I don’t do tantrums. There is something about seeing a child in the middle of a tantrum that makes hair grow in my armpits. As a child, if I, or any one of my siblings, threw a tantrum, well, we never knew it. They were not allowed. I moved to the states and saw things my pure, innocent, island eyes had never seen before in my life.
One day, I had my son with me at the mall. I had no money; you know how we do it—we call it window shopping, but I call it getting really pissed off because you have no way of getting that new pair of Via Spiga shoes in the window or that Coach purse that would make you the envy of your colleagues at work. (Ok. I’m over it. Therapy costs more than the shoes and the purse together.)
In front of me, a toddler was screaming his lungs out of his chest because he wanted an ice- cream cone, and clearly, mommy got his order wrong. He pulled loose from her grip, threw the cone to the ground and joined it as he writhed next to the vanilla cream, kicking and punching the floor. As she pleaded for him to stop, all passersby looked at her with complete amazement. With negotiations a complete failure, she attempted to pick him up, only to feel a stinging slap across the face. I winced. My thought at the moment was, “Give me five minutes with him, and he will be straight.” All kicking, screaming, punching and slapping would come to a screeching halt, and he would find himself in a sudden state of deep, unexpected rest.
As I got up to leave the area, my son, who had been watching this charade, decided he was not ready to leave. In the mimicking fashion kids are prone to do, he pushed his luck by pulling free from my hand and dropping to the floor. I stood over him and stared in disbelief for about 5 seconds, got my purse and began to leave. After walking a few feet away from him, and preparing to leave his butt in the middle of the floor, I was stopped by a caring mother who said, “Are you just going to leave him there?”
“Yep.” I nodded. “ I don’t do tantrums.” I began to walk away. Within seconds, I heard the pitter patter of little feet running for dear life behind me.
“Mommy! Get me, get me!” He was confused. How could I not pick him up and allow him to slap me like his role model had just demonstrated? I knelt down to wipe his face, and had a ‘Come to Jesus’ talk with him as I smiled ever so sweetly.
“If you ever in your life drop to the floor like that again, I will wear your butt out, lil’ boy! Do you understand me?” I was still smiling; he was gasping for breath.
“Yes, (gasp, gasp, gasp), mommy! I sorry” He grabbed my neck. The reality of walking home at two years old had never occurred to him. No, I would not have left my child there, but sometimes we have to do drastic things to get the message across.
There were no more tantrums in my house. Hey, you do what works for you.
Laugh, people. It’s good for the soul!