Oh dear. I have a horrible confession to make. I actually slapped Jack's legs today. Ugh. My worst parenting moment. What a mess.
In retrospect it was a disaster waiting to happen. It was past lunch time, Jack had eaten, but not as much as I would have liked. He had spent a lot of time playing alone this morning, we were all in the same area, but I wasn't playing 'with' him. He was tired. Very tired. We were behind "schedule", meaning I like to be out the house AND BACK by noon if I can do it, and we had to go to the library van, drop off the recycling, go to the dry cleaners and go to the grocery store. And it was already past two. I was getting fraught, trying to hurry along the kids to my schedule and they were slow as cold molasses. We dropped off the recycling and got to the library van without too many hassles in the end, but once in the van Jack started behaving like a maniac. He's usually fine there and will often fall asleep lying on the van floor reading books! Today he was just into stuff. He took DVD's out of their boxes and refused to give them back. He tried to pull the handle to pull in the step. He tried to DRIVE THE VAN!!! ( it was running of course and he went behind the driver and was on his way to driving it himself! ) I would take him away from the situation and have him yell "NOO!!" go limp and fall to the floor. He weighs a ton and is really hard to maneuver if he doesn't want to go. He started trying to take apart the fire extinguisher then ripped a sign off the wall and threw it through the book drop slot. We were only there a total of twenty minutes! I suppose on reflection I was not handling this well as I was anxious to chat with the library van lady, Rebecca. I hadn't seen her in six weeks and we usually use library day as a chance to catch up and chat. I was embarrassed by Jack and frustrated that we couldn't talk as he was being so difficult. I knew he was tired so I said I would take him out to our van and he and Jessie could wait there for a minute and I'd come back for our books and stuff. I tried to carry him out the van and he again went limp ... I carried him down the steps and across the car park to the van. Along the way he started kicking me and banging his head into me .... I was really hurt and offended and angry and so many other things. I stopped walking and, yelling, I told him to stop it or I would get really angry and he was NOT to kick me. We started walking again and he started kicking me and headbutting me again and he was yelling, I was yelling... and then it happened. I slapped his legs. He started to cry and I just felt angry and devastated. I put him in his seat in the van and Jessie sat next to him. I went back to the library van and tried to cool down. When I returned to the van he looked very contrite. I apologised to him and to Jessie for hitting him. I have NEVER hit my children before and I am appalled how quickly it happened. ( although, as I said, in retrospect it had been building for a while. )
He slept on the way into town and Jessie waited with him in the grocery store parking lot whilst I grabbed what I needed. He slept for a good long time and was a sweetheart all afternoon. At dinner time he started to act up again. He didn't want to eat, he wouldn't sit at the table and so on. My nerves were shot and I was ready to just give up with it all. Suddenly inspiration struck. I'd been listening to Jack playing on the PBS website and the "GOOD JOOOOOB"s were driving me nuts, but I suddenly realised that's what he needed to hear. I've started to talk to the kids as grown ups and forgotten that Jack is only five and really five going on three mentally, so since insisting he eat his food wasn't working I put on my best Pre~School~ trainee voice and said "Hey!!! Jack!!!!! Look HERE!!!!! It's a Tooomato!!! You llllOOOOVE tomatoes don't you?!!? I bet you'd like to eat that one up, wouldn't you!?!?! Can you catch it with your fork?!?!!? You can!?!?! GOOD JOB!!!" he loved it!! He grinned, he smiled.... he ate all his food and then some!!! *sigh* I'm exhausted!!!! Raising Jack is exhausting. There are moments in my day where I wonder why I bother and I really don't like being his Mum..... but every morning, when he scrambles up to get into bed with me and he says "Mornin' Mamma" I forgive him all over again.
This time I hope he forgives me.