Every toddler can throw an epic tantrum time and again. In the privacy of your home it is just that, private. Though no tantrum is ever fun, it happens, you deal and you move on.
But when that same tantrum happens in public it is a completely different story. Today we lived that different story….
This morning we had our carpets cleaned, I was trying to wrangle the kids and keep them off the carpets as they dried and it was, of course, raining and thundering outside. Things were a little stressful as the morning went on and everyone was getting a little stir crazy.
I had a brilliant idea: I would take them out for lunch! A little mommy date with the two kiddos. Off to Panera we went. Shit. What a bad idea that was. I should have known by the resistance to getting out of pajamas that it wasn’t going to be a great experience.
We ordered our food, sat down to enjoy a bowl of soup and just like that it started. The chicken soup was too dark. I, apparently, didn’t get my 3 year old the same soup as last time. More like the soup was in a darker bowl than last time, but let’s not get hung up on details here!!
The protest began. Crossed arms, pouting and everything.
After about 90 seconds when he realized that he was getting no reaction out of me he ate is yogurt and sat there. When his sister promptly finished her soup and yogurt, she wanted her cookie that she had been promised if she ate her lunch.
Meltdown of epic proportions.
The poor Panera guy came over to see if there was anything he could help with. Nope. The answer was nope. Gigi and I were finishing our lunch and I refused to give him the attention he wanted as he screamed for his cookie.
We finished our lunch. We got up. We walked out. Actually, I walked out, Gigi walked out, Connor was dragged out.
The same people stared, the same Panera guy asked if I needed help (which I appreciated) and I was deeply uncomfortable but refused to stop parenting.
I didn’t care what they thought. I cared that my son, my irrational three year old son, understood that he was not getting the cookie because he did not eat his lunch and because this behavior was certainly not going to be rewarded.
We got home and I told him to go to his room to cool down, he needed to read a book or play with his toys but he wasn’t coming out until he was calm.
5 minutes later I walked in to find him sleeping.
He was tired. He was over tired. But that was no excuse right? Right. Right. I know the answer. I know what’s best of my child. I do. I. do. But sometimes it’s still really hard and it just doesn’t sit well.
Despite his nagging for snacks all afternoon, I stood strong – he had one bowl of fruit and we had an early dinner (thank God he can’t tell time!). He ate everything, every last bite.
I was heartsick knowing how hungry he was and the afternoon he had. The afternoon I had.
The best part? All he wanted to do after dinner was snuggle with his mama.
They need boundaries, they crave boundaries. That’s why I believe in boundaries.
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