This is the dilemma. Do you wait until your child can properly behave themselves in public (which could take years) to venture from your home or do you never, ever leave your house? This has been my plight since Full Speed was aggressively mobile (at about seven months of age). I have always been on the side of pushing forward and attempting to be social and expose my boys to world experiences. However, when I’m in the middle of one such experience, I often wish I had just stayed home.
I took T.Puzzle to the library for story time this morning. In the past I’ve had both boys with me and the result was often disastrous. I hoped that since I was playing him man-to-man, it would be tolerable and holding out all hope, enjoyable.
Summer is the last time I went to story time at the library. The memories of social hierarchy come back to me in a rush as soon as the first clique-ish group of Moms walk through the door. My stomach does an unpleasant back flip as I realize that high school is never really over. I hate clique-y Moms. I’ve been a Mom long enough now that I don’t even pretend to try to talk to them. Life is easier that way.
T.Puzzle is hyper (I know, it’s like saying T.Puzzle is breathing). I think he senses that the more embarrassing he acts, the more anxiety it produces in his Mom. He must think that’s cool because he is very out of control. At one point he begins to make spitting noises. I lean down and say, “You spit again and we leave.” Story time was not going well.
He was not acting like himself. He was kind of clingy, wasn’t dancing or clapping (which at home is totally his thing) and he kept telling me to stop singing (which was getting on my last nerve). He looks at me thoughtfully and spits. He clearly wants to leave. He even tugs on my shirt and confesses, “I spit, Mommy. I go home.”
Another dilemma. I am always extremely conscious about what I say to the boys. If a threat escapes my lips, I am fully prepared to back it up. I want my words to have weight. I want them to know when I speak, it’s the truth and that I am consistent. If they don’t learn to respect my words now, what am I going to do when they are fifteen and seventeen respectively and are a head taller than me (fingers crossed Full Speed) and weigh more than me (fingers crossed me!)?
Ultimately, we didn’t go home. I felt T.Puzzle was playing the system and being sneaky to get what he wanted. We plundered through the remaining five minutes of songs and stories. This whole time I imagine staying in our house this morning might have been the right choice.
However, that’s not how I roll. You can defy me, you can act a fool and you can spit at me, but dammit, we are getting out there and we are going to live life. Some Moms may pretend we don’t exist, and yet other Moms will feel validated that they aren’t the only ones with devilish offspring. It matters not. We will always leave the safety (and boredom) of our house and someday, I hope manners and good grace find us. Until then, have compassion if you see us in public. I apologize in advance.