Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Classic tantrum at 3pm

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The triplets knew all about the plan: each day they would take turns riding in dad's bike seat. This afternoon, it was Josie's turn. We had reminded them about the rotation in the morning, and everyone nodded. No matter. At pick-up time, Bevin could not tolerate the sight of her sister climbing into her favorite seat. Outside the school, she cried, whined, and yelled, trying to get us to change the order. She pulled the stuff out of our bike trailer pockets, including the helmets, and scattered them over the sidewalk. She kicked the bike trailers. We were creating a scene.
Bevin was beyond reasoning or deal-making. She barked at us if we tried to talk. I knew I had to act. Here's what I did:
I told my husband I would be taking Bevin to another place for a while, and asked him to set up the other kids on the school benches and give them snacks. I scooped up a thrashing, yelling Bevin and marched down the school corridor. Parents were watching me, but to my surprise, they smiled supportive smiles. The only empty room I could find was the teachers' private bathroom. We went in; I locked the door behind me and sat on the floor in front of it, blocking it. I was ready to wait. Still moaning and kicking her feet, Bevin rolled back and forth on the tile floor demanding her bike seat back. I waited patiently, and didn't say anything. She's having a little volcano go off inside her head, I thought. Nothing I can do right now but be with her. Once or twice I said, "You really want to ride in that bike seat." Then I waited some more. She was old enough not to throw herself into shower or bang her head on the faucet. After about 10 minutes, she rolled on to her tummy, cheek against the cool tile, and heaved a sigh. "I wanna go home." That's when I said, "I agree, I'm tired too and I'd like to go home." She was so spent, I asked her if she was ready for me to bike her home in the trailer. She said yes, and I offered to carry her out and look for a snack.

I don't mean to single out my gang, but some days it feels like my kids are the only ones with tantrum genes. What about yours? Post your own meltdown story and how you reacted, good, bad or wishy-washy. Add your URL to this Linky box. The most genuine story wins the book and comfort goodies.

13 comments:

Erin said...

My son had a major tantrum one morning in Target. I thought for sure someone would call the cops. As I carried him out to the front of the store, he screamed "I want my Daddy!!!!" I was so embarrassed but I kept my head up, took him to the car and let him finish his tantrum there. I just sat in the front seat flipping pages of a magazine. Inside I was fuming, but I tried to look all calm. Eventually he tired of himself.

Emily said...

I have a serial tantrum-er! There is more than one story on my blog about various embarrassing moments with her, but I included the one about her first (and possibly last haha) story time at the library. You are not alone! One time I was leaving Walmart, and a poor mom was wrangling her screaming, pitching toddler into a car seat, and I just wanted to run up to her and give her a big ol hug.

Momisodes said...

I feel the same way, as if my kid is the constant tantrumer. Especially while in public or on playdates. Our 3-year old can be so incredibly moody and short on patience.

Makes me fear what the teen years have to offer us.

Meg - B2B said...

I think there could be a family blog meme on tantrums and meltdowns. Rather than "Wordless Wednesday," "Meltdown Mondays - because children can always have a case of the Mondays."

Kids are kids - I only wish as parents we felt supported rather than embarrassed. Traveling in Asia with a girl in the midst of the terrible twos, I felt much more supported during tantrums.

Brooke said...

I have quite a few tantrum stories so I will have think about which one to share! Could it be the tantrum b/c I cut my son’s omelet so he could take a bite? Or should it be the time I was leaving the Y (Hurriedly b/c I knew I was in the “danger zone”) and he decided to throw himself down on the ground just as we had stepped onto the asphalt in the parking lot. Imagine me half dragging him to the car b/c I had to carry my daughter (not a strong walker at the time and I had forgot the stroller that day) and then trying to get him in the car seat while he is still crying and screaming adding in the “ow, you’re hurting me” for drama. Or maybe it was the time, again at the Y, where we had brought our lunch to eat there and then play in the kid gym and he began crying and screaming so loudly over something trivial I can’t remember now, that an employee came back to see what was going on. When she saw me sitting at the table eating my lunch and trying to imagine myself in “my happy place” and my son a few feet away on the floor carrying on, she said “it sounded as though a child was being hurt back here”. I smiled and said “no, it’s just a meltdown”. There are so many stories, so little space to write! Most of time, when a meltdown does occur, I just remove the crazed child or myself from the setting and let him or her scream it out and if I find myself in the unfortunate position of not being able to walk away (in a public place for safety reasons) I just try to pretend to be doing something that is taking all my attention – unless of course it occurs in the middle of a parking lot! Then my strategy involves picking him as much as possible and getting him to the car without any passerby thinking they should call DFACS!

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