Jan 30, 2011

toddler battles

We are now in full-on toddler battle mode.  In fact, we had our first public meltdown Friday night.  Cue parental embarrassment and feelings of incompetence.  I'm just so glad we've now been initiated into THAT club.

All joking aside, it could have been a lot worse.  We went out to eat Friday night at a pretty family friendly place.  Thank goodness it was loud inside.  We have this Fisher Price travel highchair that was passed down to us from a wise mommy-friend, and it straps into a regular chair and has a tray attached.  The tray saves us from octopus arms and spilled drinks most of the time.  We decided to try out the restaurant highchair because we were too lazy to get ours out of car, and of course, the highchair our waitress brought us had a broken strap.  (Those of you with toddlers understand that they are escape artists as well as octopi and must be strapped down at all times.)  Silly mommy and daddy didn't notice the broken strap until the sweet toddler was already in the chair, so we had to take her out and switch the highchairs.  No big deal, I thought.  Cara bounced happily on my lap and chattered away.

It was when I tried to put her into the new highchair that she transformed into a toddler-at-war.  She was so mad that she did that crying-red-face-not-breathing thing until she threw up all over herself.  We stared in shock, and then desperately tried to clean her up and become invisible.  Really, Cara?  Was that absolutely necessary?

I put Cara back in my lap and she returned to her former sweetness, and I have admit that I was a little confused.  Why the sudden aversion to the highchair?  She sat in my lap for a few minutes and then in her daddy's lap, and then we tried the highchair again.  Bad, bad idea.  That highchair must have been made of scorching hot coals or flesh-searing acid.  We let her sit there wailing for a minute or two. 

The looks people throw you while you have a screaming child are nothing short of laserbeams.  They may as well say out loud what a horrible, mean parent you are.  Some of them say that you have a spoiled brat of a child, while others smirk and are grateful that it's you and not them.  Very few of these looks offer any pity or understanding.  Jerks.

Anyway, I decided that Cara and I should probably walk outside so that she could get her emotions under control.  Once she stopped crying, we had a very serious conversation:

ME:  Do you want to eat your chicken and fries?

CARA:  (sniff, sniff)  Okay.

ME:  Then you have to sit in your highchair.

CARA:  (wailing) Noooooo!

We went through this exact conversation five times.  On the fifth time, we had a breakthrough:

ME:  Do you want to eat your chicken and fries?

CARA:  (sniff) Okay.

ME:  Then you have to sit in your highchair.

CARA:  (pause, sniff, lip tremble, pause)  Okay.

What???  Did I really just reason with my almost 19-month-old?  Well, yes, actually, I did because I took her back in the restaurant and put her in the highchair.  She poked that bottom lip out, but did not protest.  And she ate her chicken and fries, and mommy and daddy sighed in relief and exhaustion.

9 comments:

  1. As a person without kids I thank you for taking her outside to work on the calming her down part. I know kids will be kids and I try to be patient for a few minutes, and not be annoyed by intermittent screams and noise, but sustained interruption of my meal (or movie or shopping or whatever) really get under my skin. I clearly remember my mom removing me from stores and restaurants if I threw a public tantrum. It worked. I definitely learned that screaming at dinner was NOT going to get me my way. Sounds like Cara is already grasping the concept. Kudos.

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  2. You sound like a wonderful parent that will do anything for their child! I love your blog :) I found you through Comment Love day. Hope you'll visit!

    xoxo
    Katie
    http://loveiseverywhere.blogspot.com/

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  3. I think we had a conversation about this being a big fear of mommyhood-the public tantrum. Sounds like you handled it GREAT!! I'm impressed with Cara's acceptance of the highchair. I'm not surei could have reasoned with Caroline.

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  4. Oh man...the woes of toddlerhood! our youngest is 2 right now...and he's sucking the life out of us. THe screaming, the tantrums, the defiance, the all-out naughtiness...hubby and I are feeling powerless against him!! You should get a gold star for going out to eat...we do it rarely. People w/o kids are so judgemental when the little terror is acting out or having a meltdown. THere are a lot less dagger glares if we keep our circus w/in the confines of our home!

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  5. You handled this like a pro, I've had this happen one time where we literally had to stand up and leave because my little guy wasn't having ANY of it. Thank you for giving me hope :)

    Deeluxuries

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  6. Good Job, Mommy! Now, to always stay as calm as you did and remember your tricks is key to the continuation of happy outings. No, the kids won't always respond so wonderfully. But keeping it consistent is key! Way to go!! :)

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  7. Wow...I am impressed! We have been on a restaurant hiatus as of late because Jude cannot tolerate high chairs when "big brother Penn" gets to sit in a regular chair now. We've gone weeks without stepping foot in a restaurant (except with adults only). Once every couple of weeks, we'll do takeout, which seems to work best for us until Jude gets the hang of the whole "shhhhh means get quiet" thing. Maybe occasional restaurants will be a part of our family life again one day...this gives me hope:)

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  8. Hi, Stopped over to thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment on my blog! It helps to have encouraging words! Happy Blogging!

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  9. Love this story! So relatable! Just this Sunday we had our worst battle yet....in church. My son is 22 months and was talking quite loudly and anytime I corrected him he would yell "NO". The accoustics in the church were horrible (not our usual church) so everyone could hear us fighting as he continued to say no to everything I said. Once I took his toy away he started yelling "give me that back!". I think he gets this from his older brother when they fight. Well, not OK to say that to Mommy! Anyway, hang in there. more battles are likely to come. But be thankful for your victories :)

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