Today was my first taste (with undoubtedly many more to come) of a stranger contributing to a parenting situation. Although all ended up fine and it wasn't that big a deal, I do realize that I am going to have to develop some thicker skin for the future.
I picked up Little Pixie, Monkey and Skyman from school today to take them to a Dr. appointment. Foster Mom met us there and has been great on helping me slowly get acclimated to parenting these three (we still just have them on weekends). When we arrived, 2 of the kids jumped out of the van, but the third was missing. I turned around to see Monkey still in her seat with her head down, arms crossed, and the look that says "I am firmly planted here and do not plan on moving". Monkey enjoys huge amounts of attention and regularly employs drama (usually in the form of anger and temper tantrums) to get it. She declared that she wasn't going in and sat stoically. I ignored her and played with Little Pixie and Skyman while we waited for Foster Mom to arrive. The worst thing to do with Monkey is cater to her at these times because it is exactly what she wants and it feeds what we are trying to break her of. Foster Mom knows this better than anyone and when she saw the situation, she told me to just shut the van and head towards the building to give Monkey a moment to realize she needed to shape up and get inside.
We weren't going to leave her out of view, but I am sure that it must have looked that way to the lady that was sitting in the car next to my van. We arrived at the front door of the building and heard "Ma'am, ma'am!" We turned and Lady #1 yelled "the little girl in your van is crying!" I was glad Foster Mom took over and explained that we were aware of that and we were letting her work it out for a moment. However, we now felt under scrutiny and a little concerned that Lady #1 would try and get more involved, so Foster Mom took the other kids in and I went back to the van. I opened the door to Monkey screaming (not unexpected) and even then it took me a moment to convince her to get out and head in with me. She made it very clear that she was not happy about this and stomped her way to the building. Halfway there I heard "Ma'am, Ma'am" I didn't want to turn around as I couldn't imagine what Lady #1 would say now, but I did anyway and heard "your little girl left her shoe in the parking lot" Sure enough, Monkey had stomped right out of one shoe (probably purposefully) and I hadn't even noticed. I retrieved it, put it in my pocket and thanked Lady #1. I felt like maybe I should have a conversation with her as she was following us in, but I just didn't feel like I had it in me, so I just held the door for her and went on my way.
Monkey was now in the wrong waiting room (on purpose as she knew where we were going) with her other shoe laying in the middle of the floor. I put her shoes under a chair and told her to come on as we needed to get to our appointment and if she didn't want her shoes, we would just have to hope that they would still be there when we came back through. As I expected, this upset her, so she grabbed her shoes and put them on dragging out every little motion so that it seemed like 2 hours before she was trudging towards the correct waiting area. A few feet outside of the door, she leaned against the wall and staged another "I'm not going in" pose and I just kept on going. Foster Mom and I could both see her from the Waiting Area and didn't feel the desire to cave in to her games. However, it was only about a minute or two before Lady #2 stuck her head in and said "Does anyone know that there is a little girl standing out in the hallway..." Foster Mom again came to the rescue and said "We know, thanks." A few minutes later Monkey strolled in and was fine for the rest of the appointment.
My gut tells me that this was a minor incident with minor stranger involvement and I do think that everyone had the best of intentions, but it sure was annoying.
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