So I took Anna and Dominic to run a couple of errands this afternoon. We picked up dry cleaning and ran to the store for a few items for us and my mom (who is returning tomorrow night after being gone 2.5 weeks, boy have we missed her!). We were listening to the new Black-Eyed Peas cd in the car and we were all in a good mood. (My favorite track is Imma Be… anyone else like that one?)
We entered the produce section first and we had gotten about 4 items when Anna started not listening to me. She was touching fruit and wandering. This happened several times and I realized I had already spent more time redirecting Anna than I had shopping. I asked her to stay with the cart while I got some tomatoes in the corner and she took off as I was coming back. With a warning about her choices, I took a deep breath and thought to myself that I would just get the bare essentials on this run. Then Anna left me again to inspect some melons. I gave her a 3-count warning, telling her we would leave the store if she chose not to listen. She started returning to me on 2, so I paused. She decided, in that pregnant pause, to turn her back to me and resume what she was doing, so I said, “Three!” and went to fetch her. In the few steps back to the cart, she grabbed at a woman’s hands, I think the woman was holding a cell phone and a grocery list. Apologizing, I abandoned the cart and we left the store. The entire way back to the car, she was trying to hit Dominic. It means that I will have to go back to the store later (we are completely out of milk) but I am really proud of myself. I’ve only ever left the store after having items in the cart twice before… it’s really hard to do!
Once we got home, she seemed fine. Sometimes I have a hard time discerning if she is overloaded with sensory input at the store or if she’s testing me. Somedays she can handle a lot of input, even crying babies, and somedays (like today), even a simple trip can be too much. Today, I can’t really tell. I think I handled it well though, and I didn’t raise my voice or get upset… I stayed nice and calm. I admit I have a hard time following through on every single one of my disciplinary threats. Dominic especially can be charming and manipulative enough to renegotiate consequences. I try to be consistent about the big stuff though and we have a set of family rules tacked up in the playroom. The kids are having some independent time at the moment and I am really enjoying the little break.
Remind me sometime to tell you about one or two of our worst public outings. They are doozies!