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Stuttering Shell: Tears, Tantrums & Treats

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tears, Tantrums & Treats

It's been a while since either one of my children has had a full-blown meltdown and I suppose the hubs & I were long overdue for one because we were blessed yesterday afternoon.

After picking up the boy from the sitter, Aidan & I headed home for a quick pit stop. My plan was to turn right back around and head to Target. I pulled into the driveway to find Adam loading the fishing poles & tackle box into the bed of his truck. I knew he was going fishing. Aidan did not.

Let the whining commence...

Aidan followed Adam into the house. It all started with "I want to go fishing" and it escalated from there. The fishing chant continued. Aidan followed Adam throughout the house like a little duckling following its momma. Adam kept telling Aidan, "Next time. Next time." OK, no problem...or so I thought.

We get outside and it's time for us to leave {besides, Adam needed to back down the driveway and I was blocking him in}. By this time, Aidan is crying. Really crying. He had big ole tears running down his face and he kept saying over & over, "But I want to go fishing!" Adam promised him that he would go next time. {Side note: Adam was going fishing around dusk and into the later evening hours...Adam wasn't being mean...we just don't take the kids fishing on the boat at night.}

Adam hugged Aidan...squeezed him, loved on him, kissed him...and got him into the car. Instantly, Aidan arched his back and his whole body stiffened. Get ready...because here comes the tantrum monster rearing it's ugly head! {Any of you parents out there know that the arched back/stiff child combo is NOT fun...and it's especially not fun when trying to buckle your child into his carseat!} Aidan would NOT sit in his booster. Not.At.All. This whole time I was - and I'm almost ashamed to admit it - letting Adam deal with it. I was just sitting in the driver's seat breathing slowly & trying to keep calm. Adam shuts the door. Aidan's still not buckled. Aidan rolls down the window and proceeds to yell, "But I want to go fishing!" He kept screaming it. His tear-stained cheeks were red from frustration, but at least he was finally buckled.

We set off for Target. By this time, I don't even remember why I needed to go. I even second-guessed my reasoning for even going because:
  1. It's never fun going anywhere with an angry child.
  2. He will probably fall asleep during the ride there (because crying & yelling is exhausting, ya know) and
  3. What was supposed to be a quick "in & out" trip could possibly turn into something longer.

The WHOLE way to Target - OK, so it's only a 10 minute drive from the house - Aidan's in the backseat crying and chanting, "I want my Daddy!!!" Bless his heart. And, in between sobs & catching his breath, he started to yawn.

As we pulled into the Target parking lot, I quickly found a parking space near the building and I did what any desperate mother would do...I reduced myself to bribery!

Me: You know, Aidan, if you stop crying I just might buy you a treat when we get inside - that is if you are a good boy while we're in the store.
Aidan: But...{sob sob sob}...I can't stop crying!
Me: Well, just try. Wipe your tears and catch your breath. I know you're upset but you know Daddy will take you fishing next time.
Aidan: {more crying} But I want my!
Me: Oh,'s going to be OK. Let's go in the store and see what we can find for you.

Yes, I'm not above sir, not at all. We got out of the car and walked into Target. Our first stop...the snack bar. It's amazing what a cookie and an Icee can do for the upset soul! Our next stop...the $1 section {which some of it was half off!} for an Ironman paddle ball set. After that, the rest of the trip was a breeze. Not a single tear was shed and Aidan quickly forgot about Daddy and fishing.

OK, so I know some of you are probably out there cringing because I've just reinforced a behavior that perhaps should have been handled in a different way. But, to me, his fit was over something that WILL happen and his behavior wasn't ridiculously out of line. Besides, desperate times call for desperate measures.

And, you know how I rewarded myself (because, YES, I felt I deserved to be rewarded after an afternoon like that)?? Two glasses of Barefoot Zinfandel after the boy went to bed (stay tuned for a Barefoot giveaway this weekend!).

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