Monday

Slap Heard 'Round the World (also known as "A Business Trip and a Temper Tantrum")

This fall has been a bit hectic. I've been preparing for a trial, involved in a leadership development program, and had several speaking engagements out of town.  It's been a fun and frenetic time.

I took the family along for the first two engagements.  However, the one last Friday was farther away so I flew alone and stayed over night. The baby did not take too kindly to being left behind.

Despite being only 13 months she is very astute.  Somehow she knew that my trip was different than leaving for work. When I was at the door I swear she looked at my luggage, did the math, and realized that I didn't need that much stuff to go to work for the day.  Once her brain added everything together she went nuts!

She started crying and writhing about. The nanny was holding her and looked a bit unsettled. I was feeling terribly guilty. So, in a gesture of love I leaned in to kiss her.  Somehow the baby knew that kiss did not mean that I would be staying home. Quite suddenly, she slapped me.

I'm not talking about a cute little baby slap.  I'm talking about a well-calculated, epic, open hand to the cheek, Scarlett O'Hara to Rhett Butler kind of slap.  The kind of slap that stings. The kind of slap that Vivien Leigh probably needed multiple takes to perfect to get it right in "Gone with the Wind", my daughter nailed on the first try.

The nanny looked and me and said, "That was a perfect slap!" Yes, to add insult to injury, I didn't have the luxury of getting slapped in private. There was a witness! Then she started crying again.

Lest you think that it was accidental or coincidental.  I was there. That slap was the most intentional act I've witnessed in a long time.  She stopped crying for a moment after she did it and stared me down.  I believe that she did it out of frustration, since she hasn't yet learned how to form complete sentences or even discernible words consistently.

I handled the situation completely wrong. My face got hot. I was embarrassed. I felt guilty. And I left.  The taxi was waiting for me.  So, I walked out the door. I missed the teachable moment entirely. I learned something though. My baby is smart and strong. And, I am never leaning in for a kiss when she's in the middle of a tantrum again!

Other moms I need you!  Please share your stories of guilt, tantrums, and embarrassment.  I need to know that I am not alone!!!
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