‘Tis the season for taking my children shopping more often than any sane person would agree to and quick trips to the store for a gallon of milk turning into a three hour fiasco when the corner store has a sale on candy canes.
Since my husband and I recently found ourselves with the distinct honor of being at the opposite end of the mall as our vehicle when not one, not two, but THREE of our children began full-on meltdown mode, I thought this would be a good time to create a code of conduct for onlookers.
I’m sure my local mall is reading and carving this in stone as I blog.
If you see a child melting down in public:
1. Obey the 5 second rule. You may look long enough to make sure the child is not lost or being kidnapped. Once you realize that neither is the case LOOK AWAY. Do NOT look back again, point out the scene to your latte-sipping friend or stop traffic by placing your jaw on the floor (eeew germs! plus someone tripping over your bottom teeth would not a good Christmas picture make).
2. See a flying object, pick it up. If a glove, boot, shopping bag or small child lands at your feet. Do NOT stop and look down at said object with disdain, waiting for frazzled parent to place toddler in a football hold and pick it up. Embrace the holiday season and whatever is in your way, hand it to red-faced parent and do not flinch when they accept with whatever limb may be free (toes are just another set of fingers when your hands are full).
3. Please, for the love of every mother-with-young-children’s silent night, don’t tsk, sigh, purse your lips or hmph. Do you think we are not fully aware bribing with stickers/shopping during naptime/running out of snacks/bringing only 10,000 pacifiers is not buying us one more moment? This smile is not one of Joy to the World it is of glazed over insanity. Unless you have wine, a nanny or a spaceship ready to board, just give an understanding nod and you will have a new best friend.
Fa la la la la.
Do you have more suggestions to add to my list or maybe an epic meltdown story to make me feel better?
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I try to tell the mom/dad/caregiver that they’re doing a good job and give them a good “been there and survived” smile.
*I love that you included the pick up the flying objects part!!!
Paige Kellerman says
I don’t know how I missed this post, but spot-on, my friend. Spot. on.
I’m sure you’ve never had to carry all of yours out of somewhere screaming like us right :)? We are almost to the point where they do not all meltdown at once in public. Almost.
Well, clearly you touched a nerve with your readers with this one because HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS HOLY–look at all the responses! I promise I would never do any of these things. I have way too many mommy friends and I’ve been with them when these meltdowns occur and I know it is NEVER a reflection on the parent. So to cast judging stares or flying tsks in the direction of the mom (or pop) of child is an offense I would never tolerate (or be caught guilty of).
I just give you credit for entering a mall holiday season with three kids in tow. That in and of itself is quite a feat.
Kim Wemhaner says
I once had to walk away from a very full grocery basket and remove my oldest daughter, 3 or 4 at the time, from the store. She proceeded to try to pull away from me as we approached the street. I, in fear for her safety and upon, at that same moment, reaching the end of my proverbial rope, bent down to soundly swat her twice on her bum! She quickly settled down. At the same time, a young black woman walked into the store pasing us very closely saying, “you right for that! You go, Mom!” I smiled and proceeded to my car. My fear of being seen as a mom who’d lost it in public evaporated! I still smile when I think of her!
JDaniel4's Mom says
I send up a quick prayer for them. JDaniel has had some winners in the last month. I hope people who see us with pray too.
Tina @ Life Without Pink says
AMEN! I’ve been dealing with 3 yr old tantrums so much….and I hate when people give me the evil eye…like I am enjoying it too! Great post!
Making It Work Mom says
We had a beyond epic meltdown a couple of years ago in our local CVS. It was a meltdown over sugar bubble gum that I refused to buy her. My little one literally lost her mind and I ended up calmly picking her up off the floor (oh yes she was in full meltdown), walking to the car, and then wrestling her tantruming body into the carseat (and of course I had found that great parking spot right in front of the store). I looked calm on the outside, but sweat was pouring off my body under my winter coat and by the time I made it to the driver’s seat (as she was still screaming) I as shaking. It was god awful!
Great advice for those I have never had children or I forgot what it was like to have little children people.
Amy Sullivan says
Seriously good advice. Especially the part about the tsking. Geeesh.
