Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Tantrum

Last week, when Jon & I were at a local farm with the boys, enjoying a nice summer family day out, something happened that I hadn't experienced before.

We'd just fed the sheep and were heading to wash our hands, when a little boy - a very small boy about 18 months old or so - started to throw the most massive tantrum.

It was like nothing I'd ever seen before - his arms were flailing about everywhere, he threw himself down on the floor, he kept his body as stiff as a board so that no matter how hard his poor mother tried to lift his tiny little frame up from that dirty concrete ground, she just couldn't manage it.

Every time she got a grip on him, he wrestled free and planked himself flat onto the floor again. Stiff as a board. Totally immovable.

And all the while this was going on, he was screaming at the top of his lungs. Literally full on, ear piercing, blood curdling screams...over and over and over again.

 The noise was enough to send the nearby donkeys in to a bit of a meltdown, and between the donkeys frustrated squeals and the boys hellish high pitched screams I thought my eardrums were going to burst.

His mother, bless her,  was trying her best to make light of the situation, even laughing a bit about his display and trying to entice him out of his tantrum.

First of all promising him some sweeties if he stood up like a good boy, then changing tack and telling him off  a bit instead - she was floundering, you could tell. Her face went all red, and her eyes were darting around - trying to see how much of an audience they'd amassed.

Worrying about how many people might be judging her.

But the boy - oh my goodness, the boy was relentless - I'd never have expected so much willpower in such a tiny little tot, he'd looked so sweet and innocent on the farm earlier that day - with his huge brown eyes like saucers and his cheeky little grin as he chased around after the chickens and ducks, chuckling to himself, relishing in his new found farmyard freedom.

But now - now he was like a child possessed - kicking his mother with force in the stomach as she tried desperately to scoop him up, and then reaching out and grabbing fistfuls of her long hair so that she had to stop trying to pick him up and instead try to prize her hair out of his grasp before he tore any more of it from her scalp, mortified as people around her started to tut loudly and whisper in not-quite-hushed-enough-voices about how "their child would never dare behave that way".

I thought then about that news story I'd read a while ago - about the woman in the department store whose young toddler had been asked to leave after having a particularly epic tantrum.

 I remembered how - at the time - I had thought it ludicrous that a child that young could even be accused of a throwing a tantrum, let alone be marched out of a department store for it.

But here I was witnessing it first hand - there was no mistaking it - this was a full blown tantrum of epic proportions, and this tiny little boy was not giving in.

I couldn't help but be slightly impressed by the sheer amount of determination and willpower this little terror was showing...my 3 year old is twice his size and has never put on such a display. I kept this thought to myself of course, unlike the many other people around us who felt the need to vocalise the fact that their little darling had never acted in such a way...as though it was in any way helpful to anybody, as though their childs lack of a tantrum made them messiahs of parenthood rather than just a bit lucky.

I wondered if he might be asked to leave the farm, like that department store child had been - I imagined how the whole thing might make tomorrow's trashy newspaper headlines -  I wondered what I might say if asked to comment.

"There was nothing that could be done, what can I say, the boy was acting like a horrible little brat to be honest...I don't know what was the matter with him. His mother deserves a medal for not bursting into tears"

Because he was. He was acting like an out and out little horror. I've truly never seen anything like it. He was the kind of child that you see out in public and thank your lucky stars it isn't yours.

Except I couldn't do that...

...because he was mine.

And as Noah lay there, looking up at me... screaming as loudly as he could, right in my face... I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.

Instead I had to carry on until I eventually managed to wrestle him back into his pram, fix my hair a bit, take a big deep breath and try to act as dignified and unflustered as I could as I walked past those staring people with their judgemental eyes.

And just like that - I had experienced my first full on public tantrum - courtesy not of my three year old who I may have expected it from, but of my wilful and feisty 16 month old.

Thanks for that, Noah.

(^^This was taken on another day, because yep...he throws himself down on the ground and refuses to move most days now. Excellent!)

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  1. Oh dear - that sounds like a tough one! I've luckily (fingers crossed) never had a full on tantrum, a few mini meltdowns in public, but one or two at home, which are hard enough to deal with then, never mind those judgemental eyes watching how you deal with the situation.

