It’s growing later with each passing moment and I am trying to get through what I fondly refer to as the Armageddon of our day (a.k.a. – late day/early evening with small children). This is the time in our day when we are still far enough (too far!) away from bedtime that monotony and anarchy have set in. This is also the time in our day that we wait for Mad Dog to come home.
After dinner I tried to mix things up. We have this red, push car with a long blue handle that T.Puzzle likes to ride in. I asked Full Speed if he would be willing to help me push his little brother in it on a walk. I told him not to give me any nonsense (bad attitude, pouting). Full Speed is kind of difficult to keep focused on a walk. It’s because we are not moving a hundred miles an hour so he quickly loses interest. T.Puzzle on the other hand has a little more of what I like to call the-stop-and-smell-the-roses temperament but because he is currently so tantrum-prone, he is difficult on walks for other reasons.
I knew the odds were stacked against me. It was such a beautiful evening, I couldn’t justify staying indoors and since parks and the like are still out of the question as Full Speed recovers from his surgery, a walk was my best option.
We get to the garage and Full Speed climbs in and demands that T.Puzzle push him. I thought T.Puzzle would have none of it. Somehow he manages to think it’s cool to push his big brother. I, on the other hand, think it is ridiculous that a two year old has to push his four year old brother around in a babyish toy. I also think it’s fitting because Full Speed is clearly the dominating force in their relationship (although T.Puzzle has recently begun to hold his own and he can taunt with the best of them).
We head to the sidewalk and while T.Puzzle is strong enough to push Full Speed, he isn’t strong enough to maintain control over the ‘vehicle’. Periodically I am forced to grab the handle and line it back up on the sidewalk. This makes T.Puzzle beyond angry. “No, Mommy! I do it! I do it!” He says this over and over again.
I keep thinking, no you can’t kid but don’t say anything and put up with his persistent, defiant spouting. At some point in this walk, Full Speed decides he would like a turn to push. T.Puzzle wants nothing to do with it. Eventually after two very serious threats from me topped off with time-outs and meltdowns, he acquiesces. Of course he cries almost the entire time Full Speed pushes him.
We get to the end of the sidewalk and I say it’s time to turn around. The boys switch again and T.Puzzle cries because he wants to continue on down to the main path. Since I had already had enough of a showdown with him, I am forced to negotiate with Full Speed to continue on to the main road for a bit. At this point Full Speed is beyond bored (the devil’s playground and all that) and he doesn’t care if that’s what T.Puzzle wants. Eventually, he agrees but he is angry about it. We cross the main, busy street and start on the big path and the whole time T.Puzzle is swerving the car and getting angry every time I correct. I am having a GREAT time.
We are pretty far from home at this point. I tell T.Puzzle we are going up to the next cross street and then we will turn around. He says “NO!” He sits down and refuses to move. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me in the past. Mid-walk someone refuses to budge, I am far from home and I am completely out of luck.
I made Full Speed get out of the car, placed a more than unwillingly T.Puzzle in his place, grabbed Full Speed’s hand with my free hand and began to run as fast as I could. My plan was that if I went fast enough, T.Puzzle would be too scared to continue to defy me because he would need to hold on for dear life.
It worked. I got an extra interval of exercise in (which is always a plus) while T.Puzzle screamed and cried the whole way back. We made it home and I learned my lesson. Next time, I’m sending them out with the nanny (damn! that’s right, I am the nanny. I keep blocking that out). I am grossly underpaid.