So I took my kids on a walk in the park. We live near Northwest Branch, which is acres and acres of undeveloped parkland on the northwest branch (duh) of the Anacostia River. There are trails leading down to the creek, a five minute walk from our house. We take this trail at least once a week. It's a steep trail towards the end, but they literally walk it ALL THE TIME. So I had no reason to believe this day would be different.
We start off running happily to the woods. We walk down the trail with gleeful abandon, enjoying the beautiful fall weather. We throw rocks.
Then we all want water. No problem! Mama is prepared! I brought my water bottle, Malcolm's water bottle and a yellow sippy cup because I couldn't find Lucy's water bottle.
That stupid stupid yellow sippy cup.
Malcolm doesn't want his water bottle. He wants the stupid yellow sippy cup. Lucy, being four and exceptionally good at it, will not share. Fine. It is her stupid yellow sippy cup today, even though she could easily have used the water bottle instead of the stupid yellow sippy cup. But a girl has to stand on principle when it comes to these things or next thing you know your little brother wants to use your toys and we can't have THAT happen, now can we? Generally she doesn't use them at all, and this is usually Malcolm's stupid yellow sippy cup...so you see the problem.
Then, Lucy suddenly declares she's done with the stupid yellow sippy cup. So I offer it to Malcolm. She snatches it away.
Lucy: No! He can't have it!
Me: Why? I can refill it with the water from my bottle.
Lucy: I don't want your water, Mama. I want MINE. AND I WANT IT NOT IN MALCOLM.
Sooo...I distract! Rocks! Throw rocks! Yay! Throwing things is fun! This works for a bit, but Lucy is too smart for phyllising* anymore and Malcolm is amazingly singleminded for a two year old. He decides he's fed up, and takes off.
Now my jogger is actually a converted bike trailer. So there is a longish metal support that sticks out from the stroller and curves forward to hold the front wheels (or attach to the bike). Malcolm wants to ride on the support, not in the stroller. This is a bad idea on many levels, especially barefoot. But he won't be dissuaded. I try a few things but quickly discover that I literally cannot go anywhere. I can't push the stroller and carry Malcolm in my arms because that's like carrying a crocodile as it is trying to roll you. I can't drag the stroller behind me and tilt the front wheel off the ground (to discourage Mal from copping a squat over the support rail) because he grabs the rail and throws himself down on it. I can't put him in the stroller because Lucy won't move over and make room for him, and besides the SYSC that started this whole sorry state of affairs is still firmly clamped in her unyielding little fist.
So I stopped, parked the stroller on the grass and laid down on the sidewalk.
Me: I give up.
Malcolm: MAMA! (He runs over and dives on top of me and gives me a hug).
Lucy: Why'd you give up, Mama?
Me: I'm just...a terrible mom..
Lucy: No. No, no, no! You're a great mom!
Being a mom is a walk in the park.
*Phyllising: the act of distracting or drawing a small child's attention away from or towards a particular activity or train of thought, as masterfully practiced by by my mother, Phyllis. It can also be used on adults, though it must be much more subtle than "Stop doing that, let's throw rocks!"
**I didn't actually say this to Lucy.
***I'm tired of typing it out. But it deserves its full honorific.
****I'm blaming the stupid yellow sippy cup here, but I think perhaps my parenting skills can be called into question.