This afternoon, we went to the YMCA we just joined, and swam in the pool (along with half the local population). It's a nice hot day, and a good time was had by all concerned. Oddly, my kids often fight like banshees at home, but at the pool they get along just fine, and tow each other around the pool for hours on end. I'm not sure why, but hey, whatever works.
When it came time to leave, however, the five-year-old decided he needed a snack from the vending machine. Mommy wasn't in the mood to dawdle, so the kid started screaming like the world was coming to an end. If my experience as a mom has taught me anything, it's that you can't make a kid behave in public (what am I going to do, flog him? Stuff a sock in his mouth?), so we all walked back to the car, the kid screaming and strangers giving me you-are-a-bad-mother looks. I gave him a couple of warnings to behave, but he didn't. When we got in the car, I informed him we were going through a drive-through window and getting soft drinks, but that because he'd misbehaved in public, he wouldn't get one.
Unsurprisingly, more screaming ensued. I WANT A DRINK!!!!! was howled all the way home. After a few more warnings, I gave up, turned up the radio, and sang along-- which of course annoyed him into howling even more loudly. The other kids winced, but grasped what I was doing and ignored him. We got our drinks, then drove the few remaining moments home.
I took him out of the car and informed him that because he'd been behaving like a two-year-old, he'd be taking a nap like a two-year-old. He hasn't taken a nap in years, and he instantly went into angry pride mode-- I can't take a nap, I'm a big boy! I took him upstairs and put him into bed, and informed him that he'd be there for an hour after he stopped screaming.
He quit screaming, but in a few minutes I was called back upstairs: "I need more water, and I need a different stuffed animal, Mommy."
I went back into his room. "Fine," I said, giving him water and letting him pick out a different bear. "But the hour starts over again every time I have to come in here."
He sighed, lay down, and cuddled up with his bear, and I haven't heard a peep out of him since. He's a hard-headed little guy... but he knows when he's beaten.