    I used to be so concerned, anxious even, with dealing with my son in public, but as he has got a bit older I feel more confident in my abilities when out and about, and kind of just turn a blind eye to those around me and focus on me and him, the situation we're dealing with directly.

    Parenting is a rollercoaster, and when the downs are in public, it's made that little bit harder. I think you dealt with the situation the best you could, and that's all that matters really... You both survived. Haha!

  2. Oh Noah! That's not nice, your poor Mummy! Bless their hearts, they do get themselves worked up sometimes don't they?! Try not to worry if you can, about what other people are thinking though, you never know - they might just be looking because they've been there before themselves. xx

  3. Oh dear...We've all been there with our little darlings. Try not to worry about what other people think. x

  4. Aww Hayley, I really feel for you with this one. Oscar is a nightmare at the moment when we're somewhere he doesn't want to be, and has a tantrum just like this. I had to leave my mum to pay for all my shopping in poundland the other week because of it and I was so close to tears I have no idea how I actually held them in lol. I was sure everyone was judging me but when my mum came out the shop the assistant had told her to tell me I'd done a great job at handling the situation, even though Oscar was still screaming! She managed to put a small smile back on my face at least. Fingers crossed they grow out of it soon, ey?!xx

  5. Wow that sounds like a good tantrum . We're not at that stage yet but I do think she is going to be good at them ! #sundaybest

  6. Oh gosh - just the fear of tantrums is enough to keep us at home on days when my daughter is in a bad mood! We've had meltdowns in shops (usually if she's not allowed to completely empty all of the shelves), but we just pick her up and remove her from the shop. Then talk to her (she's a similar age to Noah, so she doesn't understand much. It's more to get used to it for when she's older)and continue on with the day. It's seriously stressful though, isn't it? Like you, I fear how I'm being judged and that alone makes the situation 100 times more stressful! Oh these testing toddlers... #SundayBest

    Helen x


  7. Oh I really feel for you. I'm dreading the day Arthur does this, and I know he probably will. It always amazes me that people with children stand by and judge/comment, I am sure they had public displays of emotion from their little ones as some point. Hope the rest of the day went well for you X #sundaybest

  8. I love how you write Hayley! And poor you, that sounds like a big one. Good on you for keeping your composure. There's nothing worse than when they kick off in public, it's really a horrible one to deal with. xx

  9. Oh no! I'll never judge a parent when their child's having a tantrum, people can be so mean. I'm not sure how I'll cope when Edith gets older. I'm sure I'll find a way! 😆


  10. They are just awful and you just want the ground to open up. I remember my sister crying down the phone after her girl had a epic tantrum in the car park, then I did the same after my boy had one leaving pre school. Wine in the evening helped #sundaybest

  11. This sounds oh so familiar! My eldest is 3.5 and my youngest 22months. My widest threw a few good ones but nothing in comparison to the wilfulness and all encompassing anger of my youngest! I'm sure it will get better soon....! #SundayBest

  12. That's a difficult one and yet I think all mummies experience it at some point...And we always feel horrible if you can't handle it. But it will happen. Sometimes, kids ahve a lot of energy! LOL #SundayBest

  13. Love the twist with this one! I think it happens to all of us at some point - even the most angelic little cherub is only ever a few steps away from a massive meltdown. It just comes down to luck as to when and where they have it! x #SundayBest

  14. Oh Hayley - i nearly wet myself reading this!!! LOL Noah you little s#!£
    I wouldn't expect it from him either!


  15. Oh he's so sweet that I'm sure people (or donekeys) would easily forgive him all the noise. Besides, these things happen and I don't see why we mummies should feel ashamed of our little villains. People with no kids would say, "What a bad mother!", whereas parents would say, "Poor mummy!". ;) #sundaybest

  16. Oh bless you honey. I empathise with you so much here. It is the worst thing ever because you know that people are staring and judging. But there is absolutely nothing you can do. You just have to let your child tantrum themselves out. My worst experience was when a Big Issue salesman accused me of abducting my tantruming daughter. Definitely a parenting high point. Hugs Lucy xxxx #SundayBest

  17. Oh looooord! I totally thought you were writing about something you'd seen! Don't worry, we've all been there. Anyone that hasn't, well they've got it all to come hehe!x


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