The Dreaded Tantrums


1. She wanted her toast cut into tiny triangles, not small triangles.
2. She didn’t want to wear a jumper outside.
3. She got sand in her mouth (because she sneakily ate it after she was told not to).
4. I helped her clean her teeth.
5. I washed her hair.
6. I wouldn’t let her use the sharp scissors.
7. She didn’t want to hold my hand while we crossed the road.
8. She didn’t get to climb across the car to her car seat, she had to get in through her own door. (The horror.)
9. Her brother wouldn’t stop jumping on the trampoline, when she wanted to relax there.
10. The sand wasn’t wet enough.
11. The doll wouldn’t sit properly on the dollhouse lounge.
12. She didn’t want her dirty face cleaned.
13. She wanted me to push her “the right way” on the swing. “Like last time!” (No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get it right.)
14. I wouldn’t let her draw on the walls.
15. When I cleaned her pictures off the walls that she had so sneakily (and beautifully) drawn while I was in the shower.
16. She wanted the purple texta her brother had (even though there was another purple texta available that was exactly the same.)
17. It was her brother’s turn to pick a tv show.
18. Craft time was over (after only three hours.)
19. She didn’t want her banana chopped up.
20. We had no Easter eggs (it’s early September…)
21. I wouldn’t read her a pile of 17 bedtime stories. (She had to pick just three, the poor child.)
22. It was bedtime.
23. Her blankets “weren’t right”.

Do you see any rational thoughts here, in this list? Well, I guess bedtime isn’t so bad, but I’m like an old nana & to me bedtime is always welcome. But really, this is a little insight for you on the logic of a three year old. Do you see what I’m saying here… THEY BASICALLY HAVE NONE. They want what they want, be it nonsensical or not, and they really don’t like the word “no”.

Has your child had a meltdown in the shops before? It is such a wonderful experience, isn’t it? No matter how kind and understanding you are to your child, it’s pretty likely they’ll scream at you to “GO AWAY!” and soon enough you’ll have strangers staring your way like you’re a murderer, a kidnapper or some kind of monster. This is especially true when the meltdown occurs just as you’re arriving to the car. “No, really, I’m not trying to steal this screaming child – she just didn’t want to hold my hand is all… she’s just so independent, you see?” Is what I want to say to all the onlookers, gawking at the noisy spectacle that is myself and my child.

But instead, I struggle to get my daughter into the car, avoiding eye contact with everyone. My child is now almost cat like in her refusal to climb in, she grabs at the doorframe with all fours, all the while screaming blue murder, with a few choice words thrown in between the howls.

“This is fun!” I think. “Being a mum is so rewarding!” I remind myself, as sweat starts to bead beneath my eyes and on my neck.

If I’m honest, this moment seriously sucks.

What makes it worse is those disapproving looks. Even when from total strangers, these dirty looks have a way of piercing through you. These squinted eyes and upturned noses, they make you feel like you want to sink right down through the carpark floor and disappear.

So do me a favour. Next time you see a mum with a small child screaming like a banshee, please remember that these little monsters have absolutely no logic, and the poor mother is doing her very best with this wild animal that her child has suddenly morphed into.

Instead of staring at her with judging eyes, try giving her a kind, understanding smile. You have no idea how much it will mean to that woman, in that moment, to not feel so alone.

All we need is a little bit of friendly support to keep us going. Remember, just a smile will do.

(Well… Mostly… except for that time a lovely lady helped me push the trolley over to my car when I was struggling to push it and carry a screaming baby and toddler. I will never forget that lady, she was like an angel to me that day. But that’s another story.)

Jess Hunt is a freelance writer from Australia. Her work has been published by some of the country’s biggest parenting websites, including: Essential Baby, Kidspot, and Mamamia.

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