Saturday, March 04, 2006


My parenting handbooks all mention the appropriate way to handle a tantrum while in a grocery store. They all agree that you should grab the offending child and leave immediately. Don't even bother putting any of the items in your cart back onto the shelves. Just leave it all where it stands and carry the screaming kid outside where you can pummel them in private. Just kidding. None of them mention pummeling. These are "progressive" handbooks, so pummeling isn't allowed. Because, you don't want to misalign the kid's chakras.

Until now, I'd filed this information into the part of my brain that houses lots of other helpful tidbits that I never plan on using - like how to properly iron a shirt or how to empty Sancho's anal sacs. (I love you Sancho, but man, I'm just not going there.)

Yesterday, I found myself in the middle of Trader Joe's doing what I thought I'd never do - dealing with a full-scale public tantrum.

The problem all started with a balloon. Before we got into the store, Sarah was insisting on having a white balloon. When we got into the store, every color but white was represented. So, Sarah scanned the available balloons and told me that a pink one would do. Fine. She got the balloon, and we headed to the ice cream section (Mama needed a fix, too.) On our way there, apparently, I touched the ribbon that was attached to the balloon. Sarah let me know through her screaming that I was not to touch the ribbon ("No touch, mama!"). She couldn't live another moment if the ribbon was touched by me in any way. She wanted to hold it by herself and let the ends drag on the ground.

At this point, I knew I was going to have to do some speed shopping, but the after-work crowd was slowing me down. So, I was trying to distract Sarah, not touch the ribbon, and grab supplies as quickly as I could, but it just wasn't working. She wasn't distracted. The ribbon touched the grocery cart which apparently was almost as bad as if I had touched it, and then, it all just fell apart. Sarah saw a purple balloon. "Purple! Purple! Purrrpllllle!!!" The world would end if she didn't get that balloon. Other shoppers started giving me the "can't you control your kid" look. Then, Sarah started flinging herself in the grocery cart. Crying. Whining. "Purple! Purple! Purple!" Eyes were rolling in my direction. The glares seemed to only pump up Sarah's volume.

So, I did just as the books instructed - I pummeled her in private. Oops. No. I mean, I left the grocery cart in the middle of the freezer section, took the screaming kid out of the store, and joined the ranks of other parents whose dreams of a perfectly obedient, rosy-cheeked child are dashed. At this rate, I won't be surprised if I find an iron in my hand and a dog with squeaky clean glands underfoot.


At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Bobbie Jo said...

Julie, Welcome to motherhood! When I read your latest blog entry I couldn't help but laugh and cry. I say "cry" because I remember those times with both the boys and I wish the years wouldn't pass so quickly. Sometimes the boys pull a double on me and I look at them and say to myself "where are my lovies-these aren't my kids!! Love to Sarah and Mike!! Bobbie Jo

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have just described almost every restaraunt, store, anywhere visit james goss has made recently. some are better than others though. now he is into spitting! i mean big time spitting like his daddy on the ground. i don't know how to stop it! love, carrie

At 1:16 PM, Blogger J Fife said...

Bobbie - Thanks. It does all seem funny now. How quickly it changes makes me sad as well. I'm not sure how you even handle a melt-down with two kids. Yikes! But, your kids are way too sweet for that stuff. I miss them!

Carrie - I'm sorry to hear about James's tantrums. It's crazy. Isn't it? Every day seems to hold a new challenge. Good luck! I know I can use a little luck myself.


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