Hey Lovelies!Last week I had somewhat of a conversation with another mother of a 2-year-old boy. It went something like this:
Her: Oh you have a 2-year-old boy too?
Me: Yup. His name is Aiden. He's super delicious.
Her: Oh. Isn’t this such a fun age?!
Me: Yup. It’s really, really fun… when it’s fun.
Her: (nods and smiles in agreement) I know what you mean.
I love this time in Aiden’s life. He’s super active and energetic and always interested in exploring new things and learning about his surroundings. It’s truly amazing. And I feel extremely blessed to be his mommy. But then there’s what I like to call, The Ugly Side of Motherhood. And for some reason we’re not supposed to talk about it. It’s too taboo because what, we’re suddenly “bad” mommies if we talk about the not-so-fun stuff? I think not!
So… what about the times when Aiden is temper tantrum-ing all over the place? Yea… not-so-fun! And the mood swings? He’s up and he’s down, he’s hot and he’s cold (isn’t that a song or something?)… it’s like PMS for toddlers!
Case in point. Whenever Aiden has a tantrum at home, we have a set rule: go to the bedroom until you calm down. After the first few times of telling him to go the bedroom, I didn’t even have to vocalize my request anymore. I’d simply point to the bedroom during one of his meltdowns, and off he went. And since it’s pointless and impossible (as in, it’s easier to run five consecutive marathons… in the same day!) than reason with a screaming toddler, I ALWAYS wait till he calms down before discussing the meltdown.
That was fine. I had the “How To Tame Your Toddlers’ Tantrum” part of motherhood down pat. In the house. In a controlled environment.
Then one day when we were in Target (love Target!), he asked to be let out of his stroller. I know you guys are sensing a major disaster coming on. But why didn't I sense this disaster coming on… who knows?!
Once I let him out his stroller, he quickly began touching EVERYTHING in site. And I quickly began to sound like a broken record -- “Please don’t touch that;” “Put that down;” “That’s not our milk;” “This baby doesn’t want you to touch her in the face!” And when I turned to grab a box of orange juice, he began to run away. Note to self: NEVER turn your back on an active toddler. I got frantic for about five seconds and then I spotted him… heading towards the elevator. Of course… because that’s so much fun, right?! In full panic mode, I started running after him and as I saw the elevator door open, I yelled out for him. He froze. Whew! But so did everyone else on the second floor of Target. And as I went to scoop up my kid, everyone (and I mean everyone) was looking at me. Some in shock that I could scream so loudly and some in disbelief that I could let him slip away. As I placed him back into his stroller, I said, “We do NOT run away. That’s dangerous,” of course he started yelling and kicking and streaming.
And of course everyone was giving me the “will you shut that kid up?" look. And I responded with the “well, I guess your kids’ perfect” look. But what I really wanted to do was cry. I WAS SO EMBARRASSED! Yea… not-so-fun! Man, where is the bedroom and controlled environment when you needed it? When we got home that day, I vowed to his father that I would NEVER let Aiden out of his stroller again.
So why didn’t I see this disaster coming on? The thing is you don’t know… until you know. We learn from experience. And now I know better. I can let Aiden out of his stroller in order to explore, stretch his legs, or do whatever it is that those 2-year-olds like to do… only if he promises to hold unto the stroller or cart as we shop. If not, then he has to go back into the stroller or cart. End of story. And here’s when I’d give myself an A-plus in Mothering: if I can stick to my guns, even in the midst of a tantrum AND people starring... and keep it moving. Because I got this.