We've been having a hard time with our middle child lately. (If you're a real life friend of mine, this is probably no secret to you. In fact, if you're just a facebook friend, its probably not a secret to you.) He's been extremely defiant, and just generally naughty.
We, at first, thought it was an attention thing. So, I started carving out more time for him, just the two of us. We cook together almost every day, leaving baby Zeke and O with daddy. E started working outside with him more, leaving the other two with me. Grandma and Grandpa have taken him over there house, just him, a few times, too.
While somethings have gotten better, (i.e. pooping in the pants or on the floor. thank GOODNESS that is over!) the defiance has gotten so much worse.
Take today for an example.
O's at preschool, so I just have A and I. We head to Target to get groceries.
I tell A the "rules" of Target before we get in. He's a peach (well, mostly. as much of a peach as a 3.5 yr old boy can be.)
We get to Costco.
He's pretty good for the first 10 minutes or so. It starts to go south fast when I don't let him have his own sample of "cup of noodles" because its burning hot. I ask him to share with me. He does his little fit business, but, eventually gets over it.
We go to the fudge sample area to buy some for E for our anniversary on Sunday (shhhh. don't tell!) I ask to try some. A wants some, too. I tell him that we will have to share since we already had a sample of fudge earlier and I just wanted to taste the kind that I was buying. He doesn't want to share with me. He wants his own. I ask him if he wants a bite of mine, he says no. I eat said sample. A starts the hysterics, saying he wanted a bite, etc.
I realize we need to leave, and quickly. I calm him down and we head to the check out. Its our turn now, but he wants to get out. He says he's scared of the man who is unloading our groceries. (it is kind of scary when you're 3 and they take you away from your mom.) I take him out of the cart.
I now realize that taking him out was a bad idea as he's trying to squirt a bottle of vinegar and water that they have hanging on side of the conveyor belt. I tell him to stop. He does, but then proceeds to put his fingers up near the belt. We talk about why that isn't good, etc.
I'm paying now. A is crawling underneath the cart, on the bottom area. I ask him at least 3 times not to do this because the worker is trying to load our groceries.
I still have my contacts to pick up at the vision center, BUT...
Get me out of here, now!!!
Run by the trash can to throw our trash away. I ask A if he wants his water. He says "no". I say, "are you sure?" He says "yes." I throw water into trash. Guess who starts crying about me throwing his water away? he's so upset that he tries to get it out of the trash can (ew!) I drag him away and tell him he can show the worker at the door our receipts.
He takes the receipts, but is clearly still mad about the water. I'm thinking, at this point, that he'll get over it when the lady at the door draws a smiley face on the receipts. He normally loves that.
He walks all the way up to the worker, and as she extends her hands to take the receipts, he throws them on the ground! I make him pick up the receipts.
Let me add here, just in case you forgot, baby I is NOT a car seat baby. So, through out this whole ordeal, I have a baby in a wrap on my hip. Making a 3.5 year old pick up something off the floor when he doesn't want to is hard enough. Not to mention with a 4mth old attached to you.
So, back to A. I make him pick up the receipts, then I hand them to the worker. A then throws himself on the ground, screaming and crying. I have to pick him up and put him in the cart. He pretty much lands on my bread. The worker says "ma'am, he's smashing your bread".
I'm so embarrassed/frustrated/angry/mortified that I say, "thanks. I know." She then says "well, you might want to get him off of it."
Honestly, I think at this point in our fiasco, we have more to worry about than smashed bread. Like how to tame your 3.5 year old. Is there a movie out like that, yet?
As I drive home, I become more and more embarrassed and angry. Now, though, I'm just at a complete loss. I did everything "right". Everything that I feel I should have done was done. So, what's his deal? When is he going to learn that his decisions have consequences?
Please don't tell me its not until he's 21.