I recently read an article about discipline and how to stop a temper tantrum and at the very end it said "If all else fails, and your child throws a temper tantrum in public, hold your head up high and be proud because you have not given in. Every other parent will see the tantrum and admire you for it."
Hmmm...I call bull shit on that!
We've been fairly lucky on the temper tantrum front. We haven't seen many from Ainsley. I have to say, that I think Freddie may turn out differently...but hopefully we have a little time before that rears it's ugly head. However, Ainsley had a meltdown in Target a few nights ago that I am still reeling from!
Pride is not the word I would use to describe the situation. Shame, fury, frustration, humiliation...those are more on track.
It started the moment we left daycare, and I just knew it was probably going to be a bad trip to Target...but what are you going to do? For now, I'm still a single mom during the week so I don't have a husband to run out for me or watch the kids for me. They've gotta come if I need something, and well Freddie was out of food and I needed some baby lotion for him...so it was a necessary trip.
I'll start by saying, I am not above bribery. In fact, it is probably my greatest parenting skill. So I usually start out an uncertain trip with bribery. I told her she could have a Slurpee if she was good.
She was everything but good. And really, during these trips I really want her to get her good behavior prize. I want to buy that Slurpee! Because then next time I can say "Remember the Slurpee?"
So after disappearing down multiple aisles, throwing herself on the floor and rolling into another customer, running and screaming through the pharmacy area and climbing underneath the cart, we were finally ready to check out.
She was like a broken record.
Mommy, I want a Slurpee AND a snack.
Tears. Yeeeeeesssss Mommy! Yes Mommy, I'm being a good girl NOW!
This continued and I ignored her. As I headed for the door, it really dawned on her that she was not getting a Slurpee or a snack. This apparently was unacceptable in her book.
She screamed at the top of her lungs and I felt every eye in the place focus on me.
Let's go Ainsley.
NOOOOOOO! I WANT A SLURPEE AND A SNACK!!!!!!!
Ainsley, I'm leaving. If you want to come home with me, you'd better follow me.
NOOO! Alright, so I guess that idle threat no longer works.
I step towards her and she runs back in to the store. I have to leave Freddie with the cart so I can catch her. I scoop her up and see the 5 or 6 people watching the show, kind of snickering at me. Jerks!
She thrashes about, kicking me, punching me, screaming in my face. I drop her into the back of the cart and proceed out the door. She climbs out, while it's moving. So I try my empty threat again.
I'm leaving. I turn my back and head into the street, glancing back to see if she's following, sure that no cars are coming. She's not following. So again, I must give in, because I'm pretty sure I'm not actually allowed to leave her in the local Target.
She again runs. This time into the side street. So again, I must leave the baby in the cart to catch her. This time I carry her like a very large, very squirmy football under my arm while pushing the cart filled with Target stuff and Freddie. She is thrashing about like the child in The Exorcist.
I push her into the van still kicking and screaming. I know strapping her into the car seat at this point will be futile. So I close the door, disable the power door function and lock the car. Then I have to be all quick about unlocking and opening and locking again until Freddie is buckled in and I can give her my full attention.
She did manage to escape once, running into the street, so she did get a quick swat on the rear. I really don't spank her (after reading this, you may call me crazy for that), but when she does something so frightening like that I just feel like I have to get her attention.
Finally, after a kick in the gut and a slap in the face (both directed at me), we are all strapped in the car and headed home. She kicked the front seat and screamed at the top of her lungs. I ignored her. During these times, I really find that works best. If I yell at her, it just escalates...not that this could have gotten much worse, but I feel pretending like I can't hear her works best.
Once home, I get Freddie from the car and leave her there. I take him inside, let the dogs out, go to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths before returning to the car.
She is calmly sitting and waiting for me.
Are you ready to calm down and come inside?
You're going to walk in the house, sit on the couch and wait for me. I'm going to get the bags and then we're going to have a talk. If you are not on the couch when I get inside you will spend the rest of the night in your room. Do you understand?
And that was really the end of it. She sat on the couch and waited for me. We had a talk and she told me she was sorry.
I will say, when it was all said and done, I was pretty proud of how I had handled it, but in the moment? No, definitely not the word I would use to describe my feelings.
So, I ask you again...
Sweet little angel?
Or devil in disguise?