He's Only Three!

Sunday, March 30, 2008
When I published Friday's post, I wasn't sure how I was going to start my day. I ended up taking Samuel to OMSI to see the dinosaur exhibit, since it was raining, and I was also interested in seeing Grand Canyon: River at Risk at Omnimax. So, I packed a sack lunch for Samuel and I, and off we went. When we arrived, there was a line around the building for non-members to get in, and it was windy and raining. I told Samuel we would have to come back another day with Daddy when it wasn't so busy, but he instantly fell apart, and in a panic, prattled on about how the line wasn't that long and couldn't we please wait? I couldn't turn him down. The line did move rather quickly, and before we knew it, we had been admitted.

It was difficult walking around, because it was so busy in there, and I had a hard time wearing Juniper in the ERGO, pushing the stroller, and keeping track of Samuel, who was so excited he was darting from dino to dino. Still, things were going okay until the dig pit. Really, this exhibit is geared for older kids. They can dig for fossils just like a paleontologist, then assemble the wooden fossils they find into a dino specimen. Unfortunately, Samuel wasn't the only little kid in the dig pit, and when I saw the wooden specimen assembly three times taller than Samuel start to topple over on top of him, I knew it was time for him to get out now. After asking him several times, whereupon he completely ignored me, I took both his arms and pulled him out before he got hurt. The minute I put him on the ground and turned my back looking for his shoes, he took off running and screaming in sheer anger that I'd put an end to the dig pit. I didn't expect him to go far, so I didn't immediately start running after him. A moment later, I realized he was still running, so I quickly asked a Mom to watch my stroller and took off running, Juniper bouncing up and down in the Ergo as I ran. He kept running and running. He ran all the way to Omnimax, and I very nearly lost track of him amidst the hoards of people. Then he spotted me and ran back in the direction he'd just come, running all the way back to the dino exhibit. I finally caught up to him and backed him into a corner, trying to restrain him. This led to kicking, slapping, and screaming from Samuel for fifteen minutes. I maintained my composure, but he wouldn't stop screaming. By now a small crowd had gathered, and one Mom approached me and asked if there was anything she could do. I gave her Juniper as she was getting bopped all around in the process of trying to hold Samuel and wear her at the same time. After what seemed like an eternity, the kicking and screaming turned to hugging and soft crying. It was pretty awful until that point, and I was sure I was going to dislocate a shoulder or something in the process of restraining him from running away from me. I located my stroller by the dig pit, took back Juniper, and thanked the Moms who helped me.

Determined not to leave OMSI on a negative note, we pressed on. Noticing it was almost time for the Omnimax showing I'd purchased tickets for, we headed in that direction, only to realize that we were at the very end of the line. So much for good seats. Still, I was able to enjoy the show, despite having to tilt my head upward the whole time. Things were looking up again (no pun intended) and I even remember thinking that we were starting to have fun when Juniper, who seemed mesmerized by the show, had not one, but four loud blowouts right in a row. The teenagers in front of us turned around with a look of horror on their face, which seemed to lessen to an expression of minor disgust when they realized it was a baby emitting those sounds and smells and not an adult. This was one of those blow-outs that goes up the back and seeps through layers of clothing. I knew if I left the Omnimax at that point, we'd be locked out, and not wanting to waste the money I'd paid on the tickets, I stayed and hoped we could hang on for the last 20 minutes of the show. We did. Unfortunately, when the lights came on, I realized just how bad the blow-out was. Since she had been sitting in the Ergo, I hadn't realized just how much it was soaking through. It was everywhere. We quickly exited, and that's when I realized I didn't have any wet wipes. Napkins were useless. I did the best I could, put on a new outfit, and we headed for the car. It was now 4:30PM. Then Juniper started screaming. All the while, Samuel was saying over and over that "he wanted that movie to show the fish that live in the water." I nursed Juniper, as I realized sitting in rush-hour with a screaming infant was not what I needed.

By 5:30PM, we got home, with a big sack of soiled clothes. Juniper went right into the tub, Landon had a talk with Samuel about the OMSI incident, and we put his videos on a high shelf as the consequence for his actions. He cried, said he was sorry, and went to bed after a quick dinner. Juniper fell asleep after her bath. This was one of those days where I had hoped to gain some quality time with Samuel, but my efforts backfired in every way. I'd never experienced a tantrum with Samuel like that before. I've been attending playgroups lately and seeing similar behavior in the other three year olds, so I really do think it's his age. I'm doing my part to establish firm boundaries and reinforce them by taking things away when he crosses the line, but even so--today was one of those days that I wanted to hop on a bus heading for anyplace but here. Every once in awhile, in a half-joking, half-serious way, I tell Landon I'm going to get on a bus. I like to entertain that idea from time to time. The only problem with this plan as a solution to alleviate the stress days like today can bring is I know that the minute the bus pulled away from the curb I'd shout "Stop!" just like in the movies, promptly exit, and run back to this family and kids that I love.


Ayelet said...

Aw, Karli, I'm sorry that you had that kind of day. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt! Kate from John and Kate plus Eight was right...3 is DEFINITELY the new 2!!

Better luck next time...

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry that I laughed, but I've walked in your shoes x3 times my friend! Miss Bea has kept me knee deep in poop this week, every diaper change. I thought the days of "up the back" were over! Not at our house- she's at the dr right now w/ jen.

I've never used the "bus" threat, but every now and then say how I am walking into the woods and not coming back. :-) same story different method of transportation.

Go Obama!


ps: I'm still anonymous, my google id isn't working-sorry.

Annagrace said...

I usually tell Jeffrey I'm going to just get in the car and drive. Till Kansas. I so know the feeling and I'm not even at the 3 yr old stage yet. I'm so sorry you had this kind of day--it always has to be in public, it seems--but I have to say that it's always nice to read someone else's stories about the DOWNS as well as ups of parenting. This is the REAL stuff!

Sarah@mommyinjapan said...

When Emi was 3 she once hid inbetween our house and our neighbor's house and refused to come out for Chikara. I was inside nursing Sakura and I could hear her going on and on while Chikara tried to coax her out since the opening was too small for him. When she saw me come out, she quickly ran out and we had a spanking and a talk about that one. Spanking is our last line of discipline but for sure we used it more in our children's 3rd year than any other year.

It's hard once you have more than one child to take quick, decisive action when one of your kids does something crazy. If you can take them away from the situation to a bathroom or quiet corner then that can help diffuse the situation but if you're alone and with a lot of stuff then sometimes there's nothing you can do. It'll get better!

Jeremy said...

I cringed reading this because I could feel the emotion! What a unique/crazy/insane/wonderful/tiring stage this is with a 3 year old and a baby.

You did a great job recovering though. Chalk this up to a really great story when they are older because no doubt this is one you will remember! I already have a few from this past year that I know I won't forget during this 2-kid toddler stage.

Rachel Catriona said...

From a not yet mother: thanks for the honesty!!! And I applaud you on soldiering on with the day.

PS. Adorable pics of the kids!!! They're beautiful =)


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