When I do something, I go all out. And this includes when I throw screaming tantrums…in front of my preschooler…in public.
Obviously, I felt like an idiot afterward. Here’s my story:
Sunday night, me and Mr. T were exhausted after a dog-show weekend, but I made a special trip to the store to get a new tube for my bike. I gave up on the old tube as it had this lame valve I could never figure out and couldn’t use with Mr. T’s fancy air compressor thing, and it just kept going flat, and for 8 bucks I was ready to be done with it. Again, my run-on skills amaze! While there, I remembered that my son, almost 4, had outgrown his old bike helmet over the
long godforsaken Seattle winter months when we were trapped indoors.
We’d already been to the store once that night, but I didn’t know what size tube I needed, and I hadn’t remembered that my kid’s giant melon didn’t fit in his old helmet. He’d liked the Batman one, though, so on my second trip, I grabbed the 5+ size for him. Plus, my tire tube. Plus, a rearview mirror for when I take him along and need to see what he’s doing behind me in the bike trailer. I didn’t know if he’d want to go on a bike ride with me on Monday or not, but I wanted to be ready.
Good thing I got it, since he was extremely enthusiastic about going in the bike trailer when I asked (mostly because he could watch a movie on the portable DVD player, but us moms take what we can get, okay?). I was feeling like a GOOD MOM taking him with me instead of dropping him off at day care so I could get in a workout.
So, anyway, do you know how long it takes one mother and one child to get ready to go on a bike ride?
FOREVER in mom-time. Which is basically about 1 to 1-1/2 hours in real-time. The task of getting the child dressed can alone knock you off course enough to decide to forgo the bike ride completely. But I marched on. Determined. I will exercise today. Nothing, not even a stalling preschooler will stop me.
Then there’s the matter of getting yourself ready, which you do in spurts because you have 10 minutes between when you put your kid’s clothes on and when he will finish getting his Velcro-strap shoes on. Yes, “I CAN DO IT MYSELF,” is a common theme at my house right now. I wish the “I CAN DO IT MYSELF SUPER FAST” theme was popular, but alas, it is not.
Anyway, then I had to get a snack and water ready for him, grab something for me to drink and eat post-ride since breakfast, which seemed like it just happened, was hours before. Then there was the decision about what movie to take. Luckily, we’d purchased The Muppets on Store Trip #1 on Sunday, and that would suffice because Go, Diego, Go got left in the motorhome. I do NOT know how that happened. Weird.
Oh yeah, then I had to load up the bike trailer and the bike in the back of the minivan while convincing a now-crying child that No, I’m not leaving. I’m just putting stuff in the car. Finally, I could load my child. Then I had to make several trips back into the house and/or garage to gather/check last-minute things: like a blanket for him, my water I inadvertently left inside, check to make sure the front door was locked, etc.
The trail where we ride the bike with the bike trailer is about a 20-minute drive. To be fair, most things are 20-30 minutes from where I lived. It’s not that big of a deal. There are closer places to park on the Cedar River Trail, but there’s the downhill/uphill situation to contend with, and I’d rather be going downhill on the second half of my ride. Especially when I am pulling a 30-pound kid in a 40 to 50-pound bike trailer. Yeah.
Despite the number of hours it took to get ready, T Junior and I were both in a silly mood, joking around and being goofy in the car.
We got to the parking lot along the trail. I let T Junior out so he could run around the deserted basketball court, which was dotted with puddles. I begged him not too splash in them since I knew there would be much complaining about wet socks, etc., if he did. He was a good boy and just ran around and got some of that preschooler energy out while I got out the bike and the trailer, and hooked them up. Then I got my headphones ready (I wear a single bud sometimes and since I’d planned on riding for about an hour, I knew I’d need some tunes), sunglasses, T Junior’s snacks, qued up his movie, ate a piece of my Clif Bar because I was starving, then called T Junior to come get in the trailer. Only 11:30! Making good time!
I put T Junior in the trailer then turned around to the minivan to get his helmet…except it wasn’t in the front seat. Don’t panic, maybe it’s in the back seat. It wasn’t in the back seat! Don’t panic, maybe it’s in the way back. It wasn’t in the way back!
My brain raced. I remember picking it up. I had the thing in my hand. Where is it? I tore through the car with no luck. Then I just started yelling. WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS THE BIKE HELMET?
There was one other person in the parking lot getting ready for a bike ride. I did not care if he could hear me yelling or not. T Junior asked me what was wrong. I CAN’T FIND YOUR BIKE HELMET, THAT’S WHAT’S WRONG. NOW WE CAN”T GO FOR A BIKE RIDE. WHERE IS IT? I HAD IT IN MY HAND. I REMEMBER!
I sat down on the back bumper of the minivan with my face in my hands, wanting to cry, but too mad at myself to get any tears to come out.
“Don’t cry, Mommy.”
You think that little plea would’ve melted my heart, but instead I stood up, tore through the minivan one more time, then yelled about it some more. To my credit, I at least, told poor T Junior I was not mad at him and I was only mad at myself. It was not his fault. But I’m sure he sustained some emotional damage from this experience. Someday, he’ll get a D on a book report and then he’ll tell me it was all because of the day I left his bike helmet at home and yelled about it.
With my heart angry-beating, I put T Junior back in his carseat, unhooked the bike trailer and bike, and put them back in the minivan. Then I drove 20 minutes home to get the damn helmet. Determined. I will exercise today. Nothing, not even a missing helmet will stop me.
What finally calmed me down was during that drive. It was when T Junior asked to go to day care instead of on the bike ride. “Do you want to go there instead because Mommy is yelling?” I asked, already knowing the answer. I felt awful. Still do. Makes me want to cry writing it here. I promised him I wouldn’t yell anymore, and then reminded him that I was yelling at myself because I made a mistake and I was mad at me. After I promised that, he said he still wanted to go on a bike ride, which made me feel slightly less like pond scum. So that’s a plus.
Back at home, I retrieved the helmet (which was sitting on the kitchen counter!), and made T Junior a just-requested peanut butter and honey sandwich since it was now almost noon (which he never ate, by the way). Then, back to the park. Setting things up for the ride was much quicker the second time around.
After this happened, I was reminded why I like running so much better. Less equipment to forget!
The bike ride was actually uneventful — I only had to stop 3 times to see what T Junior wanted. That’s pretty good for what ended up being over 9 miles and about 55 minutes long. I took him to the park to play afterward. He deserved to be rewarded for not throwing any tantrums.
I, on the other hand, should’ve been put in time out.
Have you ever thrown a mommy tantrum? Please say you have and make me feel better. What’s your story? If you don’t have kids, have you ever thrown a wife or girlfriend tantrum? (These are way worse in my experience as they are usually uncensored and include unlimited swear words. Just ask Mr. T.)