Yesterday we went to the beach and that was a lot of fun, but like any trip out like this it tires them out, yesterday was no exception! As you may well know a tired child is a grumpy, emotional wreck, they get riled up about lots of little things, this could be natures payback for when Mummy is tired 90% of the time.
So we had to step out again in the afternoon to get ingredients for dinner, upon arriving there Master 10 was complaining that he didn’t want to be there, can he stay in the car, his socks were itchy, he wanted to go home, he needed to go to the toilet, he had tears welling up in his eyes towards the end of the barrage of questions and complaints. Yep, he was tired, and it was the first clue that this was the start of a fun shopping trip.
We got inside the shopping centre and Master 2 decided he wanted to walk, but not with us. He kept running off to look at anything and everything so I gave him his warnings and on the third I picked him up and carried him the rest of the way. He spent that two minute walk to the supermarket kicking his legs and screaming.
When we got to the trolley bay I thought I would give him one more chance, I put him down and warned him that if he runs away that he would have to sit in the trolley. He responded with “Otay.” I then wrestled with the trolleys, trying to find one which doesn’t veer off in any direction but forward. I found a half suitable trolley and we all headed in. Again, Master 2 was running off and on his third warning I picked him up and told him he was going into the trolley for running away. I then proceeded to wrestle with him for another minute while trying to get him into the seat, legs spread, feet on the sides of the trolley, more screaming, I just desperately wanted his legs to go into the damn holes at the front!! Master 7 and 10 then grabbed a leg each and pulled them through. I held this wiggly screaming mess down as I fumbled with the safety strap and belted him in so he wouldn’t fall (or jump) out. I didn’t think it was possible for him to scream any louder than he already had been on the way there, but he certainly had some reserves left, and he used them all up over the next five minutes. Some strangers looked and laughed, others avoided looking in our direction. This display of crazy was the first I had encountered from this child, and I just had to keep walking so we could get our shit and go home!
Towards the end of the shopping trip Master 7 took off. I just turned around and he was gone! I told Master 10 to go and find him, he returned and said he looked in the lolly section but he wasn’t there, I told him to go look through all of the aisles. When they both returned I told Master 7 that he knew the rules, they can walk away but they have to stay in my aisle. He was now not allowed to get a lolly at the end of the shop today. He looked at me, his face read, tears in his eyes and yelled with a passion I hadn’t seen from him before, the words
“I HATE YOU!!”
I was taken aback! It must have looked like I got a slap in the face because that just blew my mind! This was the first time any of my children had ever said that, or anything even close, to me! I thought I still had at least four years to go before I would hear it and I was totally unprepared for it. I paused for a minute and said,
“You know you’re not supposed to run off so that’s your problem buddy! You know how it goes.”
As I ran down the last couple of aisles with that phrase running through my mind I thought back through the day. At the beach I spent all of my time watching Master 2, making sure this vulnerable little toddler didn’t get taken by the waves, and watching Master 10, making sure the little dare devil wasn’t taking any huge risks with the waves. Master 7 would just sit in one spot and wait, or he would run away from the big ones. And the whole shopping trip had been mostly all about Master 2’s tantrums and a little bit about Master 10’s emotional questions and complaints and I realised, almost all of my attention had been on the other two children, Mr Middle Child may as well have been invisible, I gathered he was acting out because he was tired and he wasn’t getting the attention he needed, a double whammy for him!!
When we got home I explained to him that saying “I hate you” is not a nice thing to say, especially to family, that I understand he was very tired and feeling left out but his words still hurt my feelings. He nodded, gave me a cuddle and said,
“I’m really sorry Mum, I wont do it again.”
So we ate dinner and I sent the children to bed early – Billy Badass included. Hopefully they get a good nights sleep, and I will continue to live by the mantra ‘Tomorrow is a new day’.