Last night Matthew and I went to the grocery store. We had a few things to pick up.
One of the things I was looking for was packaged fruit salad. Matt has been bringing breakfast to school lately, and really wanted fruit salad. So we hunted for it.
Unfortunately for me the lunch box size fruit salad is in the same aisle as marshmallows and bags of raisins. (just an aside - why would packaged fruit salad not be next to canned fruit salad?)
Marshmallows ("Smarshmallows") and raisins are one of Matt's favourite foods. I sometimes buy them.
Last night I didn't want to. He was already getting a treat when I was buying him the fruit. We'd already had pizza. Enough is enough. Lately I'm realizing I give in a lot, and I'm trying to be firmer about all his whims.
So, when he grabbed a bag of marshmallows off the shelf I said no.
About twenty times.
He freaked out. And I waivered.
Guess what he did? He plopped the bag of marshmallows into the basket and then went to get a bag of raisins. When I said no he proceeded to have a meltdown. Again.
Lesson learned. If I let him get one thing after I say no and he then wins the argument and gets what he wants he will figure out that bad behaviour gets rewarded.
Yes, I have read this a million times. I'd just never realized that a) I was giving in to this and b) he had figured out that screaming wore me down.
So there we were in the middle of the grocery store, me having a lightbulb moment and him screaming at the top of his lungs.
I gave him 2 warnings to stop screaming or we would get neither the raisins nor the marshmallows. His response, of course, was scream louder. I gave him one more warning. More shouting. And then in one swift move I plopped the raisins and marshmallows on the shelf, picked the basket up with one hand and my screaming child up with the other.
It was not my most glorious moment.
I was THAT frazzled mom. The one who can't stop her child's screaming. Who is trying not to scream herself, and who frankly doesn't care that half the store is staring at her.
For a moment I was afraid someone would think I was kidnapping him, but his screams of "You are a MEAN MOMMY. Bad mommy. I wanted Marshmallows and I am maaaaaaaaaaaad at you mommy" probably warded off any worries about that.
And we made it to line. And I paid, impressively, with a screaming, writhing preschooler in my arms.
When we finished paying I carried him over to the flower department, and I pointed out the helium machine. And, as quickly as the meltdown started it stopped. I put Matthew down. He smiled at me and told me he wasn't mad anymore.
And then he said "but, Mommy, I really wanted the marshmallows and raisins and I was mad that you said no."
I looked him in the eye and said "I'm sorry you were mad, but we don't always get what we want." And, I'm not kidding you, a woman, about my mom's age, walked past me and gave me the thumbs up when she heard me say that.
And suddenly it was all okay.
Matt grabbed my hand and decided we should go home for some raisins and chocolate milk. I agreed.
And, I learned my lesson. I'm not going to give in so often. Really. I'm not.