i'm mad as hell and i'm not going to take it anymore

i read an article recently in the new york times about children and tantrums, i would link you to it, but for me recently usually means sometime in the last 2 months, and i don't much feel like sifting through archives, so you'll have to take my word for it. it was pretty standard fare, as far as articles go, but like most times articles the comments got fairly interesting. there were several high on their horse parents who came right out and said it, my children never have tantrums. some even went so far as to give advice, don't leave the house when it may be close to nap time, or eating time, or i just feel like being a pint size jerk time, because if you don't leave the house then no one will see the tantrum, and if no one sees it, IT DIDN"T HAPPEN. they didn't say that last part, but i am saying it for them, because i don't believe them. there, i said it. i don't. better put is i can't, to believe that it is possible to have a two year old who never, not ever, has a tantrum is to understand that another way is possible and that, well that just seems incredibly depressing.

we were at the park today, the sun was shining, and there were lots of other kids. it was perfect for mingling, cohen's favourite thing to do. he was laughing and running and cheerful. after an hour i asked him if he wanted to go to the thrift store and look for a new toy, to which he promptly replied "new toy!" and started running towards the store. every couple of weeks we go into the mennonite thrift store to have a look, buy a truck or a boat or some other thing that we don't need, and then he holds it contently in the stroller as he hums the whole way home. it makes me happy, it makes him happy, it makes the mennonites happy, and on a good day it doesn't make ada unhappy, so it is a win all around. it wasn't to be today though, oh no, it was not. i could tell shortly after we got in there that it was going to turn south. first it was climbing on riding toys to reach the higher shelf, and then pulling out all those little plastic bags filled with plastic crap and scattering them on the floor. i was right behind him picking then up and putting them away, asking him calmly if he saw something he would like, one thing that we could take home. i don't even think he was aware i was there, every now and again batting towards his ear as though i was a fly that kept landing there, making him itch. go away mom, i am making a ruckus over here and i need space. i would give him the freedom to explore, but those mennonite ladies aren't fond of that, and one of them had already come over and given me a talking to about the mess, she wanted to ensure i was on it and that nothing would be left out where others could hurt themselves. i guess she didn't see me picking things up at the speed of light, nor my negotiation tactics with the small human. so finally i picked him up and tried to talk rationally with him. that bit right there is often where it goes wrong, the rational part. it isn't that he can't understand rational thinking, because thank goodness, he finally can, but i usually attempt to deliver it about 30 seconds after he is capable of it.

so he starts thrashing in my arms, kicking, screaming. it was a doozer, a full out no holds barred spectacle. given the best stunt man and special effects unit i doubt he could have done better. ada, in the stroller, starts screaming too, it is a full man attack, and so i admit defeat and begin the march of shame out of there. the old ladies are scowling, the young punks are teetering and whispering that they are glad they don't have kids, the middle age indian man is shaking his head, it is awful. cohen hasn't stopped for one second, he is actually kicking my leg as hard as he can while i try and hold him, negotiate the stroller with one hand and open the stupid front door that pushes in instead of out. no one came to help, no one felt any sympathy for me, or it didn't feel like it. apparently, like manhattan mother, their kids don't have tantrums.

to be fair to cohen and to myself, he doesn't have tantrums like this very often, but when he does it tests me like nothing else in parenthood has. it is so easy to yell and get angry, it even feels good to do it, but the true test is to be able to take a deep breath, and show understanding in the face of all the commotion, to see that being two is a pretty tough job, and it is. today i did ok. today i was calm. it isn't always the case.

so this is the part where you tell me i am not alone, have any good tantrum stories?


Sara said...

OH man do I have some tantrum stories. Like you I don't believe there are kids that don't ever have a tantrum. IN my experience with my two kids. Alex wasn't near as bad as Dylan where the Tantrums were concerned.

I did though, do something to Dylan that afterward he never threw a tantrum again. And it may sound cruel but I promise you I never laughed harder in my life.

I was trying to get him in the bath tub, but he wanted to keep playing. I'd gone wrong by letting him stay up longer than normal and he was just tired. But he was also filthy, but we got in the bathroom and I fought to undress him and then he lost his mind. Screaming and beating his arms and legs into me, and the tub. He stood up and jumped until he slipped and busted his butt and then continued the tantrum.

We'll I'd read somewhere that some woman had had a tantrum while her kid had a tantrum and well at that moment I really felt like having my own tantrum so I did. Right there on the floor. Screaming at the top of my lungs beating the floor with my heels and hands thrashing about, and to my great pleasure Dylan stopped DEAD in his tracts and kept looking at me with this look of horror. I kept it up for a few more minutes, and when I stopped he hugged me and then took his bath calmly.

He honestly never had another one. I don't know why, and I'm not saying I exactly recomend it, but...

I just wish I had a camera. The way he looked at me...priceless

Klay said...

T- I don't have any stories, yet! I am certain that I will and I don't believe that there has ever been any child in history that hasn't had a tantrum.
I will tell you a story that my mom tells a lot. I was 3, it was a flight from Portland to Montreal, Mom had the flu and we had left my blankie in the car before getting on the plane.
Anyway, I screamed, cried and ran up and down the isle for almost an hour. Can you imagine those passengers and my poor mom! Finally I fell asleep on the floor. When the stewardess came down the isle to tell my mother that sleeping on the floor in the isle of an airplane is not allowed she was met with pleading passengers begging her to just let me sleep. Eventually, I was returned to my mom's lap. I'm not really sure that there was anything my mom could have done in that situation. I'm sure that was more than one person's nightmare 3000 mile flight.

cheesefairy said...

Laughing at the mennonite ladies..

I said to my husband last night, husband, how do you think people with children who actually have mental illnesses like schizophrenia or manic depression go about diagnosing those illnesses? because today I thought our 2.3 year old was seriously heading for the loonie bin.

A couple of weeks ago was another no good very bad day and we went for a walk around the block near suppertime, baby in the carrier & toddler by the hand. Halfway around he decides he wants to go to the park. I say no, no park right now. He spends the entire rest of the way home, 3 blocks or so, shrieking "I DON"T WANT TO GO HOME I DON"T WANT TO GO HOME I DON"T WANT TO GO HOME!" all the while holding my hand and walking with me. At the foot of the stairs to our complex, bam, like a switch he goes off and says, "I'm climbing the stairs mummy!" bright as a daisy and I'm standing there like I just got home from the Vietnam war.

Also I hate the sympathetic sibling crying. That's usually when I put on my "la la la la I can't hear either of you" voice. Mature, I know.