We were looking forward to a fun date night together, my son and me. His Daddy had plans with the guys, so me and my sidekick had big plans! Not so much for me, but for him. He loves McDonald’s Playland and he needed some new kicks, so out we went on this beautiful May evening.
We headed out to “Wally World,” as I call it for his shoes. You know, get the big thing outta the way. Before heading into the store, I pulled my son to me and told him how it was going to be: “you’ll be riding in a cart,” I said, “so that we can more easily try on your shoes”. The main reason for the cart: to keep him WITH me. I always try to break down the rules for him so he knows what to expect so we don’t have an emotional breakdown once I find a cart to put him in. Once explained, he didn’t like the “rules” but agreed to the plan. I was happy he obliged. Off we headed to the shoe department….
We had just arrived to said aisle when I was quickly trying to locate his size. The boy’s foot grows so quickly that I’m constantly trying to keep him properly fit. That, and the fact that he scuffs the toe. Boys! Out of the blue, he proclaims he has to go potty. I didn’t believe him (we’ve talked consistently about “the boy who cried wolf”) because he’d already gone potty 3 times before we left for the store. He persisted, so I screeched to a hault my shoe size hunt and we made a bee-line to the bathrooms in the back of the store. As soon as I park the cart and explain to him “the rules” before we head in, he jumps out of the cart and makes his fore-planned getaway!
Needless to say, this Momma wasn’t laughing. Once again, my Houdini disappeared. My panic always sets in rather quickly because I never know where he’ll go. Once when he was on a child harness, I was quickly trying on a shoe while standing up (always ready to sprint) he wriggled himself free and as soon as I could get my shoe on, I took off after him. I searched high and low to no avail. No, he wasn’t hiding amidst the clothes on the rack, in the bathroom, or in the toys…much to my horror, he ran out into the parking lot! I was mortified! This was at the height of his “if you come after me, I’m running further in the opposite direction” days. From then on, I knew he had to be in tight reign and threatened within an inch of his life!
No, he didn’t need to go potty, just as I’d thought. Tricked again. I hate to mess with the potty thing though in case it’s the one time he fills his britches right there in the middle of the store. I digress. Off I run heading up and down the store’s aisles calling his name. I make my first stop to the toy department and there he is, riding a tricycle like a madman up one of the aisles outside of the toy area! I promptly scolded him, instructed him to return the trike and come with me to the shoe area which is why we came to Wally World in the first place. I don’t have to tell you that by this time, it had already been a lonnnnnnggggggg day with the boy. Momma was t.i.r.e.d! I waited and waited and waited on him until I finally shouted, “I’m headed back to the shoe department, son, c’mon!” I suppose that’s when what happened next transpired. Houdini struck again! Yeah, he bolted to who knows all where. I looked, searched up and down, all around for this child when all at once I hear on the store’s intercom: “Will _____ ______ come to the fitting room, please?” Now here’s the funny part. My son gave the clerk my first name and his first name; put together, it becomes the name of a rather famous local singer. I’m sure when I showed up to collect my son, the onlookers waiting on a fitting room were disappointed to find that I was not who they expected. I can laugh about it now.
I collected my child who was red-faced, sobbing, and anxiously awaiting my appearance. My heart melted as he ran to me, calling “Mommy!” I immediately grabbed him into my arms, picked him up, held him, kissed him, assuring him that I would never, ever leave him. It took awhile to console him; he was so worked up. Once we found his shoes, purchased them and headed out to the car, he asked to go to the Playland to which I quickly replied “no”. He sobbed some more and it was then that I explained to him that I cannot reward him with a treat when he was being naughty by not listening to me and running away.
It seems more and more, I’m finding teachable moments to help him understand why his behavior is not acceptable. Ugh, parenting is definitely trying at times. I’m not gonna lie, once we returned home, this Momma was done for the day. I love and cherish the good times of laughing, playing, acting silly, and snuggle times. I find myself praying extra hard for endurance and wisdom to muscle up for the trying times. As hard as some days might be, I’m reminded that in comparison, at his young age, I’m still in control as his parent. I can still mold, shape, and guide his way. As he grows older, into his teens and beyond, I can only hope and pray that he’ll maintain respect for his parents and seek to please and honor us, but more than that, Jesus.