My Sweetie's behavior during a playdate this past Monday absolutely appalled me.
My cousin came up for the day with her 2-year old daughter. We met at my parents' house, as it was easier for her to travel to and provided the kiddie fun pool for the girls to enjoy together.
Sweetie knew about and was excited for the play date as it approached. And when Sadie and her Mommy walked in the door, both girls were happy to see each other.
Shortly thereafter, all Hell broke loose.
For starters, Sadie dared to touch the purple rectangular McDonalds Happy Meal I-don't-know-what-it-really-is toy Sweetie's recently been using as a computer mouse (she's taken to "playing computer" by setting up two throw pillows to look like a monitor and keyboard and use whatever small toy around as the "mouse").
Don't touch my mouse!
Then Sadie had the audacity to move and ride upon the rocking horse.
Don't move that! That's not where that belongs!
Then - can you believe it?! - Sadie put various figurines on a toy truck trailer bed and transported the tiny crew around the room! A toy truck trailer bed that Sweetie has never showed any interest in whatsoever.
Don't do that! Put that back!
And, even though Sweetie had been confirming nicely all along that she'd let Sadie play in her pool and slide on her slide, when the time actually came there was - um, how should I put this? - a complete and utter breakdown of all sense, sanity and calmness on the part of one particular 3 1/2 year old little diva.
Let's just say Sweetie was not entirely living up to her moniker that day.
Oh, I threatened. I yelled. I took toys away. I insisted she play nice or sit by herself. I let her flip out until she could calm herself down. Whatever I could think of - when I could get past the shock of this behavior - I tried to do in an attempt to bring things under control.
All I can say is, thank goodness Sadie is now old enough to stand up for herself. Yes, we moms even let the two fight it out a bit on their own.
But you know what? Um... I probably made more out of the situation than was necessary. Actually - I'm sure I did. Why else would I now, days later, still feel embarrassed over it? And not just embarrassed for how Sweetie behaved but for how I chose to handle it?
Why am I embarrassed? Is it because I'm normally seen as such a quiet, "cute", unassuming type of person, yet when it comes to my daughter's behavior I expect her to know what's what and act appropriately, no questions asked? Am I embarrassed to show that tough side of me?
Yes, I'm sure that's at least part of it.
I know - I'm often too hard on her. I'm too demanding of her. I expect too much from her. I don't let her just be a typical, self-centered, greedy kid. I won't accept it. I won't have it.
Therefore I can't stop wondering if I did the right thing(s). Maybe I shouldn't have yelled and threatened so much. Maybe I should have been calmer and more accepting of the fact that that's just how toddlers are - especially on their own "turf". Because I know Sweetie plays at least reasonably well when we're at other friends' homes or she's at school. Maybe I should have followed my cousin's lead to not worry about it and let the girls work it out themselves. Maybe I was just as wrong as Sweetie was.
I keep thinking - What Would Super Nanny Do in a similar situation?
I don't know, but whatever she'd do, I'm sure she'd have my Sweetie straightened up and flying right in no time. And undoubtedly in a much calmer, more rational manner than what I personally displayed. That woman is amazing!
But that's what kids do, isn't it. That's the essence of being a toddler. They're all about that "mine" mentality.
I just have to get past my own embarrassments and accept my role (and sometimes disciplnary ineffectiveness) as a mother of a toddler. I have to feel more confident in myself that I'm making the best decisions possible in the moment. And I need to accept that, despite my best abilities, my child is sometimes going to be nothing more than a stubborn, loud, irrational brat.
She's going to be a typical child.
Anyway, if you're reading this, Sarah - I'm sorry. For Sweetie's behavior and for mine.
Next time - let's meet on neutral territory. Okay?