My little gal did not want to leave the library today and was getting herself wound into a snit. The nearby mom started interrupting my conversation with V to try to “be supportive” by echoing what I was saying to V in a sing-song voice, like it would make a difference if SHE said it. Then, when I reached for V’s coat, she snatched it up and started to go to put it on my child?! Um, I don’t know you, keep your hands off my kid!!! I said, between clenched teeth, “I’ll do that.” V chimed in simultaneously to get on my side for a minute, “Mama, do!” Glad that annoyance for overstepped boundaries is a point on which my two year old and I can agree! UGH! Good post!
Oh and I’m with Martha aka Momsoap.
I have a 2 and a half year old and 15 month old. These rules should be applicable world wide.
Martha aka Momsoap says
This is great! I’d add another rule: Do not attempt to cheer up the child by cracking jokes, telling them to stop crying, or intervening with toys/food/stickers/etc. This only makes it worse.
Totally agree, so funny when people try to intervene, as if we have not already tried EVERYTHING under the sun.
Oh how many times I’ve been there. Luckily with mine 7 years apart it very rarely happens at the same time, but with Aspergers rearing it’s head at the most opportune times, you never know. I know I keep a plethora of snacks on hand always with the toddler, if not there will be a catastrophic meltdown. I love your advice, it should be a world wide code. It has happened to every mother at least once in their life whether they’ll admit it or not.
Oh SAME here. My little ones meltdown but then my teen, with autism can explode without any notice.
I don’t have any other advice; you’ve covered it perfectly.
I do, however, have the utmost sympathy, because I have been there. Though I only have two, not three. If only I had another arm to push the stroller in a straight line while carrying them both in football mode.
Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) says
A few weeks ago, I heard a kid screaming in front of a Walmart. I was outside selling tickets for a charity fundraiser and the guy standing in front of me says, “someone needs a time-out.” I wanted to smack him. People just stood around and stared while this poor grandmother tried to get this kid out of there. I heard the kid screaming and saying he wanted a toy, and she did not give in, which I felt was appropriate of her. I saw her call the kid’s dad and try to get the child to calm down, but he batted the phone away. It took me a few seconds to decide whether to step in and help her. But, I thought…helping was better than just staring at her and I knew how she felt. I go through it ALL THE TIME. Horrible meltdowns. So, I walked over to her and asked if he liked bubbles. And then I asked him. He looked at me with uncertain eyes as I opened the bubbles up and gently blew some bubbles toward him. He flinched at first, and then smiled and started batting at the bubbles. No more screaming. The grandmother looks at me and says, “He’s never done this with me before. Thank you so much.” I handed her the bubbles through teary eyes and said, “I’ve been though it before. Sometimes a distraction helps.” When the boy’s sister turned around and thanked me as they walked across the parking lot, I could barely choke out a “You’re welcome.” Why? Because I thought about how many times I had been in that situation and people just stared at us. How much better would it be if someone, anyone, would step in and help?
When my oldest, now 21 was 3, she had a meltdown in the check out line at Walmart. The cashier started counting to three, when I ask her what she was planning on doing when she got to three, she just gave me the most dumbfounded look. Shut her up.
April Vineyard says
A few of my faves are that my toddler isn’t on sedatives when i am dragging him thru the grocery store, it is a test of will, he wants you to see how mean I am making the poor child come to the store, your comments will only strengthen his cause and you will become responsible for the beastly transformation that will make you run to the nearest exit! Also, I hate to tell you but your under the breath comments “I would never let my kids behave that way” are comments you will one day find yourself the recipient of! Oh, also two more important tips. #1 Men always wear a cup inthe toy isle. #2 Don’t run to assist the appearence of a child having a seizure or scream out don’t let him bite his tongue, unless the parent says there child is seizing. A tantrum can at times look like a seizure and us parents aren’t idiots we know the difference. Your interference will only provoke rage against you and destroy any progress that us parents have painfully been working on since childbirth. Personally, I believe your conceited judgements should carry a punishment of spending the whole day with a toddler at a mall in a store with valuable delicate merchandise!
Life As Wife says
This was me about 5 hours ago.
Luckily, the mall was so packed no one really noticed our meltdown among everyone else screaming!
