Thursday, July 15, 2010

A First For THIS Mom

It was *almost* the perfect summer day!

It was really hot out, so we spent the afternoon swimming with my best friend and her boys. We had a great time! I'm so proud of Dylan-he started swimming on his own, today, without the help of his floaties!

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After a few hours of swimming, all the kids were starting to get tired. I had a headache, and as soon as we got out of the pool, the heat and humidity were suffocating. We were close to Walmart and I had a very short shopping list-as in, 3 items-and figured I'd stop to pick them up.

Maybe the fact that the kids were tired should have been my first clue that this shopping trip was not meant to happen. Or perhaps the pounding in my head.

Everything was going well. I quickly grabbed the 2 items from the grocery section, and then headed over to the other side of the store. Of course, I took the shortcut past the toy section.

BIG mistake.

I had the luxury of experiencing my first public tantrum.

Dylan never really had tantrums, and he has always been well behaved in public. Lexie is very dramatic and emotional at home, but she also behaves very well in public. From a very early age, they learned that we expect the best behavior in public. Other than one incident where Dylan sat at my feet, crying quietly, because I wouldn't buy him boots, and one minor crying incident with Lexie, I've been spared the embarrassment of a public meltdown.

Until today.

When I told her she wasn't getting a toy, Lexie lost it. She started slapping at my hands and screaming at the top of her lungs. "I want a toy! I want a toy!" As I pushed the cart as quickly as I possibly could toward the front of the store, my head began pounding even more.

I ignored the stares of the other customers. I wasn't embarrassed...I was mad! So mad that I contemplated running over the man that was walking beside us, mimicking Lexie's cries as we walked. His teasing sure wasn't helping her calm down.

I pushed the cart into a quiet aisle, and attempted to calm her down. When she continued to scream and slap at me, I quickly grabbed the item I needed, and completely ignored her wails as we waited in the checkout line.

By the time we made it outside, she was quiet, and I had a full-fledged migraine. I felt so disappointed that she had acted that way. I know I did what I was supposed to do-remove her quickly from the situation, and not pacify her by giving her what she wanted-but I was disappointed that I was unable to calm her down.

When we got to our car, I told her that I was very disappointed that she behaved so badly in the store, but I still loved her very much. She began crying, and it broke my heart. I know she felt bad about what happened.

Lexie was asleep before we were even out of the parking lot, so I know exhaustion was fueling her meltdown, but that doesn't excuse her behavior. As I caught a glimpse of her sweet, sleeping face, I felt a pang of mom guilt, because I put her in the situation.

When she woke up from her nap, she apologized to Dylan and I for being bad in the store. I took the opportunity to remind her of the proper way to act in public.

Thanks to their naps, the day ended well. We had a fun evening together!

It was definitely an experience. An experience that I hope doesn't happen again!

17 comments:

  1. Public tantrums happen sometimes. We used to have them ALL the time with Zack {fueled by autism + over stimulation} and I always felt disappointed in myself for not predicting and preventing it. But in truth, it just happens sometimes. Consider yourself lucky for making it so long without one!

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  2. I guess it's just a Mommy Right of Passage! We all go through at least on. Hopefully! LOL

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  3. Girl---you are SO...lucky that this was the first time this has happened to you in public! And since you are were a rookie at this whole tantrum thing...you handled it like a pro! You are such a GREAT mommy!!!

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  4. I have to agree...you are so lucky that this is the first time you have had a tantrum in public! My boys have meltdowns quite often, and most of the time I do exactly what you did...ignore and continue as quickly as I can!

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  5. Ok, the man was teasing her? a MAN was teasing her? Seriously? I would have had words with him about that. That's rude and just plain stupid.

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  6. wal-mart and the toy section seem to ignite tantrums with lots of children...I've seen it even when its not my son whining for a toy! Ha! I hate that guilt feeling that comes over you after you've "lost it"...I think we all do that?! Hang in there! And the man teasing her...I would have run him over with the cart-FOR SURE!

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  7. Oh yeah, public tantrums are the worst. Sounds like you handled it perfectly though!

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  8. I am glad the day started off well. I have sooo been there. You handled it very well.You are a great Mommy and did the right thing! I often feel bad to be to hard on Lillian if she misbehaves after we have been running around all morning because I know she is over tired. Have a great weekend!!

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  9. You're not a mom unless you have at least one public meltdown.

    WTH was that guy doing, mimicking her? I would have run him over.

    Sounds like you handled it well though!

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  10. Oh man, I'm so sorry but glad it ended well. UGH! XOXO

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  11. Sounds like you did a great job with the situation! Hope your headache is gone!!

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  12. Here's a tip that I learned in a class (a million years ago) called "Growing Kids God's Way". This sounds silly but IT WORKS!!

    When they are throwing the tantrum, try to get their attention to direct them to fold their hands together (like they are praying) with their fingers laced.

    The concentration it takes, especially for someone Lexie's age, to accomplish the task distracts them from their tantrum long enough for you to have the discussion you were able to have with Lexie in the car.

    Hopefully there won't be a next time, but if there ever is TRY IT!!

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  13. awww...sorry that this happens....but I think that it is a pretty normal ocurance....esp. from a tired little one :) I get cranky when I am tired too!!

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  14. awww that's so heart-breaking and frustrating at the same time. I admire you for not giving her what she wants just to calm her down. I probably might opt to that just to stop that moment. You did a great job Stef! :) Thanks goodness I have not been on that situation yet, and I do hope I wont be.

    Hope the migraine wont go back! Have so much fun this weekend!
    hugs!

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  15. Oh I feel your pain! I think you handled it very well. Especially that guy that was mocking her, I would NOT have been able to let that go without a comment to him about his rudeness.

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  16. Awww, sounds like it was a tough experience for all of you!!

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  17. I love her star shaped float!

    Public tantrums are the WORST! Ugh.

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