharp Tooth is the name of the T Rex on the Land Before Time.  She and Jack chase each other around, growling and snarling.  Berlin thinks this is the funniest game and always laughs as she watches them.  Today we were shopping at Walmart and Berlin had the biggest blow-out in history.  I'm sure people could smell it, because they kept looking at her as we wheeled past.  Berlin also started noticing people looking at her, and thought it was the perfect opportunity to start growling at them like Sharp Tooth.  She probably seemed like she was raised by wolves, this dirty little snarling baby.

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