As it’s said, There’s a first for everything and the first I went through this week was my son’s first public temper tantrum. We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t yet, chances are you will. My son is a (usually) happy, energetic and sometimes feisty 18 month old who knows what he wants and when it wants it. And the other day at the mall what he wanted was yogurt.
Let me explain. I was at the mall with my two youngest and my parents just doing a little shopping. I spotted the McDonald’s in the food court and since they are having a free coffee promo right now we decided to grab a cup. Upon seeing those golden arches as if right on cue, my (almost) 3-year-old, says I’m hungry. So of course, I did what I do when trying to make shopping a pain-free experience and avoid a public breakdown, I gave in and got the happy meal. (Yes, my kids eat McDonald’s sometimes please don’t judge.) Happy meals can’t be all bad, I mean they all come with yogurt now (weak rationalization, but it’s all I got.) It is however that yogurt that set off the next chain of events.
My daughter happily sat up in her seat of the double stroller and munched away at her cheeseburger while my son pointed and grunted at the box like 18 month old do. I showed him the contents and he grabbed for the yogurt. Ok great, lets find a seat and let you eat that yogurt. Seemed simple enough, but he had others ideas. First, I tried to put him in the stroller, went stiff as a board and let out some unbelievable loud screams. When I gave him the briefest of moments he ever so swiftly took his boots and threw them. Ok, Plan B, lets find a bench or a chair and let you eat. Yeah, not so much. This time went completely boneless and slid off the chair and continued to scream. Alight, Plan C, maybe he would fare better sitting on my lap and I would feed him that way. Nope, as soon as I sat him on my knee he flailed his arms causing the spoon of yogurt I already had ready for him to eat. So much for keeping my shirt clean all day. At this point, I was flustered, wearing more yogurt then I could get in his mouth and out of ideas. So I put him down and decided I wasn’t going to have this fight with him and gave up trying to give him the yogurt. He wouldn’t go back in the stroller without a fuss so I was going to let him walk beside me. It’s always nice when helping hands outnumber the children and thank goodness my parents were with me, because pushing the stroller and holding my coffee while trying to keep him reigned in was going to be difficult. We started to walk. Still bootless, he decides this is the perfect time for the tantrum. Kicking and screaming right in the middle of the mall he lets everyone know he is not happy with my decision. I let him do it. I let him scream. I let him kick. I let him get it out of his system. It’s not my first rodeo, he is my third after all, I can deal with the looks I was going to get.
It didn’t last too long and he sat up and pointed and grunted at the yogurt I was still holding. The yogurt. He wanted it still. Nothing else had worked so I give it to him as well as the spoon. What does he do? He starts to walk and feeds himself better than he has ever feed himself before. Happy as a lark. Marching in his socks like he has just conquered the world. When he was done, he ends me the empty container lifts his feet for getting on his boots and we get on with day.
I am glad that first is done. We all survived and I will still take him out in public even though I am fully aware it will probably happen again. A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor and I think the same can be said of parenting. It not always going to be a smooth ride, there will be lots of bumps (and thrown yogurt) along the way, but it’s definitely one ride I am glad I’m on!