Practical Parenting says
I so love this post! Great advice for good-for-nothing onlookers!
Walk away very fast and pretend you don’t know the screaming children following you? Just kidding – well at least mostly kidding. We have major meltdowns here so no worries you are not alone. I think people in the Denver airport are still talking about the little girl who would stop screaming throughout the whole airport – security line and all :-). Take care.
I’m sorry – I am not completely familiar with these meltdowns that you speak of…
Natalie @MamaTrack says
Yes. All of these. I hate those moments. Good luck to both of us!
Carolyn A. says
My personal favorite was the older guy at the grocery store who felt the need to make a comment after my kid had calmed down. We were on our way out, and this so-called “adult” says right to my toddler “Oh, someone was being BAD!”, which of course set him off again. Really, who smack-talks a 2 year old?!?!
I have a 9,5,4 and 2 year old, and I frequently babysit (aka you have so many kids you won’t notice 1 more anyway)……..and inevitably we have a meltdown. Especially any day after Wed when those that go to school are as fried as the two year old during naptime. The best thing anyone ever said to me was this little old lady who was 4 feet tall……she said “Momma said there’d be days like this but she never said how many.” Then she gave me a supportive arm squeeze and kept going. It was awesome 🙂
I’m a respite carer of autistic children and if they have a meltdown in public people look at me like I’m an incompetent young mother (I’m 23 but frequently get asked which high school I go to) who can’t get her spoilt brat under control. Unless you know the actual situation don’t judge!
This may have been mentioned…but offer to hold the baby. Toddler terror is really difficult to handle with one arm. 🙂
Jocelyn @ ScooterMarie says
Oh my gosh, awesome!! We have not yet dealt with the best that is public meltdown, but I know our time is coming. And I will be keeping your list in mind to share with my onlookers. 🙂
Jocelyn @ ScooterMarie says
*Beast* that is public meltdown, I meant. Oops.
Oops, forgot the ?
I like to look right at the person staring at me, and say ” What, you’ve never seen a kid have a tantrum before.” They feel super dumb, and I feel assertive and proud. Score!
If you could/see me I am applauding while I quietly sob in understanding. I have been known to say “I’m sorry..but is there something I can help you with” when people stare too long.
I avoid the mall with them lately….thank goodness for daycare and Weds off lately.
I feel ur pain and your kids are sooooooo cute when they are NOT melting xo
Man, I just blogged about this too. How about, keep your idiotic comments to yourself. If I hear one more stranger call a special needs kid struggling in public a “brat,” I will not be responsible for what I do to said stranger. “Brat” is code for “crappy parent,” and unless you want to take my kid home for a week and see what our lives are like, shut the hell up.
Fa la la la la, indeed.
I took my two to see Santa a few weeks ago, and I nearly had a tantrum along with my kids. I entertained them for 45 minutes while we waited in line. They were not happy to be in their stroller, but, well, I don’t need to worry about one of them slipping my grip & running to & fro.
I get to the very front of the line . . . I can see Santa, and the kids can see Santa, and they can see that he’s handing out candy (this is how to win my kids over). They wanted to see Santa. But, we had to wait . . . the group in front of us had dogs. Yes, they took their dogs to see Santa . . . and 4 of the 5 dogs were still outside – so we had to wait while everyone rounded these people up.
I swear, I nearly threw a complete hissyfit. My daughter threw her shoe, which she managed to get off as I took her out of the stroller – someone, gladly picked it up.
Your rules are downright perfect.
Kristen @ Motherese says
No wisdom to add, just smiling and nodding in sympathetic recognition! xo
been there, tho my 2 are grown now…still remember how frustrating it is. The starers & lip-pursers don’t help a bit. but one fellow came up, smiled & said, “relax, mom. it’ll get better. soon they’ll be teenagers”. what a profound difference that little bit of humor made! whole thing slid back into perspective.
You should print these out and hand them out at the mall. 🙂
As if dealing with meltdowns isn’t hard enough, dealing with the judgement makes it even worse.
Maybe I should put on an elf costume and get to work, it will be my Christmas present to moms everywhere.
