children, mommyhood, tantrums

Make It or Break It

We decide to go out to eat. My Dad is in town visiting and he requested a meal of fish. We had an overall successful family outing to Tae Kwon Do so Mad Dog and I felt confident the boys could handle a longer drive to go to a slightly (very slightly) upscale fish market for lunch.

We arrive and everything is going somewhat smoothly. We are seated waiting to order and Full Speed is playing with some hot-wheels cars while little T.Puzzle is coloring.  The boys are full of motion but are being quiet and entertaining themselves. I am taking this moment to attempt to read the menu. My Dad says, “Is he supposed to be coloring on that?”

I look up and see that little T.Puzzle is coloring all over the white linen tablecloth.

“You color on the paper, NOT on the tablecloth!” I say emphasizing my point by dramatically gesturing where and where not he can color.

He looks me squarely in the eye and without dropping a beat, colors on the tablecloth. Now, the waitress is at our table waiting for our order. She sees me lean in and threaten T.Puzzle with edgy vehemence. I realize that I must come across as a scary, intimidating Mom but I power forward. The waitress doesn’t know of T.Puzzle’s recent, defiant behavior and I can’t let the judgment of the world stop my discipline.

Once the order is complete, T.Puzzle again starts in with the tablecloth coloring. I hastily grab his crayons, toss them on the table and yank the kid out of the booth. I tell him he is heading to time-out. As I walk toward the front I grab his legs and heave him up in a disobedient ball. He is yelling and kicking and all the other fine diners are looking at us like he is a complete psychopath. I get him to the front and realize in my haste I left his coat and hat at the table. Normally, in Florida you can bypass the coat and hat but we are in a cold snap. It’s thirty degrees and overcast. He’s been sick so much I realize I’m stuck inside for the duration for what I am certain is going to be a doozy of a tantrum (it reached a level 8). People from the bar were peering at his ruckus, the hostess was politely trying not to make direct eye contact with me and I wanted to throw a tantrum of my own (I was thinking only a level 3 or 4).

Is it just me or am I the only Mom in the throes of a massive power struggle with her child? Full Speed started in on me when he was a year and a half.  T.Puzzle has since picked up the slack when Full Speed finally began to fight me a little bit less. I know my time is coming that every day and every situation won’t be a knock-down, drag-out battle of the wills.

I don’t think I will make it.