In the middle of a spontaneous walk that ended up being admittedly too ambitious, foolishly close to lunch time, and with a stroller that was much too small to be of any help, Thomas decided he was done.
He stopped, laid down in someone’s yard and yelled, “I can’t walk, Inna go ni-night!”
I did the whole, “Ok! Have a good sleep! See you later!” And kept walking, but then he called my bluff and snuggled into the grass.
I thought about leaving him, seeing how far he’d let me go, but this winter one of my neighbors noticed an outdoor light being turned off and on at my house, and they called the police. An officer showed up at my door at 8 a.m. I was holding a newborn, apologizing to my toddler for cutting his waffle with a fork instead of a knife, was in a stand-off with my daughter about her clothes, and I still hadn’t packed my kindergartener’s lunch. I opened the door and the officer asked, “Ma’am, is everything ok in here?” I looked at him and said, “Um…no?”
Considering my neighborhood’s low threshold for what constitutes an police-worthy emergency, I wanted to avoid either a tantrum or child abandonment. I walked over to Thomas and tried to sweet-talk him into walking. GUESS WHETHER OR NOT THAT WORKED.
Then I wrangled him onto my back, and tried to hold him with one hand and steer the stroller with the other.
We were moving, but it was slow and really, really hard. Especially because Thomas refused to hold onto me, and was screaming: “NO DROP ME! WHY ARE YOU DROPPING ME?”
I tried to explain that while he was slipping, I would not drop him. And BY THE WAY, if he wanted to walk THAT OPTION WAS AVAILABLE.
We kept walking, struggling down the street, stopping to readjust every half-block or so.
I hoisted Thomas on my back, and suddenly he yelled, “I’m…SO…FRUSTRATING!!!!”
Mary Virginia, who was happily trotting along side us, piped up, “That’s right Thomas, you are frustrating! And so am I! We’re both frustrating! That’s all we are!”
“Yeah,” Thomas continued. “I’m frustrating. Right, Mommy?”
Anyone who happened to look out their window would have seen a crazy lady with one kid in a stroller, one kid dangling from her back and another gathering dandelions suddenly FALL TO THE GROUND laughing.
If they had thought to call the police, that crazy lady would have asked for a ride home, please.