My son (who has severe ADHD) had an EPIC meltdown while we were waiting in the line to get out of Costco. I had a full shopping cart and my infant daughter with me. People looking, commenting, seriously, gawking, even from the outside of the store people were stopping to look in. I had to walk away from my son to let him have his tantrum–my eyes were on him and he was not in danger, but I also had an infant in the cart. Some smug lady made a comment, “Is he with YOU?” With this disgusted look on her face. “Yes, he’s mine. And he’s fine.” Smug lady: “Okay, just checking! (tsk tsk)” Do you think one of these A-holes offered to help me (watch my cart for a minute, let me go ahead of them in line to check out, or anything?) No. They just stared, pointed, made rude comments, laughed, whatever. What could I do? My only option was to leave my cart of goods that I had already paid for, and Fireman carry him out (impossible with my infant with me), or give in to his tantrum (he wanted ice cream), or just endure it. I chose #3.
How about keep your “Is there a problems?” and “Is everything okay’s” to yourself? As if dealing with a meltdown is not frustrating enough, having a random stranger interupt you as if you are not doing enough to calm said child down is ridiculous. I’ve had it happen three times in the 19 months and I am pretty sure that if I had superhuman powers all three of these people would have spontaneously combusted!
When my daughter was about 5 years old we were in our local Walmart shopping. well she was having a mood as nap time was approaching and I told her she had better behave or we would have a talk when we got home to which she replied “No momma don’t beat me”. So of course this made many stop and stare to which I replied “I do not beat you” and she said Yes, you do momma you beat me real good”. At this I was flabbergasted as her father was the disciplinarian not me. “So I said to her your daddy is the one that spanks you not me ” and she said ” yes mommy you whoop me cause you love me daddy woops me cause he is evil and likes it.” Hope this made you day a little better.
I have a suggestion. If you have purse candy, offer it! SERIOUSLY! I will gladly let my child accept candy from a stranger if it shuts him up for two nano-seconds.
There is a gumball machine that works wonders at our mall. 🙂
I am an older mother of two girls. When one of my children started with the melt-down, it has often been the case that I have left carts of groceries, carts full of items, whatever, in the store and took the “problem child” promptly outside of the store, either to the car of in most cases, home to be dealt with. I have left restaurants, football games, etc., when a child acts up. I hope others would do the same, but I have to admit I have been in places where the parent does not remove the child. I do not enjoy having to listen to a wailing child while I’m out and would hope that others would do the same. I do not have any special needs children or know anyone with a child with autism, but I am wondering after reading comments about kids becoming over-stimulted, over-excited, etc. why you would take them to events that could cause them to experience this? Just wondering.
Because if you don’t “practice” not only will you, the kid, and the family miss out on a lot of awesome shit. BUT the kid will never learn to tollerate stuff either.
Some parents do not have the option of leaving there child at home and going by themselves. My advice to you is “if you do not want to listen to my child screaming or throwing, you should stay home and not go anywhere.”
Totally agree Shannon and Carrie, I was a single mom to my oldest, who has autism, for years. Often, the only way I could get groceries is if she came with me. It was not a fun process but I didn’t have the luxury of leaving her with someone else. Honestly, kids with special needs should be out and about and exposed to everything that typical kids are exposed to, they need to “practice” and learn just like everyone else.
STRONGLY AGREE with Carrie, Shannon and Jessica.
I have had them, and I have seen them. I hope the mom knows that I take it all in with sympathy (how can she not know that when she sees my mob?).
I was at the grocery store shopping alone a few weeks ago- saw a mom with 3yo twin girls both screaming, melting down. She caught me looking. I knew what she thought. I sought her out and approached her- ‘You know, I was only thinking how thankful I wasn’t here with mine. I have three of those in boy form!’ she looked so grateful she had tears in her eyes. She told me that she felt helpless and thought she looked like such a bad mom.
I did what I could to assure her that no, she did not- and most often people are looking with relief that it’s not them. I even chased her down in the parking lot (she prob thought I was crazy) to give her our local Moms Of Multiples club card. it’s like AA for people with our disease 🙂
It is so nice to meet the eyes of an understanding mom. There have been times, when my kids are at their worst, that I hope that there is someone who gets it. I’m amazed at how many people just stare as if they’ve never seen a temper tantrum before.
