Tuesday, 15 October 2013

adventure time with Dora

I took my three toddlers on an adventure today. We went on a train to the city to see a live Dora show at a beautiful old theatre. It was epic. In planning, it seemed really simple. It was, however, epic.

I stocked up on snacks in toddler size, you know the ones - loaded with sugar and individually wrapped so they could be thrown in a bag quickly and easily. I even bought emergency boxes of Smarties in case it all went to hell ie triple throw down tantrums in a busy public place. I planned the timing, checking train timetables and how long it would take us to walk from the station to the theatre, then adding the obligatory 15 minutes of toddler dawdling time. We set off on time and to be honest things went a little downhill from there.

Traffic was a bitch. The normal drive from here to the train station of choice is about 15 minutes. Today it took 30 and meant the kids were a bit tetchy before we even got out of the car. Some loud music and car seat dancing eased that. We walked from the carpark to the station and before you know it, the whinging of 'my legs are hurting' started. A few minutes of train spotting and lift riding and the whinging was quickly ceased ie forgotten about. We bought our tickets and boarded the train really easily. I started to get cocky at this point. What was so hard about this? This was easy!

A random lady on the train started talking to me, asking how old the kids were, how far apart, commenting on how well behaved they were. This was obviously a sign for the kids to start acting up as all three started asking for drinks and snacks simultaneously. Snacks were handed out, silence once again reigned supreme - for 2.3 minutes anyway. Water was promptly spilled, meltdown #1 followed closely by as I didn't have a change of clothes for Missy Moo. Previously mentioned sugar didn't take long to kick in and the kids started running riot on the train. They were shrieking and laughing and swinging off rails like monkeys. I did my best to control the chaos but lets be honest, I was fighting a losing battle. I will say that Monkey Man in particular was interested in the station names and liked to practice saying them which was pretty cute. I had visions of them being snatched or pushed out the doors and falling between the train and the platform when we stopped at each station so I didn't dare take my eyes of them for a second. Any time they went near the doors, my heart was in my throat.

Due to the traffic holding us up we ended up on a later train than planned, so my 15 minutes of toddler dawdling time was gone. We got to the city with a few minutes to spare and had to hightail it to the theatre. Little Miss was in the stroller, Monkey Man and Missy Moo were walking until both started complaining about 'broken feet and hurty legs' again. I loaded Missy Moo onto the back of the stroller and kept boosting Monkey Mans ego about what a big boy he was, how good a job he was doing and how he was walking so fast with Mummy as we practically ran through the city. He kept saying 'we're going SO fast!'.... we were! Imagine going all that way, all that build up and then missing the bloody show? No freaking way!

We made it just in time to dump the stroller in the parking bays and find our seats. All three once again started asking for food - damn those sugary snacks burning off already!! The thought of taking all three out of the theatre again to buy more food was daunting to say the least, especially as the lights were dimmed and the show about to start. My emergency Smarties supply was handed out and rapidly demolished. I was now helpless in the face of a triple meltdown so I had to just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The show started, Little Miss didn't like it much so climbed onto my lap and stayed there for the show duration. The fact that hubby didn't come as we bought 4 tickets only was now void as there was a seat for him afterall. Bugger. She did get into the show after a few minutes but wasn't giving up her seat on my lap for love nor money. Monkey Man started asking for flashing-made in china-over priced merchandise which I said we would look at after the show. Crisis averted. Missy Moo started asking for a dummy as naptime approached and the tears started when I said no. Those tears quickly stopped when she realised I meant no. I promised some lunch as soon as the show ended. Once the show ended we joined the hundreds of people trying to exit all at once. We battled to get the stroller back and load Little Miss in - both she and Missy Moo decided they wanted in and of course today I only had the single stroller so a hair pulling, clothes yanking battle of wills commenced in the middle of more than a hundred people. More tears flowed. Monkey Man started asking for merchandise again but I said no, telling him the girls were tired so lets go and get lunch and an ice cream and then we're going back on the train. He didn't ask again.

We commenced the 700m walk from the theatre to McDonalds. According to where is.com it should take 8 minutes. It took much freaking longer than that. Missy Moo dragged the pram, pulling at my hands and legs, demanding a dummy and crying that her legs were hurty. Monkey Man kept asking how much further. All three wanted a drink and kept saying it was so hot, Monkey Man and Missy Moo kept fighting over who could ride the back of the stroller. I'm sure we were quite the sight! We made it, I swear it took like half an hour to get there and I ordered lunch for everyone. We all sat down to eat and of course Monkey Man decides now he needs a wee. The toilets weren't far from where we were sat but what to do? Do I pack up the food, load it into the stroller and take everyone to the loo? Do I ask a random to watch the girls and take Monkey Man to the loo? I can't send him by himself? Argh! Great timing my son! He keeps reminding me he needs the loo so its now or never. I decide to let him go in by himself once I realise there is only two cubicles and I can see him from the door if he leaves the door open. I can stand at the door, pretty much smack bang in between the girls and him and sort everyone out.

