Saturday, May 9, 2015

People of Panera: We are SO SO SO sorry

Today promised to be a busy but wonderful day for Team Giessler. Scott & the big kids were set to spend the morning and early afternoon at William Lawrence Camp for the annual camp clean up. The kids would get a chance to hang out all day with some of their camp buds and (kinda) pitch in with raking and stick retrieval. Scott would presumable find something slightly more Varsity level to clean/rake/mow/haul. The late afternoon would find Scott getting cleaned up and heading to Wolfeboro for the annual Promenade, where he would announce the couples before they headed onto the boat for their lake cruise/prom. (He's a killer MC, in case you were wondering). Then, he and Elliott would head to the movies to see The Avengers. Due to great weather, good food, and plenty of pals for the kids to play with, the first part of their day seems to have gone as planned. As I write we are on phase 2: the prom. The weather remains delightful (if a bit buggy) so I foresee nothing but smooth sailing for Scott's & Elliott's evening.

For the smallest Giessler and me, the bright and early morning found us heading over to school for our running club's annual 5K. Gabe is a veteran of this race, having been in or at it for 3 years straight. I am always a little worried about how he will handle a whole lot of hanging around but he was a champion. While we waited for the start, he played pretty delightfully on his own for entire minutes at a time, then would come to me and in a Hollywood Adorable voice and with Disney-worthy eyes say, "Mommy, do you want to come play with me?" And of course I would until he seemed at ease on his own and again, where upon I would return to 'helping' get ready for the race. (I showed up early but honestly, I was not very helpful! Sorry to our RD, Carol!)

The race itself was great, too. I had run the course with Gabe on Thursday (with 11-years-old-but-still-very-unsure-on-his-bike-because-we-live-in-boonies-and-bike-riding-requires-cars-and-travel-to-safe-places-where-children-won't-die-and-frankly-we-just-never-made-it-a-priority-until-a-couple-of -weeks-ago-when-he-came-to-us-so-very-upset-because-it-was-humiliating-that-he-was-so-bad-on-his-bike-even-though-he-was-11-for-the-love-of-god) after school when it was very hot. (All things being relative). Keeping my eye on Tom and keeping myself hydrated was a struggle, but I finished the course not loving the time on the clock. Oh,well. But today, the weather was beautiful for a 5K and we trotted along very happily. The stroller gave me a mental edge, in that I felt not obligation to go fast and I just trotted comfortably. (Fun fact: I ran  mile 1 in 8;31 and miles 2 & 3 at the EXACT same pace: 8:12. I am Robot.) Gabe was very agreeable for the whole race, if a little chatty. He was even very agreeable waiting around for awards. He accepted my 2nd-in-age-group award and got a special certificate for his own 'participation'.

Many of my friends and co-workers commented on how sweet he was and what a good boy he was for the whole, long morning. Wasn't I a lucky mama? (If these conversations were shadows, they would all be named Fore.)
He said we were # 3, 2, 1. So smart! 
We loaded up post-race and headed to our next destination: grocery store. He threw a small (but welcome) wrench into the works by falling asleep in the car. Naps are almost never a bad thing so I decided to drive past  the store I was going to hit and go to one further along. If you can help it, you obviously never want to interrupt a kid's nap! Gabe has a history of being awakened mid-nap and things not going well. I was starving by the time he (cheerfully) woke up so I decided we would hit Panera first, then shop. Thank goodness he woke up of his own accord so we wouldn't have any meltdowns. (There's that shadow again!)

Into Panera we go. Into the bathroom we go. I go. He goes. But he is doing a slow version of his business. Lots of chatter and some #2. Oh, well. It's fine. Until a mom with a baby comes in and I hear through the handicap stall door, "Oh, is there a changing table in there?"


Okay, Gabe. You need to hurry up now because a baby needs this stall.

I'm not done. (I'm not convinced of this. I think he's just chilling).

I know, honey, but please push-push-push and finish so the baby can get her diaper changed.

I'm not done! (Seriously. He is done. He's messing with me.... But what if he's not?)

Okay. I know. Just do your best.

I'm! Not! Done!

(Reader, you think is the bad part don't you? Oh, how I wish!)

Okay, honey, I'm just going to lift you up super quick and put you on the other toilet. There's no one in the other stall. We'll just scoot over there.

(A perfectly maneuvered, bare butt, pants down transition to stall #2. His butt and pants, not mine, FYI. The baby's mom was very grateful.)


All of his language, at this point, became incomprehensible.

He was loud. He was angry.

He had his pants down and he was sitting on the floor.

Eventually I gathered that he wanted me to get out of the stall. He does plenty of solo bathroom trips at home so I thought this was a reasonable request, even if it was requested in a most unreasonable manner.

Then? He locked me out.

And continued to scream.

And rolled over on his belly - pants still down - so that his tiny junk was all over the floor.

And he screamed some more and got, if it's possible, even louder.

I stood outside the stall extremely calmly, all things considered. When he took it down to jumbo jet decibel levels, I soothingly suggested he open the door so we could go get some lunch.

More incomprehensible screaming.

Good freaking Lord. I still did not panic. I found the whole thing a little bit amusing. I mean, I've been in the Mom biz for 11+ years. I've raised my own kids and to some extent taken care of dozens more if you count babysitting gigs, nieces, nephews, and my years as a daycare provider. And THIS? THIS was brand new. I was pretty impressed that he found a way to surprise me.

I wish I could report that my very rational, loving, empathetic talk on the other side of the door had done the trick. I also wish I could report that 5 or 6 customers did not come into the rest room and find us in that state. Sadly, I can report neither.

I CAN report that I never freaked out or yelled and I never even felt like I had to FORCE myself to stay calm. I truly just pondered the unique nature of the situation I found myself in.

Eventually, I had to slide under the stall, pull up his pants, unlock the door and extract him from the restaurant. He did not love that. I did not love that. I failed to look closely at the restaurant patrons and workers to see where the whole sitch fell for them on the 'loving it' scale. I'll assume they found  my parenting method both insightful and inspiring. Possibly award-worthy. Yup. I'll just assume that....

Outside, he wanted to get as far away from me as possible. Some form of Safety First training was still inside his Reptilian Brain because he ran away from me but stayed out of the parking lot, so there's that. He continued to scream words and demands I could not comprehend, but eventually, huddled behind an evergreen bush, he said something I could understand:

I. Want. Ice. Cream!

Now he was talking my language!

I want ice cream, too! How about we go get some lunch and then go get some ice cream! Does that sound good?

More sobbing but he walked over to me and collapsed into my arms.

Yeah. I know. I totally rewarded a fit, maybe. But the reward was after he ate a healthy lunch and after we spent about an hour in the grocery store. So, I like to think of it as verbally rewarding a fit but by the time the reward actually came, he did not associate it with the fit.

There's something about this 3-year-old and waking up from naps. It's not good. Not good at all.

Good news is, what ever my Mother's Day brings, I'll feel I have earned it!

P.S. Hilariously, as I was about to hit "publish" on this, Gabe went running into the bathroom. Diarrhea. A little in his undies cuz he couldn't get the bathroom door open in time "When you're walking down the hall and feel something fall..." Happy Mother's Day, all!!!