I was having a really bad day, one of those parenting days that I look back on and cringe a little. I was sick, I got three hours of sleep that night, I had a lot of work to do, I was feeling weirdly anxious and just not myself. I would have given anything to spend the day resting in bed, but like most moms, I worked through it. Before I knew it, it was 2:30 and time for me to go pick up Landon from school.
It suddenly dawned on me that I had nothing planned for us that afternoon. I did not want to go to the park, pool or play cafe, my usual go to places when we have no plans. I decided I would pick Landon up, and head over to Staples for some much needed office supplies, and then take him out somewhere for an afternoon snack. For whatever reason, he loves Staples and typically runs around pressing all the buttons on the printers and computers. But that day, he wanted nothing to do with it. He kept trying to run out the store doors, and every time I ran after him to bring him back in the store he had a total tantrum. It was as if he knew I NEEDED him to behave and he wanted to test me.
We quickly left. I tried to turn things around and suggested we go to a local bakery I have been wanting to try for weeks. I was told they make amazing gluten free and vegan mini cupcakes. He seemed excited at the idea and off to the bakery we went. I ordered us a couple treats and we sat down to eat. One lick of the frosting and he decided he didn’t want cupcakes. “No like it mommy, NO LIKE IT!” And then came the tears. Again, we quickly left. His behavior totally threw me since he has been so good lately, and let’s just say I barely kept my cool.
When we arrived back home I was feeling even more deflated, but I knew we had 3 more hours to kill until my husband would be home to help! I suggested we make a drawing to bring into school for his teachers the next day. I brought out the art supplies and we started to create. Yet, half way through, he lost interest and ripped up our drawing.
My tired, sick and cranky self left the room and told him (ok, yelled) to stay there in time out. I went to my room to take a moment and try to regain some composure. He, of course, followed after me and I told him I didn’t feel well and I needed a few minutes to lay down and rest. This really annoyed him, “mommy no, mommy come play!” So, we reluctantly and unenthusiastically played until dinner time.
I heated up some left over burritos, a favorite of his, and put some fresh fruit on a plate. When we sat down to eat, he refused to touch it. He refused to sit down, basically he refused to do anything I asked of him. Then came the tears, this time they were mine. As I sat there having my own mini meltdown, he just looked up at me and said, “I love you, feel better!”
It was the sweetest moment ever. A big part of me felt like the worst mom in the world for not realizing he was acting out because he could sense my tension, but a bigger part of me was melting in this sweet, unsolicited moment. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. From then on, the “I love yous” have kept coming. I love you too buddy!