Today was my worst parenting day to date.
On the plus, this means the probabilities of tomorrow being just as bad are very slim. It also means I get to share my lovely experience with you all, and hopefully prepare the future toddler owners amongst you. Also anyone that has been through similar can nod along with me and if you are so obliged, comment below to make me feel better.
Take heed of the ‘sign’
Thinking about it, things didn’t seem right from the outset. Toddler woke me up with a whining noise. I tried to ignore it, with a cheery “Good morning darling!!!” Toddler responded with another whine. And then another. “Oh come on give me a big cuddle!” I said, to which she reciprocated. I forgot about the whine. Until reflecting upon it at the end of a numbingly horrible day. It wasn’t a whine. It was a SIGN.
A sign that, in exactly 8 hours time I would be bawling my eyes out in the street, whilst another mother looked on, open mouthed with shock. If someone had told me that, I would not have gone out the house. I would have set up with Mr Tumble and all the other CBeebies crew (with Sooty, Sweep and Soo on DVD to break things up a bit) and not got us out of our pyjamas. But today was to be my first big toddler hurdle.
On reflection I wouldn’t change anything I did (apart from go out in the house in the first place). So, knowledge is power. I have lost my dignity in front of the general public all in the name of research.
Please note: in the lead up to this tale was a challenging morning, you know, the usual: toddler trying to pull the baby’s legs off, eating soil from the plant pot, ripping up the post before I have opened it…the plan was to “get out”. It was a good plan. A safe plan. It would make everyone happy.
Once upon a time…
Tale of a Toddler Tantrum *of epic proportions
The setting: a small village park with slides, see saw and swings.
Cast: Mummy (me); Baby, Toddler; Old-Wise-Man-With-Zimmerframe; Curtain Twitcher; Hero-Mum; Mum-With-Family.
Toddler has been playing in the park for half an hour. It’s time to go to the clinic a few metres down the road to get the baby weighed (there is a playgroup running for toddlers at the same time).
Mummy: It’s time to go now. We’re going to play with lots of lovely toys inside! Would you like that?
Toddler is continuing on play equipment, satisfied that her “no” has put an end to that, thank you very much. I approach again.
Mummy: Ok, after you have been on that slide, we are going. Last time.
Toddler stays at the top of the slide.
Having coerced toddler down the slide, I try to hold her hand. Toddler squirms free. Toddler is now zooming from slide to see-saw, to swings, like a wasp swatted at a picnic. She knows the fight is on. I attempt contact again and describe to toddler how wonderful the haven of indoor toys is.
Toddler runs away to the other side of the park, towards the gate on the main road. Baby and I race after her. Toddler has odd expression on her face: she’s not finding it funny anymore. The heat is on. I grab toddler and try to pick her up, jovially.
Mummy: “Come on, silly!”
I have been kicked in shins several times but we made it to the gate of the park, whilst carrying toddler with one arm and pushing baby in pram. So far tantrum level is normal. It should stop once we get outside the gate; once toddler knows we are really leaving the park.
Toddler is blocking the pavement, lying on the floor, eating gravel and screaming. Old-Wise-Man-With-Zimmerframe approaches, so I politely peel my child off the floor to allow him to pass, gently replacing toddler on her feet. I catch his eye: is he judging me or sympathising? Neither – I think he just wants to pass safely. My daughter immediately crumples to the floor and increases the decibels of screaming. I glance at the bungalow opposite. A curtain twitches.
I have now never seen anything like this, and yes, we have had a tantrum before. I decide it is still best to walk the few metres down the road so that when toddler sees what a beautiful world I have led her to (one of glitter play-doh, shredded paper, dribble covered sticklebricks and dollies with no hair…), she will be fine and will also understand why I wanted her to leave the park. It’s not simply because I am a horrid kill-joy.
Toddler starts walking beside the pram. Progress!!! At last – off we go.
Toddler is still screaming – whilst walking! She appears to be going slightly mad. Confirmed when she takes a quick turn into the road with a car approaching.
After deserting baby (and apologising to Old-Wise-Man-With-Zimmerframe who has turned back and now has his pathway blocked by my buggy) and rescuing toddler from car, the aim has now changed. I need to get us back to the car: it’s the safest option.
Trying to carry toddler in rage whilst pushing pram with other hand. Her coat is pulled off and she slides on the floor. I am mortified – this must look so bad. There are health visitors at the clinic – what if one reports me for this upset?
I pull toddler aside and ask her to sit down and have a drink. She screams LOUDER! A woman with a baby approaches me:
Hero-Mum: Would you like any help? I can take your baby then you carry the toddler?
Mummy: turns to Hero-Mum with intention to say “thank you so much” but ends up bursting into tears.
Toddler and I are now bawling our eyes out in the street.
Hero-Mum pushes baby back to my car. Toddler and I follow, crying uncontrollably. We pass a Mum-with-Family. She does not hide her shock: her mouth is wide open like she has never seen anything like it before.
I hug random act of kindness stranger Hero-Mum. She quickly gets back into her car.
I don’t blame her.
In railway station carpark, sipping lucazade, surveying my puffy red face and texting any friends that will understand, whilst the children are asleep.
Home with tea and (x5) biscuits.
Bathtime (5.30pm). Story (6pm). Bed (6.30pm)
(PS. Thank you, Hero-Mum of South Brent.)