So, I had a nasty experience at the Rec Centre today. THERE ARE BIGGER PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD but I’m going to write about it because I’m still angry and because… I dunno. This is just how I process shit.
So – my kid tantrums. She’s 2.5 and it started when she was 18 months. It peaked around age 2 – for a few weeks in the summer I just didn’t go out with her. Anywhere. Not even into the fucking YARD. I was afraid that people would come knocking on my door asking to inspect her for bruises, I was afraid the neighbors would call ByLaw and lodge a complaint like you’d do with a dog. Ha. Man. Coz all kids tantrum right? Some do it LOUDER and BIGGER and LONGER than others – and Éowyn, sweetheart though she is, is one of those.
Today at playgroup she just couldn’t deal with sharing. Again with other kids, some are better at it, some just as bad. I’ve seen kiddos go through phases and come out of them. She’s just got a temper and I deal with it as best I can by watching her, making sure she gives toys back, removing her from the situation, redirecting (as best as I can, which isn’t very best, she’s also stubborn). I talk to her and tell her that she doesn’t always have to SHARE, but she CAN”T steal toys and make people sad. When she tantrums, I give her a few chances to calm down – and if she doesn’t or keeps offending then we leave.
WHICH AS YOU CAN IMAGINE. Does not go over well.
So today all that happened, I gave her warnings, I talked to her, and at 11 o’clock I took her out of the room into the hallway to try and walk it off. I walked past the carpet bowling room and down the stairs to the arena, she was fine but got angry when I told her no to going in. We went back up the stairs and then further off to the library where I had to pick her up and back track because there were two kids with bikes and I could tell she wanted to play with them and was going to get mad again. I brought her back to the top of the stairs in the hall and tried to sit with her and calm her down. That didn’t work so I went to get her clothes and boots out of the playroom and brought them to the carriage while she cried and alternated whining with wailing. She was asking to go out and play on the slide but – since I am TRYING to discipline her and teach her that actions have consequences – I kept telling her that “You aren’t acting nicely right now, and you don’t get to do nice things when you do this” “You are not listening to me and when you don’t listen to me you have to go in the carriage.” I was being calm, I wasn’t raising my voice – though I WANTED to, and that is my first instinct – because I was trying to get her to match my tone and and stop crying to hear me.
After I got her boots, her shirt, and her coat on, I put her in the carriage which started her off SCREAMING again. Now, I KNOW that that isn’t fun to hear. I KNOW that it’s disruptive. I am not ignorant of that, I am not ok with that. It’s embarrassing, it’s stressful, and it’s exhausting for me. And that’s when people are are being NICE about it.
While I can getting MY coat on a 50 or 60 year old woman came out of the carpet bowling room, saying “muttermuttermutter nice if she would SHUT! UP!” in the most… in the MEANEST fucking voice I have ever heard directed at me and my child. Ever. It took me a second to respond because I was so stunned – “EXCUSE ME?!?” I said, as she ignored me and tried to get the door stop to work. No response, no indication that I’d been heard despite the fact that even my raging child had finally stopped crying at the sound of my voice – so I stepped in front of the carriage and asked, “DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT YOU WANTED TO SAY TO ME?” Enunciating every word. Still nothing. She wouldn’t look at me, she wouldn’t answer – but she was having issues with the door and I wasn’t leaving so she finally said “No, I was TALKING to the people in THERE”. She wouldn’t even glance in my direction, never mind meet my eyes.
“OHHH, well, I guess that’s just how you roll, huh?” And then she hurried into the room, the door slowly closing behind her as she went back to her Very Important Bowling Session and what I hope was a nasty taste in her mouth. Bitch.
I wish I’d had time to say more. I wish I had walked into the room after her and asked her if she wanted to come out and tell my 2 year old daughter to “SHUT! UP!” to her face. I wish I’d had time to tell her that I wasn’t at all sorry that I’d inconvenienced her while she was busy curing cancer. I wish I’d had time to simply tell her that she was acting without ANY compassion whatsoever and that I was disgusted and stunned that ANYONE would think I deserved to be spoken to in that manner. Ever. That doesn’t sound very snappy does it? She couldn’t even look at me when she said it. She couldn’t look at me when I confronted her. She couldn’t ADMIT that she had said that, and that she had meant me to hear it, and that she had meant it to hurt.
I wanted to ask her why, if she didn’t even have the balls to own it, she was acting like a fucking douchebag to a mother with a young child.
But I didn’t my kid was crying again, and she needed kleenex. I got some, went to the front counter at the end of the hallway and apologized to them for the noise and left. She cried all the way down the block until she realized she wasn’t getting anything – then she calmed down, I told her I loved her, gave her her homeward snack, and did our normal going home thing. She was peachy for the rest of the afternoon.
I’m not one of those mothers who doesn’t care. I don’t think the world needs to conform to me and my kid. I don’t ignore her bad behaviour. I don’t encourage it or reward it. I’m not one of those parents who lets their kid run rampant with a tiny shopping cart at the store, I don’t take her to quiet restaurants or theatres and act oblivious to annoying behaviour. I try to be considerate, because I would want people to be considerate of me – and to teach their kids to do the same.
Fact: sometimes you can’t help it. Sometimes you HAVE to go shopping – you do the best you can, even if that means bribes AND DON”T YOU *DARE* LOOK AT ME ASKANCE FOR BRIBING MY BABY TO STAY QUIET *FOR YOU*. Sometimes you CAN’T pick up and leave immediately. I don’t have a car. It’s a 1.7 mile walk back home and it’s cold outside and she needs to get dressed – come and try to wrestle an angry flailing 3’3” tall 30lb toddler into her clothes. When you’re 5’5” and pregnant. It takes a while, especially when you’re not willing to yell at or beat the child in question. And yes – sometimes I give her a second chance. Yes, I was out in the hall with her for 10 minutes. My daughter is isolated and needs the socializing. 9 out of 10 times this happens a walk outside the room will calm her down and she gets another hour of play, which happens to be important right now because – well. You don’t know. And you don’t care. I don’t feel guilty or shitty about it at all either – Lady, we are at a Rec Centre. There is a preschool next door to you. We’re not in an office building, or lab or a hospital – you’re not working, you’re not dying of heart failure, you’re carpet bowling. Or grocery shopping. Or eating at A&W.
Get over yourself. I’m gonna eat some chocolate and take my awful offspring to the park and try to get over you.