Btdt vinnie is four and even tho he’s only one child he is capable of making enough noise and fuss you’d think I had seven children freaking out. What I really dislike is when people stare but when u return their gaze they look away…im like wtf ru looking at? He’s not the first child in recorded history to lose his shit in public,. And im not the first mom to get seriously irrationally angry at a child so stop staring at me like im joan friggin crawford and go back to your own lives… O its soo much worse when the stares are coming from those parents tht at the same time they are silently judging u their kids is like hanging off the front of the shopping cart while its moving…and im out of line for arguing/debating w/ a four year old? #endrant
Amanda Austin says
No epic meltdowns here, but just you wait…I have a twelve hour drive ahead of me in a few days. Love these tips.
The epic meltdowns occur during church! My favorite comment was from an elder who said “Kids didn’t act like that back then because we would beat them” Really lady? Really? Is that why I don’t see your kids attending church with you?
HA! The worst looks I have ever gotten about my three kids were at church! I even had a lady kick me out of the church service before it started and put a chair in the vestibule for me so my toddler wouldn’t disturb the service. I left in tears and never returned. You have to grow a thicker skin when you have more than 2 kids.
Tammy Johnson says
Absolutely spot on! My oldest daughter is bi-polar and various other diagnoses. I remember those times from when she was younger. The stares, the OMG, the scorn. I had to carry her kicking and screaming from stores more than once and on more than one occasion was met by police that had gotten reports that either she was being abused or kidnapped. Yeah…I’m going to kidnap THAT kid!
Do not say to me “wow, someone needs a nap” or “Awwwww is someone sleepy?” when my kids are having a meltdown. Because my answer to you will be – “yes, you will be very sleepy once I knock you out for not minding your own business” 🙂
Mom of 5 in 10 years here….honestly I never noticed anyone looking at me when my kids were melting down because other people were none of my business. For realz, who has time to look at other people during crucial tantrum times?? Sometimes when I’d have 3 of my kids out and they were way beyond ready for a nap peeps would say, “You sure have your hands full!” I would just reply, “I know right? And I have 2 more at home. This is the easy part of my day.” ha ha ha. I don’t know why Mom’s get pissy at comments unless someone says something really horrid, which in my experience was never.
These really should be posted on the door to every store/mall. I think it would make life a lot easier for all of us parents out there!
My 14-year-old (today!) son is special needs. It used to be he’d headbutt things. Like brick walls or the framing on the sneeze guard thing at Subway. Hard. Now? He pulls his pants down, runs around screaming and will headbutt things. He starts crying so then there’s snot too. Occasionally, especially in this wintery weather, his nose will start bleeding. One time he threw a fit and headbutted me with the back of his head in the mouth. I ended up in tears with a fat lip.
Could of said it better! Love reading your blogs….you always make me smile. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way!
As a Mom of a son with autism, BTDT with the meltdowns. A kind word, or a friendly nod goes a lot further than the stares and comments. Its hard enough to get my 9 year old out of the store safely and keep it together without being judged by the public, let alone other parents who think I’m doing a bad job. He’s not being bad, he’s overwhelmed, over-stimulated, over-everything, and at that point, we are hanging on by a thread. Compassion goes a mile :).
Evin Cooper says
I was at the OB, pregnant out TO HERE, and this woman came in with her toddler and and older kid, she was preggo too. The older kid was melting down over something and the toddler kept running off while Mom was dealing with the bigger kid. I had blessedly ditched my two with their father so I was kid-free, but of course had a ton of toys in my purse. I sat next to the mom, pulled out a car, and started driving it on the table… the toddler came and played with me, while Mom dealt with older boy. I was so scared she’d think I was a crazy preggo boy stealer but I just didn’t want the toddler to run off and get hurt or lost – I’ve got a toddler m’self and know that they’re teeny tiny idiots. She hugged me when she left and we both cried. Preggos. LOL
Kristin @ What She Said says
AWESOME post! And never, EVER say to the parent of a melting down child, “Can’t you control your kid?” Yes, sadly there are some folks who will do that.
