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Getting Past the Hard Times

on Thu, 01/24/2013 - 09:11

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.  

Useful resources 
Families Today
Observing and Understanding Children’s Behavior

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!



One of the hardest times I had to go through was leaving my son for the first time. I, like many new mothers, had a 'love at first sight' moment when the Dr. handed me my bundle of joy and was sure I would never let this precious little angel out of my sight. This thought was true for the first 18 months of his life (I was very blessed to be able to stay at home with him while my husband worked). But, then came the time when I needed to take a part-time job to help out the family, which meant obviously that I would have to bring my son to a child care center during the day. I am sure that our first 18 months of being attached at the hip- almost literally- didn't help the situation, but to hear your child cry, and know that it is just becasue they don't want you to leave them, was one of the hardest things emotionally that I have ever had to endure. The very well-recommended and qualified room teacher assured me that it was normal, and that he would be fine after I left, but I rushed out to my car sobbing, feeling like the worst mother on Earth. Day two, we parted much the same, tears from us both, but I realized that when I came to pick him up he was having a good time when I walked into the room. Day three, I was OK with leaving him and confident that he would be OK while I was gone, and again he was busyily playing when I came to get him. By day four there were no tears from either of us...we had made it through! New things and places are always scary, difficult situations and choices about what to do happen everyday, and I have many times since questioned whether I was doing the right thing especially when there are tears involved, but countless research reports and studies, success stories from other people, and seeing progress help to let us know we are just going through what many others before us have, and that it will be worth it in the end to stay strong and stay calm, and as my grandmother would always say "this too shall pass".         

I remember that things like tantrums were very hard with my first child and we do have to get past the hard times.  With my second child though the tantrum just didn't seem that mortifying to me. So we do get past the hard times.  Maybe we just get used to doing the best we can and not being in control all the time. Thanks for your story