Getting Past the Hard Times
One day I was shopping at a large discount store with my 2-year-old daughter. She was happily buckled into the cart, and we chatted while we browsed the aisles. Unfortunately I dawdled a little too long, and she began to fuss over a toy she wanted. I tried to calm her, but she howled at the top of her lungs. Fellow shoppers peeked to see what was causing the commotion while I rushed to the front of the store. Her crying continued at the register, on the way to the car, and as I put the belt of the car seat around her wiggly body.
My grandmother and my mother used to tell me that things would get better if we could just get past the hard time. I'm pretty sure that they weren’t referring to temper tantrums as a hard time, but at that moment I couldn't imagine anything in life being more difficult. I sat in the car trying to calm my nerves so that I could get us home in one piece. After what seemed like forever (but was probably only two minutes), my daughter stopped crying as if nothing had happened. We drove home in silence.
I was devastated by the whole scene. After all, I know I am a good mom (years of experience in early childhood education don’t hurt). I always interact with my daughter as we move through the aisles, and I let her help along the way. We have found a rhythm that usually works for us. What on earth happened that day? Perhaps she was just a little more tired or hungry than usual—or perhaps she had suddenly turned two.
Later that day as we worked on a puzzle together, I asked my sweet girl why she had made such a fuss at the store. She responded with a matter-of-fact toddler shrug and said, “Mommy, I wanted the toy.” Although I don’t recall the whole conversation, I’m sure that I explained to her that we can’t buy everything we want. She probably nodded, but didn’t take in a word (typical for a child her age). Whatever the cause, I was secure in the knowledge that I had done the right thing—I was clear and firm and did not give in.
What I have found interesting is that it has never happened again. Not once. As quickly as it came, we were past the hard time. We got past it, and so can you. Just love those children, look for resources when you need them, and cross your fingers!