My brain was in a complete fog. I was exhausted and craving coffee. Thoughts refused to formulate in logical progression. But there was a complete lack of palatable coffee in my house.
So, before my daughter’s promised Sunday afternoon plans, I drove us directly to Starbucks.
“What would you like, Lizzie?”
She told me a red velvet cupcake. But no, if they don’t have that, then a cake pop. Oh wait, I actually want a vanilla milk.
Of course she made these changes while I was pulled up to the drive-through speaker.
Confused and coffee-less, I tried to make sense of her order and placed it. No cupcake, so she got a milk.
As soon as I handed her the milk and began to pull away from the coffee shop, she wailed. And screamed. And my head throbbed.
“Noooo!!!! Mommy what? Where is my CAKE POP?!?!” Plopping in her seat in complete frustration she kept lamenting her lack of dessert.
My muscles tensed up. The screaming hit that last nerve that the coffee was supposed to soothe. I lost it.
“Just STOP! Stop this right now! I misunderstood you. And you know what? This is a treat anyways, you ungrateful, spoiled girl. STOP SCREAMING! And the crying and SCREAMING! 3 year olds scream and cry, you are older and should freaking KNOW BETTER! For the love of all that is sacred, I am never taking you out again!!!!”
Then I began to lecture her on how losing one’s temper only makes matters worse.
Except, I only made it through the first sentence when I realized something:
I was screaming at my daughter while attempting to teach her about the importance of controlling one’s temper.
The disparity between words and actions made me stop mid-sentence.
I took a deep breath.
“I just yelled at you. I seriously lost my temper. I am sorry, Lizzie, I should have used my words. Just like I am trying to teach you to verbally communicate your feelings instead of exploding, I need to work on doing the same thing to you.”
I asked her if we could help each other. Her eyes fixed on mine in the rear-view mirror. She understood how screaming just made things worse, because she just saw it first-hand. She agreed to try and speak before screaming next time.
And I did the same.