There are some things about raising children in the city that I find particularly irritating. We have to load up and walk blocks to get outdoor play. We have to get on the bus or subway to get anywhere outside of the neighborhood and take the stupid stroller with us on such excursions. Everything costs fifty times more than it should, especially school/camp/classes. There are things. But one that really gets me is the stares from people (ahem, older women) when children misbehave.
This morning Declan and I dropped Brady off at school and headed to Starbucks like we do most mornings. We like to sit for fifteen minutes or so while I sip my coffee and he eats a muffin or another snack and we often chat with other people who have just dropped their kids off at school. This morning Declan was having none of it. He wanted to sit…but ONLY in seats that were already occupied. I tried to explain that we could sit in any of the several unoccupied seats which prompted him to scream his bloody head off like a wild animal.
I packed him into the stroller and started the 3.5 block walk home. He continued to howl and rock from side to side screaming that he wanted to sit down and NOT go home! Tears streamed down his face. He waved Brady’s green Crocs (which he, of course, had to hold) over his head. He kicked the stroller blanket down until it was dragging on the ground. I called my mother and talked on the phone like nothing was happening to keep myself from screaming at him on the sidewalk.
I stared straight ahead and walked as quickly as I could. But I couldn’t help but notice the heads turning in our direction, the whispering, the raising of hands to mouths in shock at the behavior of this horrible child. Because no 2-year-old in the history of time has ever thrown a fit before and no mother has ever ignored the tantrum not wanting to reinforce the behavior and hoping that it would subside. Certainly these women never had children of their own and, if they did, they NEVER acted up and, if they did, it was in the privacy of their own homes or easily diffused by expert mothering.
I pushed through, ignored the reactions of the people around me, and made it to our building where the doormen laughed a little and gave me sympathetic looks. I know that some of those people were probably sympathizing. I know that some of it was my own feelings about his behavior being projected onto other people. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but somehow it still does. At least this time no one asked me if he was ok.
Post-horrific, screaming, sobbing, flailing fit Declan.