Yesterday, as I was heading out the door with H, I balanced two packages to go to the, yes, Post Office. I understand it's a holiday, but I was looking forward to my friend K (that's kiosk to you) helping me send my goods on their way. (Of course, when I got there K had decided to call in sick so I'd shoved H in the sling with precariously balanced packages for nothing but oh well, more time to watch Oprah on the treadmill at the Y.)
After holding H's hand in a death grip to the car in our parking lot at home, I transferred that grip to his handle of the car only long enough for me to set the packages on the front seat. I firmly told him that he needed to hang onto the handle until I could put him in his carseat. The ground was covered in slosh due to the ever changing New England weather and a recent deluge of rain over snow, so I didn't want to put the packages on the ground.
Aparrently in Toddler-ese Hold On means Run Forest, Run because he was off like a shot. I shouted for him to stop, as he was outside of inside voice range already and proceeded to lumber after him. I was not quickly walking, or even jogging...my 6+ months pregnant 5 foot 10 inch frame was running after him. He thought it was hillarious; needless to say, I did not. He was running through our parking lot, heading closer and closer to the area for thru traffic, and I caught him just in time.
I was oh-so-glad that it was a holiday so that our lot was full, and there was a maximum number of fellow residents to witness my poor parenting. You guessed it, I swatted him on the bottom while telling him to NEVER, NEVER NEVER run away from me again around other cars. I felt really great about myself as the tears pricked the back of my eyelids.
My heart was pounding, and not because I'm that out of shape. There have been very few times over the last two and a half years that I've had that stomach dropping sensation due to my child's antics, but this was one of them. I knew that there was no way for me to really reason with him after the fact, or to explain to him why I was so upset, because he doesn't know what it means to get run over by a car, or to die, and I was not about to go there with him. Was what I did any better? I don't know.
That's the fun part about parenting that they don't tell you. Even when you do things without thinking, and still think it was appropriate for the situation, you don't feel good about it necessarily, becase I couldn't really explain to him why I just spanked him, other than that he scared me, and that it is really unsafe to run away from me around other cars. I guess in the future, soggy packages will lose out to smashed child.
I have to report, however, that today when we were walking out to our car, he saw another car pulling in and held my hand tighter as he said "Car not see me." Maybe it did make the intended impression in his mind. I just know that I hope he doesn't need many of those lessons to make it all stick.
Flashing forward to the teen years, I have to say that I'm least looking forward to those hard times when your kids hate you simply because you're making a decision that you know they'll "thank you later" for. All of my parents' missives came flooding back to me, and I know that I'll be utilizing their cliche cache when the time comes.