Mother of All Meltdowns.
Yesterday Sanj had his Doc’s appointment first thing in the morning and was going to come home for an early lunch and so,I was busy getting lunch ready all morning.And Aadya missed her morning nap too. So,by lunch time,she was so droopy eyed. I thought she would sleep,as soon as she finished eating,but didn’t happen.
Later in the afternoon,I took Aadya to the mall.We had a nice time,walking around,window shopping.She was so excited,she didn’t even want to take her nap. I also didn’t force her and really,I couldn’t have even if I wanted to.We went to the play area-she loves playing there,but yesterday she didn’t want to get out of her stroller.So,I just kept walking.
We went to Barnes and Noble,bookstore and she was so excited to be in the children’s section.She almost jumped out of her stroller.We played with the assorted soft toys, then,noticed the train set and abandoned the toys..Poor Mumma had to pick up everything.while zooming one engine after the other,the little eyes spotted something pink and purple..( the favorite colors ever!!) and the train set was left behind.The pink and purple thing was actually a ride-on Car!!Some one Else’s!! and so obviously very interesting. I told her no first time,she listened..then,turned around to take one last glance and got attracted again..and again..
I had to pick her up and carry her to the other side,where I thought we would cuddle up and read some books..or flip some pages.But no such thing happened.She spotted a group,that was much more interesting than just plain old mumma. There was a mommy,a grandma and yuppieeeeeeeee 3 kids! So, Mumma was promptly forgotten and the Princess,decided to go and spend her evening with them. Mumma coaxed her to say “bye-bye” and then we sat down to read.4-5 pages and she was bored.We picked another book..this time a puppet book..Elmo and he clapped too. That she liked. And then,suddenly just like that she was bored,got up,said..bye..and left. I followed her..so she decided to play catch..She ran and went and hid behind two teen aged girls.I picked her up,put her in the stroller and took a deep long breath,found a comfortable chair,near the glass overlooking the walkway,gave her the snack cup.She sat looking out,munching her fruit,while I happily read my book. All was well in my world.
Then,tummy full,she slept,while we were window shopping.As soon as I saw her sleeping,I rushed back to the bookstore cafe and ordered myself a white chocolate mocha.I needed it after all that..and in retrospect,for later too. So,I sat sipping my coffee,reading my book.I must have just finished half of my mocha,when the princess woke up.First,she smiled at me sweetly,I started moving the stroller,hoping that she would sleep..but no,she woke up and she was angry.She started crying.I gave her some water,she said NO..cookie NO! By then she was bawling.I tried to come out of the book store..and she started thrashing..I took her out of the stroller.BIG mistake. She got even mad.I tried to put her back in the stroller,and she slipped out..GAhhhhhhhhhhh…
Everyone around me was staring at me..waiting to see what I do. The new stroller is light..it has no cup holders and if the bag on the handle is too heavy and the stroller empty it tips over. So,as soon as Aadya slipped /jumped out,the stroller fell down.So,I grabbed her with one hand,steadied the stroller with another.She wiggled out and ran toward the exit..I pushed the stroller and ran after her..once outside,she walked around angry and crying..for some more time..she didn’t want me to pick her up.I set up both the bags on the stroller and picked her up,rushed to Starbucks and bought milk for her.She loves the organic vanilla milk there.But yesterday she just refused to drink it. I ordered another ice tea for myself.I was tired and sweating..I am not kidding and I had forgotten my mocha,in the bookstore..There was no way I was going back there.
The crying continued..She was so sad/upset/angry.Even when I was carrying her,she was crying.She was hugging me tight and crying.And she didn’t want me to sit down.And she didn’t want to eat or drink.I decided to go to the family lounge-so that if she needs a diaper change,I will do that there or if she just wants to cry..she can do so,but I will be spared the pointed looks of bystanders. So,I just put her sippy cup,my iced tea cup in the diaper bad,set it on the stroller and carried Aadya in my arms. And she decided,she wanted to push the stroller..while I was holding her.I managed to reach the family lounge..And this whining monster turned all sunshiny.I thought..wow..I looked up to two girls walking by with their moms..So,the smiles were for them.
They passed us by and the whining started again. I just sat down on the chair in the family lounge..The Tandav continued for some more time and then,like an angel,a mom came out of the restroom with her daughter I think 4-5 year old. Aadi saw them and started smiling,waving at them..I almost went down on my knees and asked her to please not leave me alone..ever!! She gave me an understanding look..and said”honey this too shall pass”..”I hope so”..I mumbled.. They stayed and talked to us for a while..
The moment passed..and Madame cooled down. I offered her all the same things again..her milk,her water,her snack and my iced-tea.She chose my iced-tea,obviously..and sipped it daintily..If I told anyone at that moment that this was the same little girl,who had a melt-down minutes ago,they would laugh on my face.Then,I offered her some pretzel bites and she ate that too. Again something she had refused earlier.
And all was well again. But,it left me thinking,what was it that triggered this melt-down. Was it lack of sleep? or was it hunger? Or was she feeling hot?Or was she hungry and hot and didn’t understand what was going on?
Meltdowns are a part of growing up..but they are hard to deal with.I find myself tired and sapped of energy at the end of each big meltdown..really.When she was thrashing and pushing me away,I tried to be cool,but a teeny tiny bit of my heart,did wonder if something had happened that made her hate me suddenly.The books,the countless websites and the pediatricians tell us,to put the angry child in a safe place and go on with your business..That’s only possible at home.Surely,you can’t leave you crying child in the middle of a busy shopping mall and continue window shopping. Then,I also read,somewhere that if you are outside,then,take the child to a quiet corner and be with her,for as long as she is upset.Then,when she calms down,hug her and tell her,that you understand why she was upset.
I tried that,I took her to a calm place.. but for me to act calmly and find the calm place or the right place didn’t happen instantly.It took a lot of experimentation.And finally,why did she eat and drink the same things that I had offered her earlier..but in the new place..was it because she was tired of the strangers milling around in the mall..Why?
Whoever said-“Parenting means constant learning,” wasn’t kidding.
What is your take on this?How would you have reacted if your toddler behaved like this and you felt lost and didn’t know what to do with him/her?Please take a minute and tell me 🙂