Let me start this post with a brag.
My child is a wonderful little baby - very easy going, happy most of the time, generous and giving (she likes to feed me her food - mainly the vegetables she doesn't like), adaptable in most situations. So, basically we've had a pretty easy go of it this past year or so. People always comment on how well-behaved she is at restaurants, in stores, at parties, at friends' homes, etc. You get the picture, angel child, right?
However, there's another side to my child. One that I don't see very often. One that makes me weep and gnash my teeth. One that makes me pray to baby Jesus.
This devil child, Satan incarnate, came to greet me on Saturday.
The day started out fairly well. My family and I met at Chili's for lunch to carb up for our day at the mall. My main goal for the day was to have Anna take pictures with Santa since I lost my "Mom of the Year" badge last year for not taking her. To reclaim that status, I figured I'd battle the crowds in a place that's equivalent to the DMV in my opinion (I hate to shop, I think I'm a man). My child is worth it, right? That's what I had to keep telling myself as we got closer to the entrance to the mall.
Let me back up and say that Anna was an angel at lunch. As long as she had food in front of her, she was quiet. She eats like a defensive lineman, so the food was a flowin' all lunch long, and she didn't make a single peep. How proud was I?
However, the second we hit that stale mall air, my angel baby was replaced by Lucifer baby. Lucifer Baby Anna Kate. LBAK if you want to have anything monogrammed for her.
While waiting in line for pictures with Santa, it slowly snowballed. First it was a whimper. Then it was a whine. Then it was a full-out cry until I gave her a pen and paper for her to hold (she likes office products). As soon as we took the pen and paper away to take the pictures, she freaked out. The photographer managed to get one photo of her where she was smiling - the rest of them looked like she was being tortured by Santa. Looking back, I should've purchased one of those to use as future blackmail photos when her boyfriends come over for dinner.
Here's the one photo where she's not crying (it's a picture of a picture, so please excuse the quality):
I figured once we got her away from the big man in the red suit, she'd calm down. Nope. Wrong.
It got worse. Much worse.
She wasn't happy in her stroller. She wasn't happy being held. She wasn't happy eating ice cream. She wasn't happy no matter what we did. Puppet shows, dance contests, jumping up and down like a gorilla - nothing worked. She was unimpressed, and we looked like fools. People were staring and whispering and pointing. They were growling at us and running away. We just stood there paralyzed and unable to really do much of anything to appease this viscious beast.
The worst part of it all was that I dressed inappropriately. Little did I know that when it's 40 degrees outside, it's 80 degrees inside. The turtleneck sweater I was wearing felt like a Brillo Pad straight jacket. Sweat, stress, anxiety = bad mood for all. It made for a very miserable day for everyone involved, us, my child, the shoppers around us. No fun was had. The Grinch, Scrooge and Lucifer had taken control of my sweet baby girl and spread their misery to all.
This tirade continued until she finally conked out in her stroller after Joe pushed her around in circles for about an hour. Then we ran into a "friend" who decided to lift the stroller cover and talk to her, and the beast was released again.
At that point, we gave up and admitted defeat. We left the mall, got some Popeyes chicken on the way home, and burrowed in our home praying for a more peaceful tomorrow.
The peace came eventually, but we are still dealing with the post-traumatic-stress that day caused. I still wake up in the middle of the night and hear the cries of that day much like the battle sounds from wars past.
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