I sit her down at in her high chair at the food court at the mall, trying to toddler food prep as fast as my hands can cut fruit with a flimsy plastic knife, pour milk into the sippy cup, and simultaneously blow on the chicken strip as she screams "HOT! HOT!" at the top of her lungs. I am starting to sweat and the odd non-parent is glancing over. I finally have her contained and content, happily chewing away at her Chick-fil-a and giving me silly smiles.
I breathe a sigh of relief and start eating my delicious indulgence of a Five Guys burger. If I am going to eat a burger, I go big or go home. As I am half way through enjoying my yummy dinner, I start noticing Lila glancing around and pushing her chicken to the edge of her plastic placemat. Uh oh.
I start eating faster. She appears to sense my panic and starts swinging her leg, kicking her high chair. I am now inhaling my burger. She counters with a loud screech, knocking her sippy cup over. Now parents and non-parents alike are craning to see why no one is attending to the clearly distraught and neglected child. I reach in my purse and pull out the last resort, the squeezable applesauce. I know from experience the eating is over. I have approximately 45 seconds to throw away trash, pack up the bags and get her in the stroller before she sucks the end of the fruit. I am over by 10 seconds.
And the toddler fit ensues. The kicking and hitting, the high pitched bellow, the throwing of the Grinch stuffed animal. I am now that mom, head down and refusing to make eye contact as Lila arches her back against the constraints of her evil stroller straps. "NO, NO MOMMY!" She screams as I walk us across the mall, trying to turn herself around in her stroller until the very moment I walk out into the parking lot. Silence. "Hi Mommy! Bye bye? Haha!"
There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson