I contend that toddlers are the cutest people on the planet. Yes, babies have a certain incomparable something, and older children can be very charming, indeed. But for sheer adorable-ness, you can’t beat a toddler. The way that they mimic you with little mispronunciations, insist on dressing themselves in the most outrageous outfits, and display their fledgling personalities is really endearing. And you know what? I think it has to be this way.
I think that nature specifically designed us to think our toddlers are unbearably cute, because they’re so difficult to live with. Let’s take my own 2 1/2 year old son, Jacob. In the past three days I have carried him kicking and screaming out of two stores and one elementary school. Wait, counting back it’s been more like four days – there was a grocery store in there. Oh, make that five days, he didn’t want to leave Maplewood Farm, either. Suffice it to say that there has been a lot of kicking and screaming lately.
In a calmer moment, Jacob very sweetly poses in front of a totem pole
Jacob’s behaviour is normal and age-appropriate. I distinctly recall carrying his big sister kicking and screaming out of stores, libraries and swimming lessons. And across many, many parking lots. This is where I am with Jacob right now, in fact. Little Dude wants to run. In stores, libraries, banks and, most especially, across parking lots. Something about the expanse of pavement really appeals to him. I can’t allow him to do this, as it is phenomenally unsafe. And so, after spending several minutes offering him choices and fruitlessly reasoning with him while everyone else waits, I have no choice but to hoist him up under my arm and undertake the walk of shame as he flails for all he’s worth.
I don’t know what everyone else thinks of me as I wrangle my wailing and writhing toddler. At this point, thankfully, I have honestly ceased to care. I avoid taking Jacob out in public as much as possible, do my best to smooth the transitions when I can’t avoid it, and then I accept the consequences. If someone else can’t handle my kid’s meltdown, they should just thank their lucky stars that they don’t live with him and vacate the area.
Putting myself in Jacob’s shoes, I see that he doesn’t enjoy the meltdowns, either. I ruin his fun at every turn. In response, he experiences a lot of frustration, and he’s not sure how to deal with it. It can’t be easy, containing all that emotion in such a small body. No wonder it spills out in loud and socially inappropriate ways.
Eventually, Jacob will get a better handle on his emotions. He’ll learn that I’m not stopping him from running into traffic just because I’m mean. I’ll be able to take him to such high-class establishments as the grocery store without it turning into a fiasco of epic proportions. But until that day comes, all I can do is avoid difficult situations whenever possible and wait my kid out. And, maybe, revel in his cuteness when he’s not screaming.
I could really use some commiseration. Share your own toddler tantrum stories, please! I know that I can’t be the only one who’s carrying her screaming child out of every building she enters. Can I?