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One thing most moms can agree on: your little one drives you up a wall! Another absolute we might all acknowledge is these little annoying, imaginative, curious creatures really can teach (or at the very least remind) us of a few fundamental truths. You know, like the familiar, but oft-forgotten “treat others the way you want to be treated” or the foundational “sharing is caring.”

We all have those hilarious, infuriating, enlightening (or all of the above) moments with our kiddos that remind us of these lessons we were taught way back in the stone age when we were little tikes. Here, I share with you teachable moments brought to you by Matthew, my feisty, gutsy, spunky tot who’s taught me a thing or two since he came kicking and screaming into my life! Enjoy, but more importantly, take note.

This week my two year old reminded me that sometimes you have to bring out the beast.

Matthew really tested my cool the other day. I mean he REALLY took me there.

Allow me to explain: I have a good friend who has a four-year-old son. Matthew and said friend’s son absolutely adore each other! They have all types of boy fun when they’re together, and heck, we have all types of girl fun when we get them together, so it just works.

So that’s what we did this week. We started out at their house, allowing the boys to play around for a few, shooting and dribbling basketballs, then decided to move our party to a packed restaurant once everyone’s appetites began to take over around dinner time. As we waited (the longest ten minutes EVER) for our table, I noticed Matthew began to get restless. I don’t typically like to scold him too much in public, as he typically gets and understands the “you better not do that again” gaze and straightens up his act, but this night, I could tell things were going to go left at some point.

As he became more and more restless—I’m talking rolling on the floor, bothering people around him restless—I took him to the bathroom for a quick calming moment. I wanted to pull him away from the energy of the other waiting patrons and remind him that we were in public and were going to act accordingly. He hit me with the obligatory ok and

Shortly thereafter, we were (finally) being led to our seat by a friendly hostess. It was definitely dinnertime, tables were filled with people chomping down their food—there was barely an empty seat in the house. And just as we were approaching our booth, Matthew got the (not-so) bright idea to explore the entire restaurant. And by explore I mean take off running full speed, dipping through tables and dodging tray-carrying waiters and waitresses as if he were running an obstacle course familiar to him. As I looked, half-humiliated, half-unbelieving, I thought for sure he just needed one lap to rid himself of some excess energy, but no he ran around again, this time with me on his heels.

Normally, I’m calm in public settings. Discipline is rarely a problem for me with my boy. He’s typically a pretty go-with-the flow, well-mannered type of kid, but every now and again I have to bring out the beast. And this was one of those nights.

As I stood there on one side of a family’s table and he stood on the other, he knew trouble was impending, but he didn’t seem to care. I ran left. He ran right. I ran right. He ran left. And as I explained to all of our on-edge spectators that “he’s two,” hoping they knew for sure what that meant, I knew as soon as my hands clenched on to his body, there was no letting go until we got to the nearest bathroom stall.

And once that moment finally happened, and I carried him off to what would be his second time being scolded in the ladies room that evening, I realized that sometimes, no matter how much we try to talk things over with our kids, or redirect their energy, or put them in time out….now and again…every now and then, we have to bring out the beast.

And that’s exactly what I did. This time, he got it. And we ate happily ever after.

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