By K. Hecht, P. Berman, & A. Hosack
Davy is being so stubborn. He is not listening. He is ignoring me when I say he has to clean up!
It was a beautiful day and Claire had taken Davy to the park to play. Everything had gone well for two hours but now they needed to leave. Claire had to go shopping, make dinner, put Davy to bed, and start working on her job resume for her class tomorrow.
Claire said clearly, “Davy, if you do not put your toys back in our wagon, I will not give you ice cream tonight before bed.” Davy didn’t want to leave the park. He was having a great time playing in the sand box. He loved sand. It was so squishy under his fingers and he could cover his legs in it. He heard his mom telling him to clean up but was pretending he didn’t. Claire counted to three, which was his signal he was about to lose his ice cream.” At the count of three, Claire began putting his toys away.
“Stop that, Stop that, Stop that!” Davy said in a loud voice pounding his legs down in the sand along with each “stop”. Claire was getting very frustrated, but she knew what to do and just continued to put his toys away. When his last bucket and shovel was in the wagon, Claire said,” three”. Davy stopped pounding his legs. He suddenly realized he had lost his ice cream. He loved ice cream. He was so mad he screamed out, “I hate you mommy!” and threw sand in her face.
The sand got into Claire’s eyes and made them really hurt. As she tried to help herself, Davy started grabbing his toys and throwing them back into the sand. That was more than she could take. She could barely see for the tears streaming down her face, she shattered….
Claire dragged a crying Davy up out of the sandbox ignoring his whimper that she was hurting his arm. At the wagon, she shoved him hard down and his back hit the metal handle of the wagon. He looked up at her face and instantly became very quiet. Claire dragged the wagon back to the house, leaving all Davey’s toys behind.
Reaching the garage, Mr. Carson came out to help. He noticed the sand in Claire’s hair and her streaming eyes and knew immediately what was wrong. “You go ahead and get that sand out of your face,” he said with concern, “I will get Davy back into the house.” Mr. Carson looked down at the very quiet Davy and took him out of the wagon and put him back on his feet. Mr. Carson asked Davy what happened. Davy just whispered, “I don’t get ice cream and mom left my toys at the park.” He burst into tears.
Claire put her face in a sink of water and finally got the sand out of her eyes, but they were still pounding because the water itself didn’t feel good in her eyes. Claire looked at herself and saw the huge red rings that were her eyes. She shook the sand out of her hand and then cleaned up the bathroom. When Mrs. Carson came in her room to say she had made dinner, Claire was crying and staring at her fish. “What happened?”
I can’t tell Mrs. Carson about the bad mother in me. I will have to make something up. I don’t want to lie to Mrs. Carson. I love her so much.
Claire looked up at Mrs. Carson and tried to smile- but it just didn’t work. “Did Davy give you a hard time at the park?” Mrs. Carsons asked. Claire just nodded and wiped her eyes. “Every mother has bad days Claire, don’t be too hard on yourself. Let’s try to have a nice dinner and maybe we can watch something funny on TV after Davy is in bed?”
Claire did her best to pretend everything was normal during dinner. Davy could tell his mommy was still mad at him because she never gave him a playful nudge during dinner. He was very obedient when Claire told him it was time to go to bed. She held his hand as they walked up the stairs, but she didn’t look at him or smile.
Once he was in bed, she asked him what story he wanted. Davy whispered, “I’m bad. I don’t deserve a story.” No. This was not right. Kids misbehaved sometimes. Claire had learned that at Head Start. Claire didn’t want Davy to think he was bad. She pulled him gently into a big hug, “Davy, you aren’t bad. You are a good little boy who had trouble listening today.” Tomorrow, you can be a good listener and earn your ice cream.”
Davy was so relieved his mommy still loved him. “Mommy I love you so much! Can you read me Good Night Moon?” Claire sighed with relief. Davy was okay, her good mom was back. She read him the book twice, the way he liked it, tucked him in, and then went downstairs. She told the Carsons most of what happened, but not about shoving Davy into the wagon.
I can’t let them know about the bad mommy in me. I have to fight her down deep inside me so she can’t ever get out!”
No one can be a perfect parent. If you ever feel discouraged, or know someone who is, consider this: