"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments" - Rose Kennedy

April 15, 2008

Another milestone, of sorts, on Saturday:

E had his very first all-out, back-arched, red-faced, screaming tantrum in a public place. (In the Flagship retail store of Our Esteemed Employer, in fact, so bonus points for that.)

Two things stand out for me -

First, hauling a howling toddler down four flights of stairs and out the front door wasn't nearly as embarrassing as I thought it would be. "Oh look, another meltdown" was the only comment I heard on the way out, and it was spoken in an amused tone by a very grandmotherly woman.

Second, being a toddler must just suck beyond all reason. You have things you want to communicate, and you try and try and try, but you just can't. Then, giants confine you, restrict you, toss you on your back and remove your pants in public places, wipe you with cold cloths, kiss you, and expect you to always be cheerful about it. You're too hot, you're hungry, you're thirsty, you're diaper is wet, you're uncomfortable, or you just want walk around and you can't make these giants understand what it is, exactly, that you need.

So, yeah, not embarrassed but rather a combination of amused and greatly empathetic to the combination of factors that caused him to melt down at that particular moment in such a spectacular way.


jenne.heise said...

This is one of the reasons that I make a poin of acknowledging rather than ignoring families where a meltdown is occurring. Also, remarking on That Noise with "oh dear, someone has just been Thwarted" because it's a very distinctive noise and I'm always surprised by the people in the world who find it upsetting...

Melinda said...

I don't have kids, but I have great empathy whenever I see a family with a toddler in full meltdown in public. I always feel for everyone--the kid and the parents. I don't understand when strangers get bent out of shape over a little kid having a tantrum in the grocery store. It's totally natural, for all the reasons you cited in your post! I love your description of the kid's-eye view of the "giants" who behave so inexplicably.