If you had been in Point Pleasant on Thursday evening, we might have run into each other. If you had been searching for a spot in the municipal parking lot, across from the ride park, then it might have been your lucky day.
At a little after six, I rolled up to another minivan and motioned for the driver to roll down the window. He was a dad with a car full of kids. I said, "Hey, I already paid for six hours of parking and I've got to leave. Want my ticket?"
He looked confused. I don't think he really understood the awesome gift that I was offering him. Thirteen dollars worth of awesomeness. He also might have been taken aback by the screams, kicks and wails resonating from the back seat. I smiled, thrust the ticket at him, and kept driving.
This was a first. A milestone. And honesty, I had seen it coming.
A couple weeks ago, my sweet, polite, well-behaved almost-five-year-old began a downward spiral. "Please" and "Thank you" were replaced by "I want it!" and "NOW!". He was yelling and hitting and grabbing. Standing on the furniture, eating like an animal, lying about brushing his teeth and peeing with the seat down. Attempts at reasoning with him fell on deaf ears and he could most likely be found in time out.
As a matter of fact, he mastered the 'time out' maneuver.
He would be engaged in some unlawful activity-- like strangling his little brother or knocking over furniture. A parent would announce a time out and he would silently go to his little chair. No arguing, no crying. He would sit there quietly, waiting to be released. When time was up, he'd be back at it in a matter of minutes. Throwing toys at his little brother or purposely destroying something.
So we elevated to the 'go to bed early' maneuver.
This seemed a little more effective because he hated it so much more. He would head up to his room, crying and pleading for more chances. Promising to 'not be crazy anymore'. But we stayed the course and told each other it was for the best. That this was going to make a difference.
But the next morning, within 10 minutes of waking up, he was chasing poor Liam around the house. Growling and clawing like a wild animal as his little brother fled in terror-- screaming and crying, tripping over his own feet and wailing. All to his big brother's delight.
So, the other night, we elevated to 'go directly to home, do not see fireworks, do not collect any cotton candy'. In other words, we abandoned our plans for rides, games and fireworks because Will simply would not listen. He was torturing his brother, running around, yelling and fighting with some of the other kids we were with. It was unbelievable, really.
Surely, this would make an indelible impression. He would remember this next time.
So here we are. Tonight. At Great Adventure. On the Carousel.
Ahhh... this is more like it. A nice family outing.
But wait. What's this?
Caught in the act! Attacking his little brother.
My poor husband is going to lose it. Really.
So we're staying the course and waiting out what is hopefully a short phase. We're trying to be patient and firm without flipping out. We are drinking heavily. We are hanging in there.
And if all else fails, I believe that an exorcism may be in order.