Bottom line: Don’t judge. You have NO idea what that parent is dealing with – at the time or in general. And judgment can cut deeper than you might ever imagine.
And this is why I am holed up in the house. 😉
You are a brave woman to face the mall with kids.
(Also, being holed up in my house will NOT pay off next week when I’m franticly Christmas shopping.)
I always, always want to offer to help but frazzled parents do not trust friendly strangers who are stupid enough to offer to help during a tantrum.
Rightly so because that person must be nuts and/or up to no good.
But, still, I always want to offer to help. Which I feel will only get more problematic as I get older.
Dori Woodard says
I always giggle a little when I see a child’s meltdown. I guess I’m just happy it’s not me at the moment, it’s another parent!!! I always try to give the “I completely understand” grin and hope they have a full bottle of wine waiting for them at home 🙂 You can always tell the parents from the non-parents when a meltdown is happening. The non-parents believe we the parents can and should be able to control our children, and give us those demeaning “you’re a horrible parent” look, while the other parents COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND what we’re going thru and give each other that “I’m so sorry, are you gonna kill ’em when you get home” look. 🙂
Ashley @ It's Fitting says
Oh yes… been there done that. And not just at the mall… how about the airport???
Check out my nightmare story 🙂
Ha! I just went to read and had read that one from you. I have you to thank for never traveling with my children. Ever. 😉
Ryan (The Woven Moments) says
This is so fabulous! Can I please get this silk screened onto a t-shirt that I wear at the mall??
Of course, if I could fit this on a line of clothing, or a tattoo, I totally would. Maybe a billboard?
You said it all perfectly! We’ve all been there or we will all be there soon enough!
This needs to be printed and posted at every mall, restaurant, and just about any other public place out there.
I hate the “I can’t believe you can’t control your kid in public because mine would never act that way” look. That’s a bunch of bull because every kid does it. My son just happens to throw crazy epic fits a lot. A been there done that look or flat out ignoring me and my screaming banshee would suffice.
Not a Perfect Mom says
this is why I carry around those little boxes of wine in my diaper bag…because you never know…
ha! just joking…
I knew there was a reason you were still carrying bottles even though you don’t have a baby.
Ashley @ It's Fitting says
oh, I love this so much… There is a website called Tasting Room.com where you can get little bottles of wine, like, small enough to put in your purse… 🙂 What every good mommy needs.
BC (before Chunky Child) I would be that woman who would cringe at the sight of a meltdown then turn to my husband or who ever was with me and loudly say
I know. Terrible right.
My son always throws an epic meltdown in the store.
Yup, i eat my words.
Oh you are so getting paid back now. We all thought we would have the kids who would not do this, right?
My mother always told me that when I have kids they will be 10 times worse then you ever where…I totally believe it now that I have 2 daughters!
Leigh Ann says
Nope. You said it perfectly. I’ll even take a knowing smile of encouragement.
Alice (Mother L) says
My personal HATE is when senior parents look at you as you struggle to manage carrying two toddlers, neither cooperating, one on a total tirade the other just mad to be in the same room with the first…. you get the picture. Senior Parent then says, “Oh, aren’t these angels such a joy? Cherish them. Enjoy these moments. They’ll be grown up before you know it.” I appreciate that they are having an introspective moment of when their own kids were younger and “precious.” Apparently they are only remembering the good times when their kids were perfect little angels. Should such angels exist, I would like to trade mine in… okay, not really. I love my little devils. 🙂 The thing is, the LAST thing a mom wants to hear in that moment of stress and craziness is that she should cherish her kids. All I want to do at that point is get them home so I can put them each in their beds for a ‘calm-down time’ and I can put on my headphones and listen to Adele. Now I want to make a post about this…. thanks for the inspiration!
I’m really hoping this gets carved in stone somewhere. We will see.
Truly appreciate the hugs. xo
This is awesome! Thank you for sharing again!
This was our super fun meltdown from a year ago. Was bad because of where it was. http://aspieside.com/2011/09/29/meltdown-at-youth…
Oh my gosh, I love this. So, so ture.
