Saturday, May 1, 2010

A not so perfect day for a walk

I threw my hands in the air today and said, “You win some. You lose some”. Today I lost.  On a regular basis we take walks with our good friends up the street.  We have it down to a routine and when Kristen gets home from work we (gently) toss the kids into the wagon or their perspective strollers and head out to stretch our legs.  Some days we stop at a park, but most days we just walk to walk.  It’s the end of the day for all of us.  If you are a parent you know the hour.  I like to call it the “witching hour”—where its too early to eat dinner and too late to have a snack. I am sure if a doctor did a study on my kids during this “witching hour” they would find a dramatic drop in blood sugar coupled with the fatigue from the end of the day. This only leads to a recipe for disaster.

But like every other hour in the day, we plug along, hoping time will pass quickly enough and we will survive the brutal hour that is upon us.

Thursday proved to be a difficult task, a real difficult task for Mallory and I to survive our terrible hour.  It started off with a tired 4 year old who was still recovering from her fun mini-vacation.  Coupled with a mom who was trying to kick a spring cold, we were no match for ourselves.  Mallory was given the choice of the double stroller or her bike before we left and she (hands down) chose her bike.  Fantastic.  The younger girls (think 15 and almost 9) rode in the wagon.  We weren’t even down our driveway when the first meltdown took place. “I don’t wannna ride my biiikee.  I wanna ride in the waaagooon.”  Oh geez. I thought to myself. This trip might not go so well.  I calmed her down.  We told her there was a park at the end of the walk.  We told her that it was a mostly flat trip on her bike and we were off.  A few minor ups and downs and whines along the way and I commented to Kristen that having a four year old is a whole new ball game.  We made it to the park.  Pfeww.

Three minutes into our playtime at the park and Mallory says to me “Mommy, I have to go potty!”  With a quick scan of the park grounds, no luck there was not a bathroom to be found.  There was a fire station a 1/2 a block away and a lot of bushes around.  Initially I told her we would have to go home.  Stomping her feet in protest, she did not want to go home.  She ran off to play.

I think this is where Kristen said to me “Can she usually hold it or do we need to go?”

A few minutes (and I am talking maybe 2) she came up to me and said she had to go potty.  I told her we could go try the fire station and see if they had a bathroom we could use.  She was not having this idea either.  In fact I think she screamed NO.  She was scared of the trucks, scared of the men, whatever it was she was not having the fire station potty break.  So off she went to play. 

45 seconds later she came up to me crying that she peed her pants.  Instantly, I felt terrible.  Why didn’t I just pick her up and take her to the fire station to use that bathroom?  Mallory has had just a handful of accidents in her entire potty training process and the last one was over a year ago. 

When I told her we had to go home, she screamed and cried.  When I told her she had to ride her bike home, she screamed and cried. We were about a mile from home and carrying her bike home, was not an option.  She continued on for what seemed like an eternity, at one point she even tried to pull her helmet off of her head.  She didn’t want to get her seat dirty, she didn’t want to sit in wet pants, the poor girl was so embarrassed and she just wanted to make it all go away. Now.  I got her (sort of) calmed down and she was able to, slowly, ride her bike home.  She cried for over 1/2 of the trip and then I told her it was time to stop the crying and peddle on.    What looked like a typical preschool meltdown to everyone around us, truly was a little girl that was so incredibly embarrassed. When we got home I talked to her for a few minutes about what went on at the park. I told her that it was part my fault for not making her go to the bathroom at the fire station and it was part her fault for throwing a fit when I gave her the option of using the station to go potty.  And like the Mallory I have always known, she looked at me and said “Yeah mommy, I really should have known that my potty wasn’t going to stay inside.  Next time I have to go, I will go where you tell me.” 

My kids are not perfect. My parenting decisions are not always spot-on either.  This was just a daily dose reminding me that we are all human and we all make mistakes…

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