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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rites of Passage

As a mother, there are certain situations you must endure to be able to call yourself "seasoned" in the parenting field.

One of these situations involves a tantrum-throwing toddler in a public place...such as Target for instance.

When my oldest was still small enough to ride in the cart, I thought I had everything figured out about this parenting gig. We'd pass by other kids having super-sized meltdowns, screaming at the top of their lungs while the parents tried to quiet them with bribes or just ignore them altogether, and I'd always think to myself, that will never be me. I will do things differently. I'd walk past the red-faced toddler and look at the red-faced, flustered, embarrassed mom and judge. Why can't she control them? Why don't you just tell them no? 


Well...guess what? All of my children have had scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs, glass-shattering, spin-your-brain-in-circles, catastrophic meltdowns in public places.

And this sweet, dimple-cheeked, little guy is the latest offender.


He's going through the phase of tantrum-throwing I wish would pass over our house and land on some other mother who has the perfect child, has never heard of a tantrum, and forgets to take her judgy-pants off in the presence of other mothers with less-than-perfect kids.


Tantrums are not discriminating. They don't care where you are; who you're with; how many people are watching.


When this little man screams, heads turn in Exorcist style, people slow their cars down to make sure no one is bleeding, and I want to bury my head in a hole.

Good times.

There's no reasoning when it comes to tantrums; no bribes will work; getting mad only worsens the situation; so my best line of defense is to ignore.

Ignore the eardrum-shattering screams; ignore the stares from the strangers on the street; ignore the judgmental glares from other moms, shaking their heads in chagrin.

Soon enough, the tantrum will end. It will end whether I get embarrassed or not. It will end if I get mad or not.   It will end with shallow gasps for air. It will end with tear-stained cheeks. It will end with a "sorry" and a hug and "I won't do it again".

But the strangers and the judgy moms and the drivers in the cars don't get to see the end.

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I guess I've learned my lesson about judging people...

especially mothers with tantrum-throwing children who make their heads spin in circles.

  parenting BY dummies    

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