Tuesday

Toddler Tales: Tantrums Happen

As the mom of a toddler I have learned that life can present unexpected challenges. There is one universal principle though, meltdowns happen. You cannot always predict when your child will throw up and ruin their outfit, fall down and dirty their clothes and/or cry uncontrollably. However, at some point, it will happen.

A couple of weekends ago my daughter was under the weather. Ideally, her parents would have kept her home to rest. However, her parents were optimistic. We believed that she was merely tired. So, we took her to a picnic nearly two hours away and expected her to be on her best behavior. To her credit, while she wasn't at her most charming, she was fine. She was polite and mostly quiet. She even doled out a few smiles.

We should have considered ourselves lucky, but instead we got cocky.


The next day we planned to take her to an adult party at a restaurant.  Last year we took her to adult parties all of the time. However, now it is different. Before she was content to do what we wanted her to do.  Now, she has her own mind.

This time she protested. She launched a full out “I am not going anywhere with you people” war. There was crying. There was refusal to enter the car and get into the car seat. She made her body stiff and held on to either side of the car door.  She exhibited such strength and conviction. If she hadn't been completely disrupting our plans, I may have been impressed.  Ultimately, she worked herself into such a tizzy that she threw up all over her striped Gymboree dress!  As her emotions escalated so did our frustration.

Andre said, “This baby is out of control!” In his masculine wisdom he told me that I needed to teach “the” baby how to behave.  Up until that moment she had been “our” baby or “daddy’s sweet girl”. It’s funny how a little crying can drive a daddy crazy.  He started saying that he needed to take the day off one day to "take care of things".  Since when have dads automatically known how to cure tantrums?! 

Needless to say, his criticisms of my parenting went over really well as she was crying and I was upset…

The funny thing is, after we got upset, she calmed down. Perhaps her stomach had been upset, which is why she was crying like a mad woman. Or, perhaps she just wanted to make sure that we understood her.  Either way, she calmed down.  We finally got some sense though. We took her to my parents’ house instead of to the party.  When we arrived we were a sight to behold, mommy and slightly frazzled, baby wearing only a diaper and a smile. We left her there serenely playing the piano. Of course my mother thought that I had exaggerated the meltdown. Perhaps the toddler was secretly lobbying for some grandma time all along? 

Andre and I left and had a great time at the party. It helped that we were greeted by a very eager bartender who offered us cocktails! After the party, we resisted our urge to flee for the hills and returned to my parents’ house to retrieve the toddler. Although slightly under the weather, she was about as serene as we had left her and happy to see us. She probably just needed a break from her parents! (I'm going to have to have to ask my homey, Heidi Murkoff, for some advice. She's the expert!)
Photo of the toddler mid-meltdown... (Different day, same tears!)
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