Last night I took 4yo Drake and 2yo Guppy out for what I hoped was a quick trike ride and toddler walk up and down the street while G. Grod made dinner. (Chicken Piccata, which I wanted to try because one of the contestants on Top Chef last week didn’t know what it was.)

I told them clearly that dinner was soon, and we could only go up and down our side of the street. Guppy kept going down the street, toward the busy intersection by the park. Drake pedaled up the street, then began to scream that he didn’t want to turn around, he wanted to cross the street or turn the corner. I told both of them no; both began to scream.

Prioritizing, I left Drake at the corner, since he had his trike and because he was less likely to go into the street than his brother. I ran down the block after Guppy, picked him up, carried him home under my arm and deposited him on the front porch. I went outside; Drake was still screaming up the street at the corner, and the neighbor whose house he was in front of was asking him where his mom was. I called out that I was coming, jogged to the end of the street and asked Drake to come with me. When he refused, I picked him up, put him under my arm, and took him back to our porch. I then went back to the corner to fetch the tricycle. The neighbor poked her head out the front door.

“Good job, Mom!” She called. “Way to remain calm. You never lost your temper. Gold stars for you.”

I felt quite cheered by her praise as I lugged the tricycle home. Many people would have responded with judgment that the kids were throwing fits, or that I couldn’t “make” them behave. Why don’t more people praise mothers for muddling through as best we can?

4 Responses to “Tantrums”

  1. tulip Says:

    Isn’t that nice??!! :) I am always cheered by random supportive comments from people. I try to do that when I see kids being nice or behaving well I make a point to say something to the parents about how nice their kids are. And I always try to lend a sympathetic smile or comment or an actual HAND! when I see someone who is obviously struggling. I wish more moms were supportive of each other instead of so freaking judgemental.
    Kudos to you for keeping your cool!! That’s one of my buttons and I have to struggle with it a lot of the time.

  2. Kate Says:

    Seconds to what your neighbor said.

    But also, depending on how your chicken piccata turned out, I have a go-to weeknight recipe my mom used to make called “Veal Piccata Sting” (the “sting” being that it’s not veal at all! It’s chicken! Ha, get it? Right. In my house it’s called “Lemon Chicken”). So anyway, it’s quite good and easy and certainly does NOT use breadcrumbs. It is also an excuse, depending on how one feels about such things, to open a bottle of white wine at the end of the day. For the sauce, of course.

  3. weirleader Says:

    My impression is that most of the “judgmental” types are the ones who’ve never had kids. Who else could think it would be easy?

  4. girldetective Says:

    Yeah, I used to be one of those judgmental types with no kids. Payback’s a bitch. The piccata turned out well, and I love the “veal sting!” And Tulip, I’m with you about lending a hand, but I can’t tell you how many blank looks I’ve gotten from other moms when I offer to help them with their kids, their groceries, their stroller, the door, etc. I don’t know if they’re just so unused to being offered help that it’s completely alien, or what.