Yesterday we met a friend and her baby at the park. Her daughter is one and Twig really loves being the bigger kid around her. She is gentle, and caring, and loves showing the young baby around. The day was going great, we went to the library, had a picnic outside on the grass, and then played at the playground. Toward the end of the day, I told her that we were going to be leaving soon, and she should pick her "last thing" to do. She seemed to get it, but when we all got our things and said, "Let's go", she let me have it.
It started with a pout, then gradually a whine. At this point I knew I was doomed -- there was no way to turn the tide. I could see a tsunami heading right for me. Then the tears followed by a scream: "I WANT TO STAY MOMMY!" I haven't had a ton of experience with tantrums but lately I feel I have been thrown into a crash course. This was the first time in public, and I had my friend there to witness the whole thing. I couldn't help but notice her jaw on the ground when she watched. She even said she has never seen anything like this. She offered to help me hold her but I knew that might even take this to another level. There I was with a mini Linda Blair, and all I could do is try to walk as she pulled on me. I couldn't pick her up because she was kicking, I couldn't reason with her, so all I could do was walk and say, "I am sorry you are upset."
After finally getting back to the car, she calmed down enough to get her in her car seat. She was finally down to a wimper when I asked her if she was ready to talk about it. She said when she got home she would. When I got out of the car, she said, "I am sorry mommy." When I asked her what she was sorry for, she explained, "I kicked and screamed because I didn't want to leave." I explained how she could do it differently next time. That she could tell me she was upset or disappointed without the kicking, screaming, crying and whining. She told me that she will be really good at it when she gets older.
I came home and took out a big 'ol parenting book and looked up tantrums. It said they are saved for those they love the most. How sweet! It also seemed I was doing everything right. I have an individual, and a pretty amazing one when she isn't doing the angry dance. Just like all the other glorious phases of parenthood, I will try to gracefully glide in and out of this one with two left feet.