Today I decided to take Little Boo with me to the store to buy a new bike. He had his old bike at daycare for bike day two weeks ago, and it was painfully obvious that he's outgrown it. Not sure why I didn't notice before. Not sure what size he'd need and wanting to let him have some say in the choice, I took him along.
Why oh why dear Lord do I do this to myself and to him?!
It was a disaster, and I should have known better. I know my kid, and I should have known this was too much to ask of him. We went to a store, where there are toys, and I explained to him that we weren't buying toys, I just needed him to pick out a bike. He claimed he understood.
Of course, he claimed this, apparently, with a plan to wear down my defenses and get something anyway. He started immediately asking for a Hot Wheels car. This progressed to larger and larger items. From a $1.49 car to a $49.95 Lego set. He wanted everything. I was calm at first. I explained again. He agreed and was good for a nice while. He was so good, I agreed to let him pick out one Hot Wheels, under $2, and that would be his treat for helping mommy.
That car never made it home. He picked it out but immediately started asking for additional items that he just HAD to have. "We're going to have to leave if you can't be good." Then he yelled that the car was "dumb" and it wasn't fair and I was a "bad mommy."
So I left. Yup. I told him I was leaving and I left. Now a) I knew (from experience) that he would follow me and b) I never went far enough ahead to let him out of my sight.
He screamed. Blood curdling "pay attention to me" screams. But he followed. EVERYONE in the store was staring at me. A couple of veteran moms were trying to suppress the giggles. Others seemed mortified.
Me? I didn't care. My child was misbehaving in public, being manipulative and ungrateful, and I was not giving in. Nor was I going to coddle him. I told him to put the car down before he left the store or he'd be arrested. (Yes, I am that kind of mom.) He didn't, so I took his arm, took the car and placed it on a table and dragged him bodily from the store. He responded by promptly dropping to the ground, so I let go (I didn't want to hurt him) and continued to walk through the mall.
He followed and then grudgingly held my hand through the parking lot. He wasn't happy, but I think he got the message.
I don't know if this was the optimal way to deal with this situation. I hope he learned that manipulating me won't work, and neither will trying to embarrass me in public. I told him he could have one little car as a reward for being good, but that was it. I stuck to that. Unfortunately, he stopped being good, so he lost the reward as well. I told him we'd have to leave with nothing if he kept misbehaving. And we did. I followed through.
Tonight, we had a pizza party picnic while we watched How to Train Your Dragon. Grudges aren't held. Consequences are immediate and and don't drag on forever. He'll get his bike. Maybe tomorrow if we can find the right one.
God I hope I'm doing this right!