I’m sorry you had to go through that. Please tell me you weren’t at Somerset…but then again, that would totally explain the reactions you received.
We were at Great Lakes Crossing, it all fell apart in the Disney Store and it was INSANE, that mall is so big.
Awesome post! I’ve so BTDT…and even with older kids, it *still* happens.
My biggest suggestion–for the love of all that is holy in the world do NOT come and try to help by trying to talk to them. If my children are having a meltdown of Christmas proportions and you attempt to distract them they will spit venom in your general direction.
Elizabeth Flora Ross says
LOL! Actually, I break the first rule. I try to make eye contact with the mom so I can give her an empathetic, kind, “Been there, dealt with that, totally feel you” look. If I’m close enough, I’ll make a supportive comment.
I hate when a mom looks totally mortified. Kids have meltdowns. It’s normal behavior, and nothing we should feel so embarrassed about. I know we do. I do. But I like to try to help put a mom at ease by letting her know she is not alone.
I think that is perfect, love getting the been there done that look. The staring in horror look is the one I hate.
julie gardner says
I usually do the “smile and nod,” too.
I always want a parent to know I get it.
This goes for airplane travel, too. Oh my.
I think the sixth circle of Hell is a crowded red-eye flight to Albany.
Fa la la la la.
Sometimes people suck. The things that really ticks me off is when people that have kids get all judgy because they should know what it’s like and be a little more empathetic than someone who doesn’t. I was out to lunch with some friends recently when Jack had a mini-meltdown and the woman at the table next to us, sitting with her 2 older children, had a horrified look on her face. So either her children were angels that didn’t ever act up or she is just a judgemental b*tch!! (I’m going with the latter!) great post!!
Sometimes I could really hit people for how they react to the toddler meltdowns. (Probably counter productive, right?)
I so wish I could print this out and pass it along to those ignorant onlookers. Drives me nuts.
Gah I wish the lady I ran into tonight read this before she went shopping!
GREAT information! I would also say that remember that tomorrow it could be YOU dealing with this….a little compassion goes a long way (in everything)
So true, amazing what a little kindness can do.
How about this one…
If you see a mother struggling to get the hell out of (you pick the place) with three kids, two of whom have obvious special needs (autism), that are in full screaming/headbutting/smacking/kicking EPIC meltdown mode, OPEN THE F*%$ING DOOR and help her get her children safely out!
Okay number 4: Open the F@$%ing door. How could I forget that one :). Seriously, it is amazing how many people will stop and stare and do nothing to help.
OMG. I would throw my kid at someone if they were that rude! I am always one to help out another parent.
I am a youngish mom of one. My son is almost 3. I am also an older sister (by 10 years) to my twin brothers. Those boys taught me so much about melt-downs. If I see a kid melting down, I give the parent a smile. Most of the time, the kid notices me and I say “Hey big Guy (girl), Those are really cool (fill int he blank). The kid usually looks at the object and loses track of his melt-down.
I get thank yous whispered to me sometimes. hehe.
Galit Breen says
Hee! Falalalala right back at you!
One time when C was -ahem- challenging, a mom looked my way, smiled, and asked, “Is she two? So been there.”
I still love her. Like, a lot.
So great what a little knowing glance can do isn’t it? Just to know that someone else understands our misery makes it all easier to manage.
I love this post Jessica…tis the season!
I remember the days when I felt all those eyes boring into the back of my head as one of my daring children was having a melt down in the store.
This post should be required reading!
Although if people read this before they have kids they may not have any :).
Crayon Wrangler says
Do NOT tell me it will get better…(I will be tempted to tell you my foot up your butt will get better in time)
Do NOT tell me what worked with your angel…(I will send my kids home with you and see how well you handle these angels or assume you just passively aggressively said my child was the anti-christ in which case,,,foot up butt again)
Do NOT silently count my children and then hint that I have a “handful”…(no thinking,…foot up butt)
Good post! As always…love your writing and I feel your pain!
Oh the “boy you have your hands full” comment. The worst. LOVE seeing you in my comments.
Crayon Wrangler says
My typical response is “Yes, but my heart is even fuller, so I guess God must have blessed me.” Shuts them right up…can’t argue with The Big Guy Argument.