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The Tantrum Walk

Posted by Patience on August 28, 2009 at 7:33 AM
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It was a rough day at the community pool. Community usually involves sharing of some sort. A big round blue tube was the object of affection for all in the baby pool. Lucy was struggling to take turns and we had reached our limit of times we could navigate sucessfully. It was late anyway and time to go home.

I gave the general five minute warning but one last conflict cut us short around 1 minute 32 seconds in. She was running from me, the exit was not going to be pretty. So I held her hand, she went limp which meant I ended up dragging her across the pool while I held a baby on my hip. "You're hurting me!" she screamed. I stayed calm and eventually made it to the chair where I could sit her down, put her shoes on and get the heck out of dodge. No such luck, she tried to run away again. Lucy requires me to keep my cool as I know if I lose it, all bets are off. After more crying and wrangling, she finally got her shoes on, we gathered our things and walked to the car.

It is the walk where you can feel the eyes on you, some sympathetic, some judgmental. Either way, your most complicated parenting moment is on display. I tell myself this is part of parenting and most people have had experienced some form of public horror in their parenting life. Some of us have had more than others, apparently.

Have you had these moments? Feel free to give us your best tantrum stories in the comments. We'll all feel better, at least I will.


Kelly writes...

Patience, I have to say my first thought was, "Ugh, the walk with all eyes on you while you were in your bathing suit!" That would have been my personal horror and not the parenting dilemma.

My eight year old has given me a run for my money from two to five. Thank goodness for child development and that it continues.

nicole writes...

Ugh, don't even get me started. One of the worst was when my daughter was 3. We were at the mall and she refused to walk. I couldn't carry her, as I was pushing her baby brother in the stroller. We had a ways to go, and she was just too heavy.

She screamed, fell out on the floor and acted like a straight up fool. I was mortified!

Then, there was the time she started screaming and yelling at another little girl's birthday party - right as we were singing Happy Birthday. I didn't go back to that ice cream shop for at least a year!

Kara writes...

We were at the playground the other evening with my 5-year old daughter, 3-year old son, and dog. When it was time to leave, my daughter asked me if we could have ice cream when we got home. I told her no, to which she replied, "Then I am not going home," and ran back onto the playground.

My husband had to chase her all over the playground, climbing up the ladders, going down slides, running over bridges, etc. Meanwhile, I was standing there trying to control our dog, who was barking her head off watching my husband and daughter chase each other. My son stood next to me yelling with delight, "DON'T LET DADDY CATCH YOU!" He thought it was a game.

When my husband finally caught her, she fell to the ground and started screaming so loud that every single child and parent on the playground stopped and stared.

I know we all go through this, but I always feel like other parents are looking at me and thinking "What an awful child...and parents!"

Megan writes...

Ugh! I actually started getting anxious just READING your post. My daughter is only 15 months but she has already perfected the various tantrums... stiff as a board in the stroller, going limp as I'm trying to get her to stand and then sliding onto her stomach pathetically on the kitchen floor and my all time fav... the back bend while I'm holding her with a head smashing recoil. I dread the day she runs away from me esp since I'm preg w/ #2 now.

Amber writes...

My daughter also yells, "You're hurting me!" when she has a tantrum. It's the worst.

I think my most awful tantrum was in a maternity store. I was about 4 months pregnant with my 2nd and I just wanted a new shirt. None of my clothes fit but I didn't even look pregnant, I was in serious need of a pick-me-up. My 3-year-old was not happy to be in the store. She melted down right there in the Motherhood Maternity and all of the ladies pregnant with their 1st children looked on in horror. I think she scared them something fierce.

I haven't had the nerve to show my face at Motherhood since then.

Jess writes...

Oh, I feel for you! The tantrum walk of shame is the worst. My most dismal moment was in a Barnes & Noble Cafe when a napping 3 y/o woke up, felt disoriented, and proceeded to melt down big-time. Everybody stared, nobody said anything nice, and the baristas even got pissy with me and pressured me to finish my order instead of letting me help him regroup while other people went ahead! Some lady behind me made a snide remark and the rest of the line LAUGHED. I struggled out with stroller, three kids, and all of our drinks.

I always try to at least give a sympathetic smile and say a kind word when I see it happening to some other mother!

Wendy writes...

My most recent moment that required Herculian patience was yesterday. I have two little girls, 5 and 2. My two-year-old hadn't had her nap so I knew we were dancin' with the devil but we had to get school supplies (another long story which involves parental ineptitude). We made it through the store and almost through the checkout when my little one had a tantram that stopped everyone in their tracks. She employed the *loud* scream... people where actually putting their hands over their ears... The moment between signing my receipt, gathering our items, encouraging my five-year-old to pick up the pace and getting out of the stores and into the car felt like an eternity!

kelly writes...

oh GAWD, which of the last fourteen public tantrums in as many days would you like me to recount?

we are, like wendy, in the throes of the eardrum-rattling screaming tantrum phase. my son is two. my other son, who is ten months, tries to do every single thing his brother does, including the screaming, so i'm quite sure in no time at all we will have deafening screaming in stereo. i can't wait.

i try to keep my cool, treat him with kindness, blah blah. but sometimes the storm of screaming and trashing is so overwhelming, i pick him up in whatever state he is in--clothed or not, shoes or shoeless, eating, whatever--and march right out of there. i don't look at anyone. good lord, i NEVER look at anyone!

oh, did i tell you i embarrass easily? apparently, my children are on a cosmic quest to free me from this trait once and for all.

anne writes...

Megan, I feel your pain. When I was 8mos. pregnant my almost 3yr. old son threw the mother of all tantrums in a mall because I was insisting on lunch at home instead of lunch at the ice cream store. He began to run away from me so I yelled "Bye sweetie, I'll miss you" and then I began heading for the exit. When 4 elderly women tried to come to his rescue the tantrum stopped abruptly and he came running back to me. We walked quietly to the car where I told him that I loved him and was glad that he had decided to come home with me. He never threw a public tantrum again!

Tin writes...

Oh, mine seems to be unforgettable. My son was somewhere around 3 y.o. and in his hitting phase. He's 7 now and while I can barely remember what the tantrum was about I remember the tantrum and the aftermath vividly.

We were at the grocery store and he's screaming mad. We're in the aisle between bread and fresh pasta. He ends up slapping me in the face. I just break down. I gather him up, shaking mad but not wanting to take it out on him and march out of the store. I left my partner with the cart full of groceries and unfortunately the car keys. I wasn't going back into the store for anything so I had to stand by the car, tears streaming down my face, and sad and contrite child in my arms until my partner arrived.

I will never forget the woman who walked by while we were standing there who must have seen what happened and said to me "you're doing a great job". I'm grateful to remember her whenever I'm feeling that my parenting is not all that it could be.

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