Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I know you were trying to be helpful...

but telling my 22 month old that everything will be ok as he throws the tantrum of all tantrums is not helpful. At all.

See how he's just screaming? See how he can't even control his own body? See how he's so out of his mind that even if I said, "Here's a big ol' cookie for you to eat right now!" he wouldn't be able to comprehend that I was actually giving him something amazing and would continue to cry?

Ya, so you, a stranger, telling my son, who remember, is out of his mind right now, that everything will be ok is the opposite of helpful. It just clues me in to 3 things:

1- I look like a terrible mother because my son is out of control.

2- I look like a terrible mother because I'm literally dragging my son out of the store and am about 2 seconds away from just leaving him there.

3- You may be considering calling child protective services because you can tell I'm about to lose it. (Luckily, we took a few minutes to compose ourselves outside. Well, I did. Blake kept screaming.)

Really, I know you were trying to be helpful. And I thank you for not making a rude comment about our spectacle. You really were very nice about it all.

But next time, just ignore us. Don't make any jokes about how it must be nap time. Don't even look at us. Because at that very moment, the moment where you want to stare and say something, I actually want to be invisible. So just pretend like we are.


Emily said...

ugh. did you see that report on npr a few weeks ago? about how it's been scientifically proven to be completely ineffective to try to reason with or bribe a child in the middle of a tantrum? yeah, they need to make PSA ads about that.

Lindsay said...

First of all, I'm 99% sure that you don't look like a terrible mother when your kid is throwing a spectacular tantrum, and the 1% of people who might think you do have never spent any time around small children (and obviously don't remember being one themselves). Most people, even the ones who think they're helping, know that, even though you might have to literally drag your kid away from the situation, you are doing what you have to do. I've been dealing with these very situations all the time lately with Caleb, and it's getting obnoxious -- both his instinct to freak out when someone he doesn't know says hello and their instinct to keep talking to him to calm him down. I'm starting to get more blunt with these strangers and have even told a few that their help isn't helping. And then we leave. And then he calms down. And then I can calm down. And then, after a few minutes of calm, we usually repeat the process. My advice (not that you asked for it...hmm...sounds like I'm "helping", but I just can't stop myself...;) is to go ahead and be invisible if you want to be. Just walk away, whenever that's possible, dragging your screamer behind you, and go to a place where you can both block out the world and everyone in it and just calm down. A few minutes of even imagined invisibility has done a lot for my nerves lately.