Parenting fail

When I got home yesterday from camping, I was focused on the task of cleaning up.  The big cooler that contained all of our food had to be unpacked.  I opened the lid to take out a few items at a time, wiping them dry from bathing in the melted ice, and putting them into the fridge or freezer.

At one point, I turned around, and saw that Joshua had opened up the cooler lid, took out a little mesh bag of cherry tomatoes, and was shaking and flinging the mesh bag around.  The tomatoes have been bathing in the icy water, and all the shaking and flinging was getting water all over the walls and the floor.

I was already grouchy from all the mishaps from the camping trip, and was dying to take a shower after I cleaned up all of our stuff.  I said, “Oh no, Joshua!” with a tone of “Oh man, how could you do this!”  I took the bag of tomatoes out of his hands without any warning, and started drying the tomatoes with a tea towel.  Somehow, in my mind, all the water on the walls and on the floor was just another mess I had to clean up, and anything getting in my way of my unpacking job is an enemy.

Joshua started to cry.  Not a temper tantrum cry, but a sad and guilty kind of cry.  “Wah…!” 

I felt like a terrible mother.  What I should have done, is explain to him that all the shaking is getting water everywhere, and ask him to give me the bag of tomatoes at his will.  Every opportunity should be used to teach and communicate, but I was so focused on my task at hand, that I never considered his intentions and his feelings. 

I knelt down in front of him, and held him in my arms.  I asked him, “Joshua, were you trying to help mommy unpack?”  He was still sobbing, and managed a very sad “Yeah!” in between breathes.  I told him I was very sorry, and asked if he would forgive me.  He said yes.

So, he was trying to help me unpack, and yet I was ungrateful and hurtful.  I’m such a jackass.

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