I am furious with Elliot today.
I skipped my stroller strides class this morning as we had a rough night with Felix (who has a fever and is super congested yet again) and couldn't get out the door on time. But we still headed to the mall. On the way there, there is a little green space park - paths and walkways in between people's houses, etc. It's nice and sheltered and quiet. I generally let Elliot out of the stroller to walk there as it's safe.
Today, he walked nicely most of the way then high tailed it down a path into someone's back yard. I cut through the bushes too, calling after him that we needed to stay on the path, it was not our yard and that he needed to come back. He ran faster, giggling. I started running and yelling that there was a ROAD UP AHEAD - ELLIOT STOP NOW! In my stern voice. (Which of course woke up Felix who was napping, strapped to my chest in the Ergo.) Nope, he ran right out into it and down about a house length and into someone else's yard, where I caught up with him. I told him I was very angry, that it wasn't safe to run into the road and that he's not to run away from me. And marched him back to the stroller where he had to ride the rest of the way.
We got to the mall and I kept my word from last week that we'd get the dinosaur mall stroller, the upstairs we went for coffee and to meet up with a friend. I let Elliot out of the stroller to sit with us at the table. He was very good and I gave him a bit of freedom (bad move on my part) by letting him throw our trash in the garbage about 20 feet away. Soon after, he got down from the table and ran away giggling through the food court. I chased him and saw a woman reach out to scoop him up for me - turns out I know her, so we chatted for a bit after I talked to Elliot again, me holding him in my arms the whole time. Then he got marched back to the stroller and buckled in.
Then it was time for diaper changes, so we went down to the nursing room in Sears. The room was occupied, so we used the room next to it that has a bed (for those elderly shoppers who collapse? I guess) and a small washroom attached. Turns out Elliot's cloth diaper leaked all through his pants and I didn't have a spare pair. Then he went toddler-wild while I changed Felix's unexpected poop, tearing the blankets of the bed and jumping and such.
I put Elliot back in the stroller (in a disposable diaper, socks and shirt) while we went out to shop for a new pair of pants. He took his socks off and threw them on the floor. He managed to get out of the stroller and ran through Sears, I only caught up with him in the portrait studio on the other side. Luckily, my friend was still with me, so Felix was safe back in the clothing department.
Another big lecture and a smack on the bum for that one. Got him new pants (several more escape attempts, including hitting/biting me while I carried him from rack to rack.) Pants on, paid for, then we headed home.
I'm so angry at him, and myself. I know I handled it wrong, but honestly don't know what I should have done. Well, I should have just gone home after he ran from me on the way there, but I needed to pick stuff up and didn't want to punish everyone (and the friend I was meeting).
I've tried stern voice, calm voice, loud voice, quiet voice, spanking (1 light swat on bum) hand smacking, forced confinement in the stroller, time out corners, rationalizing, withholding things (you threw your cookie so you're not getting another one, etc).
I don't want to hit my kids. I hate that I've resorted to it. Obviously it doesn't work and Elliot's hitting back, so he's already learned that bad behavior from me. How can he learn not to hit if I smack him? Bad, bad parenting. Not the way I ever envisioned my parenting methods.
I have been consistent for the most part, and escalated when he wouldn't listen, except that now he just won't listen. Some of it is typical toddler boundary pushing - hell, most of it is - but he finds it funny.
We're not going out without his backpack leash again. I just don't trust him. He needs to earn back that trust. But I hate taking away his freedom. He likes to run - I like to let him run where it's safe. I try to provide places and outlets where he can run free and explore.
I am so close to giving up and becoming a hermit which will likely result in me being on the news with a headline about psycho mama goes apeshit and children are found in the freezer, etc.
I'll bet this morning was a combination of sugary foods, likely poor sleep (he was awake at 6am, an hour earlier than usual), typical toddler acts and a cranky, tired, mama. Knowing that doesn't make it easier to deal with. I still need to find a way to make him know that pushing those boundaries (running away) isn't tolerable.
He had an ok breakfast, but it was a bit high on sugar: honeynut cheerios, milk, honeydew melon. (Not too far off his usual breakfast, but not as substantial. Note to self: switch to plain cheerios or something else) While in the mall, he had 1/2 a raisin bran muffin, grapes, honeydew melon, cheese, shreddies, cheerios, raisins and a blueberry nutragrain bar. He fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, sometime before 12:30 and slept until 4. (I managed to transfer him to his bed and he stayed asleep)
Since waking up, he's had a piece of toast with peanut butter cut into the shape of a gingerbread man, 2/3rds of a banana, milk, water, cheese, grapes, and a bean & sweet potato burrito. Supper is in an hour and I doubt he'll eat much!
Ugh. I need a drink. Or a spa vacation.