Yesterday after sharing our haircut adventure, to say the least (or the very most), I had a friend text me:
And so I’m here to tell you about the ice cream trip from hell. And Matty’s first official heart break. And maybe my very first parental break.
Sunday, after the haircut from hell, we kept our word to take the boys to get some ice cream (ergh, frozen yogurt) next door. As we walked out of the haircut place and over to the fro-yo shop, Matty who had completely turned a leaf right back into his ornery self, held tightly to his hair-covered lollipop with a giant smile on his face. Seth, who – fun fact – is anal about food safety, hardly eats left-overs and apparently has a thing against hairy lollipops, told Matty he needed to throw his lollipop away before we went into the shop. This, of course, turned into an argument between the two of them. Matty yelled enthusiastically.
“NO. Noooo. It’s my lollipop!”
And Seth tried to point out the hair on the lollipop as if Matty was a reasonable adult.
“But Matty, buddy, look. Look at all the hair on there. See that? It’s icky.”
Matty stared at the lollipop with a look of confusion on his face and then, just as quickly as he could, shoved it into his mouth. This went on until Matty was willing to exchange it for ice cream.
When we got into the empty ice cream shop, I handled getting Abbott and I some fro-yo and Seth handled Matty. Since the shop was empty, there wasn’t quite the pressure to keep the boys out of other people’s business or space which, I’m not going to lie, is always refreshing – but was especially so after the haircut debacle. Abbott and I picked a table and as I unloaded the 700 bags I’m always carrying, Matty joined us across the table. He was talking none-stop – partial English, partial dragon, partial dinosaur (his three top languages of choice) – and bouncing around excitedly on the booth. Once his fro-yo hit the table his talking turned into demanding Abbott to leave his ice cream alone.
“No, Abbott. That’s mine!”
I really don’t get worked up about much but I cannot stand when Matty yells at people and especially Abbott. I mean, Bot can’t talk, he walks like a drunken frat boy and his eyes never light up quite like they do when Matty pays attention to him so – you know – I’m a little sensitive to Matty’s toddler tendency to bully.
“Matheson, your brother isn’t even looking at your ice cream.”
“No, mama. NO, Abbott!”
My second big trigger: when Matty points at people’s face.
“MATHESON. You know it’s not nice to point like that. Eat your ice cream and leave Abbott alone.”
Seth sat down next to Matty and asked him about his ice cream – which he had hardly touched.
“How is it, buddy?”
Matty bounced in the booth.
“Sit down, bud, and eat your ice cream.”
Seth went to scoot the ice cream over and Matty lost it.
“NO, THAT’S MYYYY ICE CREAM!”
“Matheson Walter, do not yell at me.”
“NO. IT’S MINE!”
“Matty, if you yell at me one more time -”
“ROARRR. MY ICE CREAM!”
“Matheson, if you yell at me again I’m going to throw your ice cream in the trash and we’re going to go home.”
Now, it’s parenting 101 to know that if you threaten something, you better be prepared to follow through. So in this moment as the words were coming out of Seth’s mouth, my internal parenting critic was telepathically crying out to him, “no, no, no, don’t say it – don’t say – welp, there it goes”. I was not prepared to take away his ice cream. And let’s be serious, it’s not only that I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t want anything to do with what that scene would look like. I mean, come on, I had literally JUST stopped sweating from the haircut. So I tried to calm everyone down.
“Matty, don’t yell. Just eat your ice cream, bud.”
And then he did it (because we obviously never follow through on our threats) and Seth had struck a chord.
“NO! THIS IS MY ICE CREAM. NO. I’M EAT. MY. ICE CREAM!”
Faster than I could try to reason with Seth, he had picked Matty up and was storming out of the door. Matty was screaming and kicking. Abbott was, again, so confused. And I was in shock.
“Throw that away, we’re leaving! We’ll meet you at the car.”
And just like that, they were gone.
WHAT. THE. FLYING. FUCK.
I sat at the table with Abbott in my lap in a little bit of shock. I didn’t want to throw the ice cream away. And I really didn’t want to meet them in the car. I mean, I would have rather shared my ice cream with Abbott and caught a cab home. But seeing as cabs and Ubers don’t just have car seats in them, I really had no choice. Ugh. TECHNICALITIES. I turned to see the young girl behind the counter with that look on her face that kids get when they see another kid get in trouble – like, HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED PARENTS ARE SO PSYCHO. I awkwardly smiled, walked up and asked if I could get a lid. She nodded and reached into a bowl sitting on the counter between us, a bowl directly in front of my face, and handed me a lid. This definitely helped me feel way better about everything because not only did my asshole kid get yanked out of his seat and rushed out of the store, I got bossed around by my husband on his way out and now I’ve asked for something I could have just grabbed for my fucking self. AND I was covered in hair and probably pitting through my sweatshirt. I’m not dumb, the girl probably wondered how I even fucking get through the day. I smiled, thanked her, plopped the lid on Matty’s ice cream and shoved it into the diaper bag.
At the car, Matty was screaming. It was like the hair place all over again. I could hear him across the parking lot. I was at my breaking point with this fucking day. When we were all settled in the car, Matty’s screaming turned into deep sobbing. My heart ached. I wanted to give him the ice cream so badly. Seth talked.
“That’s what happens, Matheson, when you don’t listen. Do you hear me? You can’t act like that. You don’t just yell at people.”
Matty couldn’t even breathe he was crying so hard.
Seth and I exchanged words at a low volume underneath Matty’s wailing.
“Seth just ignore him. Leave him alone. I put his ice cream in the bag.”
“You should have thrown it away. I told you to throw it away. He’s not getting it.”
“You don’t make all of the fucking decisions. Don’t be such a dick.”
“Oh, ok, Megan. Why don’t you do all of the parenting then?”
“Seth. To him this is a big deal. It’s like his first heart break and the first time we’ve taken anything from him.”
“I know, Megan. I’m not an idiot.”
Matty continued to cry. When he calmed down enough to ask about his ice cream, he did. Seth responded.
“Buddy, you can’t be mean like that and expect to get things.”
“Do you know why we took your ice cream?”
“Are you going to yell at us anymore?”
“No, buddy, are you going to yell anymore?”
The tears started welling up in my eyes. It was obvious to me that he thought he was going to get his ice cream back. And for some reason it broke my heart.
“Are you crying?”
“Yes. Leave me the fuck alone.”
“He has to learn, babe.”
I wanted to scream. Sometimes, as a parent, it’s fucking impossible not to hate it. I’ve never hated my kids but sometimes I entirely hate being a parent. Breaking a kid’s heart to teach them a lesson just seems like pure evil, doesn’t it? And what kills me is so many times, the situations are lose-lose. Sometimes entire weeks feel like parenting failures and yet, somehow, we’re supposed to believe that all of these little lose-lose situations will somehow culminate into well-rounded, empathetic, kind-hearted, polite, loving adults. I mean, I’m bad at math – so maybe it’s just me – but that shit does NOT add up. At all.
Seth was right; he has to learn. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of all of our hearts. SAID EVERY PARENT EVER.
*we’re molding the future*
*we’re molding the future*
*we’re molding the future*
*we’re molding the future*
Happy hang-in-there Tuesday.