I, like every Mom, am constantly wondering if I am doing what is right for my son. Today, I decided at the last minute that I was going to take my son to the mall playground to meet up with our playgroup. Oddly enough, I was just having a conversation with a mom from the group last night and telling her that every time I take my son there, I wish that I hadn't!
When you there, there is a decent sized open area with 3 little slides, some huge books that the kids can climb on, and NO way of keeping your child in the area if they decide to run! It's really annoying! there place is enclosed on 3 sides and the fourth side has two giant openings that are perfect for a curious toddler. On top of that, my son knows that the elevator is right across from this play area, so he tries to take off to push the button on that thing a lot!
My son has honestly never been too bad about running away, but today was horrible! Today, he was really testing boundaries and took off 5 times! I have always been a mother that would rather correct the problem than ignore it, so rather than give up and go home after this happened the second and third times, I just put him in time out over and over and each time it lasted a little longer. He was stuck in a little corner each time and after he was finished with his time, I would remind him that if he left the play area he would be back in time out. He said "Sorry Mommy." each time and then took off playing. That would last about two minutes before he would run again.
I really thought I was doing the right thing by trying to nip the problem in the butt and having him be punished for what he was doing. For the times that he DID stay inside, I also praised him. However, I kept thinking, "If I were watching another mother do this with her child, I would be thinking 'BOY! That lady is a really glutton for punishment! She's not getting through to her child AT ALL!'" However, I was also thinking about how well I know my son. He is a fast learner and he picks up on things quickly, so I thought what I was doing was going to be helpful.
In the end, after 5 attempts at changing the behavior, I did not have another ounce of patience or energy in my newly pregnant body (Yes, I'm just 5 weeks, but I'm so exhausted already that I like to sleep the entire day!). So, I picked up my little guy, said goodbye, and we just started walking. I needed to return a shirt so he walked the entire length of the mall with me to do it. There was a little part of me that was thinking "HA HA! You have to walk! With those little tiny legs! You're gonna be so tired soon!"
Have you had days like this? When is it enough? More importantly, how is it that out of a group of nearly 10 moms in our group, I was the only one that was chasing my child around and not enjoying the chatting time with the other moms? That....that REALLY sucked!