Everyone eats and drinks and before I know it, its almost time to go. Little Miss decides to get down from the table and go and sit on the floor, right in the middle of everyone ordering food in a busy restaurant. When I tell her to get up, she lays down! Kill me! I drag her to her feet and back to the table and decide to call it quits and head for home. As I'm loading her into the stroller and trying to keep the other two with me, Monkey Man starts climbing up and down the stairs. A maccas employee yells in my face to 'CONTROL MY KID!!' I'm shocked and angry. He backed down a little, saying that 'he will hurt himself' which I get was his intention but to have a random stranger yell at me like that, and say what he did really pissed me off. I went and found the manager and told him perhaps he should control his staff and they should not be permitted to speak to paying customers like that.

I gathered the troops and we made our way to the train. Both the older kids whinged all the way to the station and Little Miss cried til I let her out of the pram. All three were overtired and ran about the carriage all the way home with multiple tantrums every few minutes thrown in for good measure. I had three randoms tell me 'you've got your hands full'....  Good times!

Overall it was a good day, 3 toddlers and I on a little adventure - making memories is what its all about right??

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

breaking news: wild animals spotted at local shopping centre

For the past few weeks all 3 of my kids have refused to go in the pram when we're at the shops, out and about etc. I'm pretty over it. No one in the pram means 3 kids running, constantly, in three different directions. It also means everything in reach is touched, climbed on, pulled down, played with etc. I also cop many looks of disdain from other people re my 'uncontrollable children'. Funnily enough its the other parents that are the worst with the dirty looks. Seriously.

Today we went to get a script filled and a little something for Fathers Day. We got into Target and the kids were into everything. They were running, quite literally, through the store and going into every aisle. They were bringing me things, shouting out 'Mummy, I want this', I could hear things crash onto the ground, I could hear people tutting and sighing and knew it was aimed at my kids. No matter how many times I asked or told them to come and stay with me, it was pointless - I was ignored. I offered donuts in an attempt to get some good behaviour and that too was an epic fail. I was getting more and more flustered, shopping was a waste of time so I decided to call it quits. I told the kids we were going and Monkey Man and Missy Moo came with me, Little Miss however decided to ignore me and continue pulling books down. I took the 'walk off and leave her' approach... she wasn't even bothered and continued pulling books down! She didn't even notice I left her! Gah!!! I grabbed her and we left the store with her under my arm, screaming her head off.

We headed to donut king for a snack and a rest before heading to the chemist. The kids devoured a few donuts and a milkshake each, there was sprinkles and icing bloody everywhere and trying to get them to stay seated for more than 2 minutes at a time was near impossible. Before I knew it they were climbing all over the bench seating nearby where people were minding their own business. Monkey Man was pulling things out of other peoples shopping bags and Missy Moo was seconds away from patting an old man on the head. It was time to go. I rounded everyone up and we started heading towards the chemist. A tantrum started from one as I told her to get out of the fountain just as another started crying because I yelled to stop at the crossing rather than walk straight onto the road. Now, it was time to go - home! I told them the outing was over and we were going home. All three started screaming now and continued to scream all the way down the travelator. There was filthy looks coming at me from all directions. As we entered the carpark, Little Miss decided to sit down in the middle of the road and refused to get up. I had three screaming children and traffic was officially stopped. I had no choice but to pick her up, kicking and screaming and haul all three to the car. Everyone continued to scream as I strapped them into their seats and I could feel my blood pressure rising with every squawk.

I snapped. Totally lost it. All the way home (a whole two minutes drive) I went on and on about how that was it, no more freedom at the shops and it was back into the pram for every outing from now on. I told them how embarrassing it is when they carry on like they do in public and how I don't understand why they can't be good. I ranted and raved. I went on and on and on and on. You don't want to know what I said. . . There was steam coming out of my ears and my head was pounding. The kids were silent and listened to me raving. I think they were a little stunned to be honest and writing about it now, I'm a little embarrassed that I went off the way I did. They're just 2,3 and 4. I think maybe my expectations are too high and I need to accept their limitations. I also need to assert that I am the boss and they're not ready to roam free in the shops just yet, and thus we won't be selling the pram anytime soon. Little Miss asked me this evening if I was 'still angry mummy?' - yep, the guilt just went up a notch.

If people think I enjoy chasing my kids everywhere, picking up after them all the time and telling them to constantly stop it, come here, get down, put that down, get up off the floor... well they think wrong. It's bloody exhausting and stressful.  I can do it at home so why the hell would I want to do it in public too?  I would just love them to walk with me in the shops and let us get on with the errands we need to run. I know they're kids, I'm happy to factor in toilet breaks, food breaks, toy stops etc... I just want them to behave, a little. Please???

At what age did your kids graduate from the pram? At what age did they learn to behave and stay with you in the shops? Am I the only one with crazy wild children?