I can’t remember how old I was, but I’m going to guess somewhere around 6. It was apparently time for some kind of vaccine, and I just decided I wasn’t having it. To be fair, I was scared (and continued to have this fear until high school) of needles in general…but it’s a little possible that my 6 year old self might’ve taken things a bit far. I distinctly remember screaming at the top of my lungs and my flailing limbs having to be held down by two or three nurses plus my Mom in order to receive the vaccination. In fact, I actually remember not even feeling the shot itself because I was so focused on the fit I was throwing. I’m not sure how my Mom didn’t kill me on the spot, but she didn’t. So really, it’s her fault. Do you like how I’ve found a way to blame this all on my Mom…on her birthday? That’s right. Daughter of the Year, right here.
You see, if she had killed me that day, I wouldn’t have been alive to experience the utter humiliation that is The Toddler Public Tantrum. Dun dun dunnnn. I took the boys to the gym pool yesterday, and the three of us were having a ton of fun. I brought a train bath boy for Bug, and he was having a blast throwing it and then “diving” after it. He was in shallow water the whole time, but it was cute to see him mimicking the big kids diving after their pool toys. After about 20 minutes, Bear started to wear down and get cranky. He’s still recovering from being sick, so I decided it was probably best to get him out of the sun and down for a nap. When I told Bug my plan, he was not a fan. Not. A. Fan.
After telling me, “no” several times, I put him in time out on one of the chairs. Bug fuh-lailed himself backwards on the chair and started the wailing. Slowly, people began sneaking sidelong glances to see whose kid was getting their finger sawed off – or at least that’s what it sounded like. I took a deep breath, sat in the chair next to Bug, and told him that throwing a fit wasn’t going to change my mind, and he was in time out until he was finished with his fit. I truly believe he would’ve stayed on that stupid chair- wailing his heart out- all night had I let him. Alas, Bear was quickly wearing down in the hot sun. After about ten minutes, I told Bug he needed to hold my hand while we walked into the locker room, and I swear you would’ve thought I told him I wasn’t really his Mother.
He threw his body onto the concrete and screamed like he had swallowed a demon. I don’t think it’s normal to weigh less than 30 lbs and have lung capacity like that. I could feel every single eye on me, so I scooped Bear up on one hip, and picked Bug up onto the other. While still screaming, Bug started pushing against me and kicking my hips, so I tightened my grip (and had to set him down several times to readjust my grip), stared straight ahead, and kept repeating, “Throwing a fit will not change my mind. We’re going home.” Apparently my logic wasn’t making a difference, he only got louder.
We made it to the locker room before my grip on him loosened entirely, so I let him flail onto the floor and cry while I held Bear and packed up our stuff. A few parents gave me a knowing smile of, “I feel ya, girl. Keep strong!” but I mostly noticed people watching with a mixture of annoyance and curiosity. Naturally, it would have been too much to expect Bug to walk out to the car, so my choices were to either carry him or drag him out by his arm. I won’t pretend that the dragging option wasn’t tempting. Instead, I slung my gym bag over my chest and my purse over one shoulder. I propped Bear up on my left hip, and held a still flailing Bug on the other. I had to stop at least three times to readjust as my grip on him loosened, and ended up carrying him out length-wise…like a football. Let’s not forget that he was gutturally screaming this entire time. As Bug literally spun his entire body in a circle in my arm, Bear was looking at him with mild concern, and I was running through all the ways I was going to pay him back for this as an adult. Despite his attempts to nose dive onto the sidewalk, I managed to gently set Bug down while I started to buckle Bear in his car seat. Apparently ticked off at being given exactly what he wanted – to be put down – Bug screamed, “NOOOOO!” and threw himself backwards into a row of bushes. I raised my eyebrows, took a deep breath, and reminded myself that I was morally opposed to the beating of children.
After a ten minute wrestling match, I got him buckled into his car seat and we headed home. He was still wailing away, and literally went from screaming to sleeping within three minutes. It was tempting to just keep driving North ’till I hit Indiana…just to hear that sweet, sweet silence.
It turns out that Bug woke up this morning with a fever and has been battling what Cohen just got over since. I still don’t consider that an adequate excuse for how he acted, and let him know in no uncertain terms that it’s unacceptable. He’s tried twice since then to unleash his inner scream-o band, but I’ve been able to curb it with a couple of spankings and a firm tone. In the meantime, we’re doing a lot of cuddling and medicine – so hopefully he’ll be back to himself soon. And by “himself,” I of course do not meant the child who screams like I’m trying to abduct him. If you’re going to throw a fit, it really should be over something truly worth it – like getting a vaccination for example.
The more I see myself in Bug, the more I realize how much I owe my Mom. Happy Birthday, Mom. I know you’ve sacrificed so many of your years in raising us, and I want you to know that I not only truly appreciate it, I also model my mothering after you. Thank you for your seemingly infinite patience and wisdom. I now know what a feat of self-discipline that really was.