One Way Ticket to Tantrum Town


My oldest, M1, was not much of a tantrum thrower. Oh, sure, she tried it a couple times, but she's the type of child who easily recognizes that the consequences of her negative behavior are loss of privileges for things she really wants to do. M1 isn't a fan of losing out on the fun stuff, so she kept her tantruming to a minimum.

Our youngest, M2, on the other hand, chose tantruming as her preferred method of stress relief during most of the time Hubs was deployed. Those continuous weeks of unbridled rage on her part were enough to make me weep with exhaustion. It was a nutty time and I never wanted to return to that place.

This morning, however, M2 decided it would be fun to visit her old haunt of Tantrum Town.

I, however, was dragged along for the ride, kicking and screaming.

Apparently, M2 arose nearly 45 mintues before her normal time. (FYI: Hubs, for future reference, a head's up on WHY she might have a come apart would be helpful). She was NOT her typical morning self. She made the ride to school with her entire front, face included, covered by her coat. It was dark and "magic" according to her...it was quiet to me and when it's snowing in traffic, I appreciate the quiet.

We dropped off M1 with very little incident. We arrived in the parking lot at M2's school some 3 minutes later. Transgression #1: I turned off the car before I unbuckled her car seat and allowed her start putting on her coat. Transgression #2: When I opened her car door and undid her car seat buckle, I should not have asked her to put on her coat.

To call what occurred after that a meltdown would be an understatement. She flopped herself from her seat onto the floor and kept hollering that she was NOT going to put on her jacket.

Now, to an adult, decorum dictates that you, at first, plaster a smile on your face, inquire about your darling's disposition, and wear a look of concern, all the while the hands are moving a mile a minute to try and gather what is needed to execute the move into the building. The mind also moves at warp speed to try and diagnose the least publicly humiliating way to enter the building. I believe, however, that there is an invisible and impenetrable wall parents arrive at as soon as the realization hits that we are going nowhere fast. At that point, it's all hands on deck and every mom for herself.

I had the pleasure of providing the little cherub with a rundown of the battle plan which amounted to: You may either put on your coat this moment and we will go into your school, or I will drag you from this car and you may enter your school without your coat. Either way, we're going in. With M1, this would have resulted in a puddle of tears. With M2, you see the steely glint of resolve in crystal blue eyes and just a hint of fear (or was that excitement?) over her inability to make herself do the right thing.

I picked up her backpack and jacket, ushered her from the car (rather unceremoniously, I might add), set her on her feet, shut the door, locked the car and proceeded to take her hand (wrist? arm?) and lead her across the lot. As soon as her feet hit the sidewalk, she performed a very impressive wet noodle maneuver culminating with a flop to the ground.

So, let's recap: It's the busiest time at daycare drop-off. It's snowing.  I'm standing over a writhing child who is now screaming for her coat...not because she is cold, but because I've told her NO. (Note: she is wearing a zip-up jacket over her clothes so she is NOT freezing by any means). There is a gaggle of mothers standing in front of the doorway, chatting. I notice one of the mothers is the very mom whose younger son tantrums just about every morning. And, one particular morning, I helped her get him into school. I picked up every article that fell from her hands as her son kicked and screamed; I opened every door and even followed her to his classroom where she, crying, gratefully accepted all her son's items back and apologized up & down to which I told her "Not a problem...it happens to everyone." I thought pehaps one of the gathered mothers might open a door.  You know, help a sister out.

Nope. They looked at me like I was standing there, completely naked, and that my child was a wild animal. Only half of their assessment had merit and, no, I didn't go to school nude today.

I wrestled M2 into the vestibule where she wouldn't take one step until she'd put on her jacket, further wrestled her into the building and then on to her classroom. By the time she reached her classroom, she was exhausted as was I. She gets nap today, though, and I do not. After holding her for awhile, she went to the art table to glue packing peanuts onto pieces of cardboard while I slinked off to my car to go find an injection of caffeine.

I hope this was simply a result of waking up too soon. I can't make this an every day thing again like I did when Hubs was deployed. Oh, and yes, if I had it to do over again, I might have recognized the signs of an impending tantrum rather than just normal three-year-old obstinance and remained in the car until it passed. As it were, I was out of the car and so was she before I had an inkling we were going for broke. 

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