Everytime we go to Target, I am aware that I have about 30 minutes before Fiona becomes a tyrant. If I continue to move and give her things to play with (and eat), she is the sweetest toddler alive. She even says “Hi!” to people (although it’s usually after we’ve made it around the next curve and so they can no longer see her).
The last time we went… I should have known better. There were multiple red flags.
I started in the baby section and she starts saying, “Pa-Pa” when we go near the training potties (she has one at home that we’ve attempted… she isn’t ready so we aren’t pushing it. She likes to go on it because it has a stupid button that makes a “swoosh/ding” sound when you hit it). When I said, “Yep, that’s a potty” she threw a Cheez-It (the super healthy, preservative-free snack) at my face. I should have known then.
When we got to the diaper section, she started pointing to her butt and saying, “THIS! THIS!” which usually means she’s gone poop but she just wanted to inform me that yes, the item in my hand was the same that was wrapped around her butt. When I grabbed wipes she reached for them and missed and threw a total tantrum. Being the so-so mom that I am I gave them to her and she said, “Thank you!” And then she threw the wipes on the floor and started screaming. I should have known THEN!
When we got to the grocery section, we ran into someone I grew up with. Ohhhhh no. They want to stop and talk. They also don’t have children so, despite Fiona throwing things and starting to cry, they kept trying to console her. In the middle of Target. Right before nap time. When Mommy should have known better.
I made a rookie mistake. I took Fiona out of the cart and said, “Okay, but only if you promise to be good.” REALLY?!?! She immediately took off and went for the waist-height cheeses. She grabbed all the cheese she could and threw them on the floor and started laughing hysterically. I began to pick them up and when I tried to put them back she threw herself to the floor and screamed, “MAMA! MAMA! NNNOOOOOOOOOOO MAMA!” and bawled her eyes out.
At this point, a normal mother would get really embarrassed, get her purse (and hopefully her toddler) and walk out.
What did I do? I started laughing. I didn’t know what else to do and frankly, it was hilarious. There I am in the dairy section and my toddler is throwing cheese all over the floor and throwing a complete tantrum. I realized mid-tantrum that if it was someone else’s kid, I wouldn’t think, “What a terrible mother.” I’d think, “Oh my god that poor mother. Now, pass the popcorn- let’s enjoy the show.”
Because that’s what it is. Fiona was putting on a show for everyone at Target to see what she could get me to do. Rather, what she could get me to let HER do. While I can’t say that I enjoyed the show, and while I can’t say that I wasn’t a little embarrassed, I at least recognized a couple of things:
1) Her tantrum doesn’t reflect my skills as a mom
2) Her tantrum doesn’t mean that everyone is looking at me thinking I’m a bad mother (and if they do, then screw them!)
3) Her tantrum meant that I need to PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS SHE GIVES ME!!!!!!!! If she is rubbing her eyes, don’t leave to go to Target if it’s within an hour of her nap time. She fell asleep in the car on the way home (which is a 5 minute drive) and then was wide awake when I took her out of it. That day, she basically skipped her nap… it was super fun.
Below is Fiona.. wide awake after an unsuccessful attempt at a nap (and an unsuccessful trip to Target).