I was “that mom” this morning. I was the mom in the Daycare parking lot trying to teach her kid a lesson.
You see, Lee has this new thing that he likes to do… not listen to me in public. Like this morning, when I got him out of his carseat, I told him to stand beside me and keep his left hand on my car. “Don’t let go,” I reminded him. And, normally, he doesn’t. But today, today he did. And he got far enough away from me fast enough that I couldn’t snatch him.
And I don’t know how feeling panicked affects most people, but for me, I remain calm, but I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. Pounding. Though he was headed towards the Daycare and was almost to the door, he hadn’t listened to me.
With Evie on my hip I walked quickly to him and crouched in front of him, so that we were on the same level. “Hold my hand, and come back to the car now. We’re going to try that again,” I told him.
“But I wanna play with my friends,” he replied.
I repeated myself. Calmly and slowly.
He hung his head and reached for my hand. We went back to the car and I put them both back in their seats (luckily, Evie was in an agreeable mood). Once in my seat, I turned to Lee and asked if he was ready to try again. “Yes ma’am,” he answered quietly.
I got out and came around to his seat. Unbuckled him. Put him down beside me. He held my hand and we walked around to Evie’s seat. He put his hand on my car and looked up at me. I was in the midst of unbuckling Evie when one of Lee’s friends came running towards us, wanting a hug from Lee. He let go of the car and went to her, giving her a hug. I watched him hug her, smiled at her Mom, and once they walked away, turned to Lee.
“Back in your seat, let’s go,” I told him.
He climbed in through the door I was holding open, ducked under Evie’s seat, and got back into his seat. I shut Evie’s door and went back around to the passenger side where he was sitting in his seat and opened the door.
And we tried it again.
This time he stood beside me with his hand on my car the entire time I was getting Evie out. I handed him her bottle bag and then I shut her door. He reached up to grab my hand and I took it. We walked into Daycare together.
***Here’s a logical question: Why don’t you get Evie out first? Answer: I can’t unbuckle Lee’s seat with one hand.
I need him to listen to me. He has to listen to me. What if we had been in the grocery store parking lot? What if we had been literally anywhere else? I would like to think that I am a pretty easygoing parent. For the most part, I go with the flow. But I can’t keep him safe if he won’t do what I say.
My Dad is retired Army and he would make us do things over and over again until we got them right. At the time, it was obnoxious. Especially if you weren’t the one messing up and it was a sibling. But now, looking back on it, I get it. I see where he was coming from.
The second time I made Lee get back in the car, I’ll admit, I was unsure of myself. He was just being his normal, sweet self, hugging a friend. But I was trying to make a point to him.
When I got to work, I reached back and grabbed my purse from the backseat. It had been in the middle of the seat, between the two carseats. Once at work, I set it down on my desk, and this is what I saw.
A green truck and a plastic toy golf ball. Every once in a while, Lee puts things in my purse for me to find. And after doubting myself and thinking I was being a bit too hard on him, seeing this put a smile on my face.
Sure, he might have dropped them in there before the incident occurred. But, then again, he might not have.