We have seen the odd ugly little “tantrum” at home where it’s safe to leave your child to scream, like an abused lunatic. I’ve even gone as far as to giggle at Daniel’s dramatic scenes at home, in my safe, calm space. But wow, when it happened to me this weekend at church… Safe, calm, composed and “ignore him” were the absolute last, adjectives that came to mind. In fact, I was so overwhelmed myself, that I too, threw a little tantrum. I lost my shit i.e. an adult tantrums.
This Sunday morning started like many other Sunday mornings, with a little kick start at around 08:15, when my family realizes that in less than 40 minutes we need to leave for church. It takes a bit of nagging, a few stare downs, but generally we are out the door and dressed appropriately by the time we need to go. This morning was no different. We arrived at church in time for a cup of coffee, which was awesome because we missed it at home. Daniel seemed to be his usual friendly self. He was a bit more niggly than usual, during praise and worship, and nearing the end of it – I took him to the mother’s room at the back of the church.
He was fine for a while, and then… he wasn’t.
He wanted me to sit, stand, and maybe if he could say “cartwheel”, he would have asked me to do that too. I smiled and gently complied. For reference, I cannot tell you what triggered our tantrum, because I just remember that he was fine and then… He was kicking and screaming on the floor. I was trying to shush him, calm him, smile and nod my head, in a disapproving way at on looking moms.
I even called for a time-out, this usually works, it calms him down. Of course, not on this day. This day it made him freak out, then he ran in to church to his dad. I was relieved. My husband could help. Half way there he didn’t want to go anymore. Kicking and screaming now, to NOT go to dad. Out of the church, we scurried. He didn’t want to be in my arms, but I couldn’t put him down either. Daniel kicked, bit, pulled, nailed and hit in protest.
All this directed at me.
The more I tried to, through my teeth, in the calmest sternest voice I could get out, ask him, what was wrong, the more he cried. My tension dripped off my face, like sweat after a really good workout. I could feel my ears burning as the more and more people looked at us. I don’t even know what I was feeling, embarrassment, anxiety, shame? Whatever it was – it was not cool.
Eventually I held him really close to me, in a bit of an aggressive “you will do what I want you to do” kind of way. I was also really “gatvol” at this point and took him to his father. (Even the fact that I just called him father and not dad or hubby should give you an inkling of how pissed I was.) I then stormed off and took some time to just recollect myself. Can you believe the little bugger actually said “Sorry Daddy” when I handed him over? After all that %^$#!
Tantrums are what kids use to express big emotions, because they can’t express it in words like we can. A tantrum is used to express and manage feelings while trying to understand the world around them. No, I’m not going to tell you how to avoid them – our kids are human beings and they too, are allowed meltdowns. But you can cope a little better than me, and if you don’t, so what? You’ll live. He’ll live. He will wrap his arms round your neck and you will forget it all. It’s okay.
Tantrums are not a reflection of your parenting – your child has emotions, they are entitled to them as much as the next person!
I will say though, that next time, I’ll be more prepared. Mentally prepared of course because unfortunately there aren’t any tantrum kits out just yet.