We have all witnessed it. The child that pitches a fit in a public place. The mom that is very clearly embarrassed, or even the mom that doesn't give a rat's ass that her child is screaming.
I had "that" child and I was "that" mom today.
Jack and I went to the mall today in search of maternity slacks for me and new picture books for him. I told him over and over on our car ride that if he was a good boy that he could play in the play structure when we were done and maybe pick a new toy. I am not delusional enough to think that he actually understood me but what the heck? Maybe he did.
Off to the mall he went and honestly, he was an angel like he usually is. He has always been very good about sitting in his stroller for short periods of time. Jack likes to people watch and the mall is always a good place to do so. I tortured him through two clothing stores looking for pants. We made a trip to the book store and I got him two awesome new books.
Then, as promised, we went to the play structure. All was well for about 10 minutes. He happily played with the other kids, ran around and climbed the tree. Then he realized that it was an open structure and started taking off down the mall. He was almost three stores down by the time I caught him. That kid is super fast! I had my eye on him the whole time but I had to dodge other kids to gather him up. Jack had seen those little riding toys and wanted to climb on them.
Since he wasn't able to be contained I told him it was time to go. Cue the tantrum. He arched his back, started screaming and kicking making it impossible to get him in the stroller. Instead, I carried him down the mall to some benches (all the while he was kicking and screaming) so he could calm down. I struggled to get him in the stroller but I did somehow manage. I was sweating and I am sure people were looking at me and thinking "Wow, that child is out of control". I kneeled down on the floor and told Jack "I know you are upset but you can't run in the mall. Mommy can't see you and you could get lost". I try to reason with him but I know he doesn't understand.
Once in the stroller, he finally calmed down and we walked towards the end of the mall where we were parked. I thought as I walked "Wow, I managed to keep my cool. I never raised my voice. I corraled him the best I could". I honestly was proud of myself. I survived a temper tantrum in public!
Tomorrow we are heading to the state fair. I am hoping to avoid the tantrums but we will see. I can just do the best that I can in the situation. I think that might become my new parenting mantra: Do the best in the situation.