We interrupt our regularly scheduled “Diary of a Crazy Woman” and the insane selling of a house in 19 hours for a brief story and lesson on what not to do when you see a frazzled mom and a possessed child at the local museum.
So last week, in the midst of all the painting and staging and whatnot, the kids and I took a little break and went to the very cool Fort Worth Museum of Science and Nature. If you recall, it was Spring Break – but it was also half-price day at the zoo, so I was hoping that the museum (which is just down the street from the zoo) would be slightly less crowded. It was – sort of.
Since last fall, Griffin has been obsessed with sharks. Seriously obsessed. I think he’s checked out and read every juvenile non-fiction book on sharks that the library owns – at least once. We know aaaaallllll about sharks, thanks to Griffin’s insatiable quest for knowledge on all things shark. So he was just a little bit excited when the museum advertised an IMAX movie on…you guessed it…sharks. I bought tickets online the night before, and after I let the painter in on Wednesday morning, we packed up our picnic lunches and headed out for the museum.
We were enjoying a lovely day together. We
wandered squeezed through several exhibits and hands-on fun-ness, found a sunny spot outside to eat our lunches, walked through a few more exhibits before it was time to line up for the shark movie.
Now, I must interject here that our family has its share of sibling rivalry, especially between the two boys. They just annoy each other and pick at each other, and it drives me crazy. And Griffin, being the poor, misunderstood middle child, is quite often the instigator. He knows it. I know it. Doesn’t stop him from continuing to instigate. Which makes me more crazy.
So we were investigating the fascinating history of the Fort Worth street car when I looked at my watch and realized we needed to start walking toward the IMAX within the next few minutes, so I asked Griffin to please tell his brother it was almost time to go.
Not three minutes later, I hear blood-curdling screams coming from my youngest child.
(I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t consider for a nanosecond simply ignoring the screaming and asking the lady next to me, “whose awful children are THOSE?” But the screaming was the you’re-really-hurting-me kinds of screams, not the get-away-from-me-you-moron kinds of screams, so I figured I should probably check it out.)
I casually walked toward the screaming to find Nathan pinned to the ground, his older darling brother sitting on top of him, shoving his face into the linoleum.
I swooped over, grabbed the back of Griffin’s neck in a move I like to call “the lobster claw,” and firmly escorted him to the nearest bench, where I gave him a very stern (but quiet as not to attract any further attention) talking-to. Whereas Griffin protested quite loudly in an octave that could likely bring down the T.Rex on the floor below. So I removed my pointing finger from his face and covered his mouth to muffle his protestations.
(For the sake of the T.Rex, of course.)
After a few short minutes of firm parental correction where I may or may not have instructed him to “shut up,” I stood up and took some deep breaths while Griffin stewed on the bench. I wasn’t standing there for very long when a sweet little thang not a day over 29 walked over, stood very close to me, and said in her sweetest little (borderline patronizing) voice,
“Hiiiiiiii. My name is Allison. Is everything OK?”
I blinked. I stared. I smiled.
“Mmm-hmmm. Yes, just fine. I’m fine. Thank you.”
Whereas Miss Allison looked at me with deep concern and walked off. (I don’t remember seeing her walk off. The steam coming out of my head was blocking my vision.)
And that, dear ladies, is an example of exactly what NOT to do when you see a frazzled mom and a possessed child at the museum.
As if having my little piss-ant son turning the museum atrium into a wrestling arena in the middle of a Spring Break crowd wasn’t bad enough. In that kind of situation you AVERT YOUR EYES AND WALK AWAY. If said possessed child is not in any physical danger, YOU IGNORE IT. You pretend you did not see. To do otherwise only serves the purpose of HUMILIATING an otherwise already frazzled and angry mother.
And, unfortunately for Griffin, the sweet little encounter with Miss Allison only made me more angry with him. He was busted. Soooo busted.
I’m sure sweet Miss Allison had very good intentions. She probably thought she was being supportive. She probably left her one 18 month old child with the nanny in order to walk over to see if this mommy with laser eyes and grey hair just needed a hug. Or perhaps she just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to commit a felony right there outside the streetcar exhibit.
In any case – dear, sweet Miss Allison only made the situation worse. Much, much, MUCH worse. Because not only am I “that Mom” with “that child” but now I know that everyone else knows that I am “that Mom” with “that child.” And that’s not a good feeling.
I contemplated scooping up my brood and leaving the museum that instant. But I had already bought the stinkin’ tickets for the IMAX, and they were expensive, so we went ahead and saw the movie. After the movie, we found an outdoor courtyard where the kids could run around for a minute while I returned a phone call to Crazy Stager Lady, who had left me a voice mail AND a text message during the movie because she went by the house and decided that we needed to paint the window seat.
This day was just getting better and better.
Then the piss-ant formerly known as my son had the audacity to ask me if he could still go to gymnastics day camp the next day.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
However, I found out that the painter had to come back at 7 a.m. the next morning to finish the painting. So I was going to be awake anyway. On one hand, the little stinker deserved to be grounded for the rest of his childhood. On the other hand, I didn’t really have any desire to be around him.
Gymnastics camp it is. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the next day.
(Don’t judge me. Just keeping it real, folks. I do love my kids. A lot. But we all needed a break. In a big way.)
There’s almost enough distance between today and the Humiliating Event of 2010 to be funny. Almost. Not quite.
Just so you know (and don’t call CPS), Griffin is back in my good graces. He can be really sweet when he wants to be. Plus, I think I scared the snot out of him – so he’s been on his (mostly) best behavior for the last 6 days. He knows Mama means business and his butt is toast if he ever pulls a stunt like that again. We’re taking the advice of a good friend and Maximum Godly Mom and are teaching our kids to pray for each other. The first attempt, in Michael’s words, went over like a lead balloon. But they’re getting better. It seems to help. A little bit. It’s hard(er) to be mad at someone when you’re praying for him.
Hmmm. Good advice. I would do well to remember this.
PS: the name of the wife in the family who is buying our house? Allison. I’m dying.