Tempering the Tantrum

Sunday, 10:00PM
Mommy, you annoying me! Do you hear me? Mom-maaay!
I heard the words (“annoying” happened to be a new one), but I couldn’t help but smile after the weekend we had.
I sunk a little deeper into the feathery plumpness of my pillow. It smelled like fresh lavender sprinkled with mint and a hint of rosemary (I love essential oil). If it wasn’t for the snickers escaping my oh-so-considerate husband’s lips, I might have been able to drown out the dawning of temper tantrum #248 occurring down the hall.
As a mom of a toddler, certain survival skills are learned early. For example, we build our stamina each time our tot escapes our grasp at the supermarket, makes a bee-line for the lobster “pool” but loses focus and attempts to climb the Pepperidge Farm donut hole display instead. Similarly we master the art of mental preparedness by always having an answer to the question, “why?” Even in the middle of church, when it is exceptionally quiet, on the one Sunday we take our chickie out of children’s ministry early to “really” experience worship.
Lastly, we hone our ability to adapt no matter the situation or awkwardness. When our 3 1/2 year old (22-month-post-nursing kiddo) tells us, publicly, that he likes our boobs, we fein an over-exaggerated laugh, ask about the latest episode of Handy Manny and frantically search our purse for anything consumable which can be placed into our little darling’s mouth. Toddler outbursts, though, are a true force of nature and test of will. Planning, training, and foresight sometimes do little to temper the actual tantrum.
Hahahaha! Did he just say that you are annoying him?
36 Hours Earlier
Aiden started “soccer” a couple months ago. His soccer lessons are more accurately defined as early childhood development playdates which are regularly scheduled every Saturday for 12 weeks. Yes, he is part of a “team” but there is no dribbling, no passing, no blocking, no scoring…you get the picture. There is instruction from a coach and the kids learn to follow directions and play together in a semi-structured environment. Aiden’s “soccer lessons” are a good thing. This past Saturday, I was flying solo with my little munchkin.
One of Aiden’s first “soccer” lessons
The second we stepped out onto the soccer field, I felt it; the knowingness that something was awry. Aiden seemed more disinterested than usual. He refused to waddle like a penguin across the field with his peers. Even though penguin mama was flapping her wings frantically in an effort to cheer him on, he continued to inch forward at a snails pace, no wing-flapping included.
A new game was introduced next. It involved aliens which I tried to sell Aiden in my best extraterrestrial voice. He ran towards the circle where all the kids were seated listening to coach explain the game. It involved mini, orange cones. I took a deep breath, happy that he was going to participate. In an instant, he seized the tower of cones right out of the coach’s hands, ran with lightening speed over to the adjacent field and catapulted them forth. I was in full pursuit, but it was too late. I picked up the cones, haphazardly yelled a handful of reprimands, and tried to capture my little marathon runner. Unfortunately, he ran in a zig-zag pattern across the field and away from me; all-the-while crazily-laughing with his hands waving about…now he decided to flap…perfect.
That was only the beginning…
Soon thereafter we left soccer. It was a half-hour before soccer was to end, but we left. When we exited the sportsplex, Aiden got the picture. He started screaming, scratching, hitting and kicking but I had him in a bear hug and mommy survival mode took over. Somehow I buckled him in the carseat; it is all still a bit blurry.
We drove and drove and drove until I realized that my gas tank was empty. No my car did not breakdown (though that would fit well within the context of this story). I made it to the gas station in the nick o’time. Aiden was still scrying (a cross between screaming and crying) and I was still holding up my code of silence. I refused to indulge his hysterics until he calmed. There were a few moments when he promised to be good and then asked to go back to soccer. When I explained that we were not returning, the tantrum began again.
You are my mommy.
You not ‘posed to be mean.
You my mommmmm-my.
At that moment I turned from the front seat and looked at his sweet face. It had been quite a while since we left soccer. His red cheeks, glistening eyes and furrowed brow made me want to hold him in my arms and kiss him all over. (We were parked at the gas station by this point.)
Aiden, mommy loves you all the time.
No matter what, I will always love you.
I asked if he was ready to go home. He nodded and said that he loved me too. I asked if I could give him a hug and, of course, my little babe wanted nothing else. I walked the perimeter of my car situated in front of tank #3, opened the rear passenger door and gave my big boy a great big hug. When we pulled out of the station, $71.23 later, I was proud of myself. I was actually ready for this tantrum, this seemingly unpredictable force of nature.
* * *
Late Sunday night, when I heard the rants of my sleepy tot coming down the hall, I couldn’t help but smile. Celebrating all the tiny (recurring) moments life has to offer is important; every tantrum, tirade and meltdown included.
Every tiny moment matters, folks.
And for that, I am thankful every, single day.
Tiny Moments – Since My Last Post
Just for fun
A “spring” snowfall
So we had to pull out all the stops…brought Frank the Elf back to leave a little note for Aiden asking him to “listen to mommy and daddy…”