We’ve all been in the store when some cute little girl suddenly goes from saccharine to Satan. She’s having a complete and total meltdown because “No” was the answer she got as she begged for the new Dream Dazzlers Hair Salon. (Not that I blame her, that thing looks awesome). But you’ve seen that kid, right? I have too.
I usually feel bad for the parents as I think to myself: “That kid is a pain in the ass, have fun being her parent.” I then take a moment to kiss my beautiful girls on their heads and tell them that if they ever pull that crap in a store, they’ll wish they hadn’t.
I have always made a point to very calmly get in my kids’ faces and quietly talk them down from the top of the tantrum. It has always worked and I thought it was because of my mighty mommy methodology.
But I was wrong, and it didn’t take long for my cockiness to catch up with me.
My daughter, Lovey, is only 19 months old so even if she attempted to have a tantrum, I’d just laugh at her and tell her to come back soon.
My other one though, Sweet Pea, is almost 4 years old and suddenly she is always ready. For the most part, I can catch her before it turns into something really ugly, but not always.
About a month ago, I took the girls to my friend’s house. Let’s call her “Caren.” Caren has two little boys and my girls had a blast with them. When it was time to go, I threw down the “five more minutes” call (like I always do to give them a heads up) but Sweet Pea wanted no part of it.
No big deal (hair flip), I got this.
I went to my go-to tactic. I got on her level, I gently placed my hands on her shoulders, looked her in the eyes and patiently and calmly explained that it was time to go. This usually works, but this time, no. She flat out ignored me.
Regroup. I can handle this. I took her into Caren’s kitchen and AGAIN very calmly explained the deal, blah blah blah… Again, nothing. I felt like one of the adults in a A Charlie Brown Christmas. “Wah Wah, Wah Wah, WAH.” WHAT THE HELL? Sweet Pea was frozen. She wasn’t listening to me and she wasn’t looking at me. It was like she was looking THROUGH me. I actually turned her around to face the other way because I honestly thought her head would spin and I wanted to see if would go the whole 360 degrees or just 180.
When she decided to trade in her statue state for full freak-out mode, I was the one who was paralyzed. I had never seen her like that. She was having a total freak out. It was surreal. I was so taken aback by everything that was happening, I didn’t even take a moment to be embarrassed. Everything was a blur and there was no end in sight.
Of course, the storm eventually passed and Sweet Pea snapped out of it. But it was scary. Really scary.
After careful dissection of the situation, and others since, this is the conclusion I have reached: There are no answers. We’re screwed because meltdown mania is, unfortunately, one of the necessary evils of being a kid, and a parent.
Sometimes our kids just need to freak out. They’re carrying a lot in their little bodies and every so often they just need to let it out. As parents, all we can do is the best we can do. Nothing I could have done during Sweet Pea’s unscheduled exorcism would have altered her behavior. She had an unconscious agenda. Our best bet is to get ourselves some rubber gloves and hold on tight.
We can look at that kid in the store flipping out over a Grow-to-Pro Basketball Net and think to ourselves “Ugh! That kid is SO SCARY!” but we also have to admit that sometimes, just sometimes, ours are too.
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