I don't even really want to talk about it.
My four-year-old had a two-year-old-style tantrum today in McDonald's.
The morning had started off so well. After a good night's sleep and a walk through the morning routines as per the schedule, Babysitter Danielle came and watched Nathan. His little friend Owen came over because Owen's mom had a conference call. Everyone played nicely. They went to the park until I got back. Then the plan was for Owen and his mom to join us at McDonald's.
And somehow the low blood-sugar or the general transitions of the week added up to a complete meltdown when I told Nathan he had to eat two chicken nuggets before playing on the playground. This is always the policy at McDonald's. I have very few policies in life, but I do have eat two nuggets before you play.
Somehow ... OMG ... TWO CHICKEN NUGGETS was like the worst punishment possible!
You're the worst mom! I hate you!
Now, the thing that's so hard with Nathan is that punishments tend to escalate his misbehavior. So while I did punish him by putting him a time-out, he still yelled I hate you! loudly during the time-out, and when I added more time for that verbal offense, he just got madder and madder.
Complicating things, we had gotten a ride with our friends, so I couldn't just grab my screaming child and leave. My very kind friend who drove us did offer to take us home, but I was feeling so terrible for depriving her child of the playground, churubic as he was sitting there eating his meal without complaint.
I whisked yelling Nathan out of the playground area and into the main part of the restaurant. A stupid but well- meaning stranger offered to watch him for me while I left. Umm, yeah, thanks, but even in my advanced state of anger I was not going to let a stranger watch him. But she just wouldn't let it go. "No, really, you go. I'll take him. I love children," she said.
"No, thank you, that's okay," I grunted while trying to restrain my child.
At that point I had no choice but to take my friend up on her offer to take us home. In anger, Nathan threw his Happy Meal toy in the trash, then proceeded to launch into a full-blown wail about how his toy was in the trash.
Most irrational child ever.
Worst mother ever.
Because this has to be my fault. I don't see any other four-year-olds acting like that. I was so thoroughly embarrassed. I feel like such a failure.