Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's kind of cute how Junior told Chuck, "I had a meltdown at Chili's." Kind of

Tonight I called my good friend D&W (aka Lisa) and asked if she and her two kids (ages three and oneish) wanted to meet me and Junior for dinner.

“Where should we go?” we wondered. We agreed on Chili’s. “They’re so kid friendly!” we giggled. “We’re such moms!” we laughed.

God, we were so naïve. Rather, I was so naïve. Junior had been a little off all day. He’d slept late and wanted to curl up in front of Curious George instead of play. The babysitter said he did fine during the day, but after she left Junior was still off. He was having meltdowns over small things. I know that in toddlerdome—where the winds are bipolar and rational behavior is scarce—that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong, but I should have known.

Dinner was ok, except for a toothy waitress who tried to push the chocolate milk even though Lisa said, “WHITE milk, please. WHITE.” We laughed about Hal the talking pickle, or whatever the hell he was, on the kid’s menu. We said, “Please sit down the right way” to our children ten thousand times. We actually managed five minutes of adult conversation.

We made it.

Then, the bathroom. If I could go back in time, I would run to the car with Junior instead of heading into The Bowels of Chaos.

Junior started to unravel at the bathroom entrances. He didn’t want to go into the women’s room; he wanted to go into the men’s. He wanted to go the bathroom before me. He didn’t want to go at all. He had to go. He didn’t.

After three Sprites, I did have to go. I really fricken did.

Now, while Junior and I were in the stall debating the line-up for emptying our bladders, another mom walked in with her two toddlers. She took the stall between Lisa and me. She was not a happy mom.

“Hands off the seat! Hands out of your mouth! Sit down! Stand up! You lousy kid! Get down! You’re crap!”

When I emerged from the stall with Junior, Lisa clapped her hand over her mouth and said, “Jesus, I knew that wasn’t you in there, but for a minute I was about to say, ‘Mrs. Mullet, take it easy’.”

Then the woman came out.

“Bathroom time sucks!” she growled.

And then we all saw it: the toddler stool.

Waiting for little feet to climb aboard so little hands could wash their own, well, hands. Lisa’s daughter climbed up. Junior was next. The woman told her kids they were after Junior. Grunting noises like those of restless, herded cattle came from behind me. We were three women watching Lisa’s daughter push the soap dispenser. Slooooowly. Carefully. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Everyone wanted the stool.

Dear God, why was there only one stool?

Then it was Junior’s turn. He climbed up. And then…

…He wanted to wash his hands. He didn’t. He did. He didn’t. He did HE DID HE DID WANT TO WASH HIS HANDS! No he didn’t! He DID NOT WANT TO WASH HIS HANDS.

The woman pushed her kids closer.

“Junior,” I said calmly, “if you’re not going to wash your hands, it’s time for someone else’s turn.”

He wanted to wash his hands. He didn’t. He did. He didn’t. He did HE DID HE DID WANT TO WASH HIS HANDS! No he didn’t! He DID NOT WANT TO WASH HIS HANDS.

More grunting and stampeding.

I picked him up. “We have to go, sweetie.”

That’s when it all went to shit. As I carried Junior out of Chili’s, he screamed, “I want to wash my hands! I want to wash my hands! I want to wash my hands!”

I kept my eyes on Lisa, my guiding light. People turned and stared. Pointed and whispered. I smiled so tightly my lips cracked.

We made it to the car, but it only got worse. Junior did want to say goodbye to Lisa’s kids; then he didn’t. I tried to hug him and calm him down but he was inconsolable. He was screaming, crying and flailing. I was actually scared.

“I want to wash my hands!" he cried. "I want to wash my hands! I want to wash my hands!”

Of course the young, childless couple in the car next to me chose to leave then as well. As they pulled out they shook their heads in that Aren’t you glad we haven’t procreated like these stupid assholes? kind of way.

Funny thing is, I used to think that way too when I saw kids having meltdowns. I used to think, Kids? Never! Now I love it so much I’m having another.

Junior and I finally made it home, and he finally calmed down. I gave him a bath and obsessively texted Lisa: “Is this normal? Have your kids done this? Are you sure this is normal?”

See, until today, Junior hasn’t really had a terrible meltdown. He’s almost three; I thought I was out of the woods. I thought I was a fabulous mother who could smugly—and privately—say, “My kid doesn’t do that.” Even better, I thought that if Junior ever did have a meltdown in public I’d look around and laugh and say, “Ha! You’ve all been where I’ve been. Now it’s my turn! You actually owe me!”

Ha is right. This mother thing? Humbling. In that bring-you-to-your-knees kind of way.

I'm so grateful for Lisa, probably more than she realizes. I'm grateful that Junior is sleeping peacefully. I'm also grateful because tomorrow is a new day, and I have one more parenting experience under my belt.

I'm going to need it. In a household full of boys.


Kate said...

Excellent reveal! Boys are fun. Really. Congratulations on your expanding family!

Just don't have 3. Ever. I am still wondering what the hell we were thinking.

The Mother said...

I have never understood why people call it the terrible 2s. Two is fun.

It should be the terrible threes. Three is the pits.

And the Awful Eights.

Maybe the Terrible/Awful Three through EIght.

EIghteen is shaping up pretty well, though.

kyooty said...

OK I have to tell you, all those people that have terrible 2's? they don't understand Thrashy 3's you are in the "other" set of parents that get the ODD numbers! 1 is hard because they like the word NO! 3 is bad because they think it's alla bout them. People that talk about Terrible 2;s? they've never had any troubles with 1, and will skip over 3, but they get F#$@ing 4's and we dont. :) Just remember it's coming :)

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

I was laughing so freaking hard at this and when I got to the end I thought...that poor lady. God help her. :-) A friend of mine has three boys. We haven't spoke since the last one was born. No fight. I just think her brain exploded.

No, seriously, you are going to have more fun with another one because if this is the worse you've gone through you're OK. At least that's what I've heard. My kid has had these moments as well, but over all he's a fairly calm, non-tantrum kid. My sister-in-law has five girls between ages 3 and 9. Let that sink in a moment.

Yeah, you're going to be fine.

And congratulations!

Jenera said...

my oldest had a similar meltdown in a mcdonalds and it was his first so I was doubly embarrassed. But I carried him out football style while he shrieked at the top of his lungs while all the other mothers with screaming children laughed at me. It sucked but we made it through.

rachel... said...

And I'm grateful everytime it's someone else's kid throwing a fit and not mine. Thank you for sharing. Seriously.

Also... CONGRATS on another BOY!

Cinnamon said...

Awesome! (The reveal, not the meltdown...) Thanks for not making us wait to find out what you are having. Not sure I could've done it!
:) Robin

NHGirlDisplaced said...

We were new to the area, and I thought I'd take 2 year old LB to the library for story time along with a 3 month old JC. He threw an absolute hissy fit (kicking, screaming, yelling, etc), and every kid and mom and dad stared at us. One lady even offered to help me leave. I was hoping to make some friends, but instead we made a scene. I left the library in tears. So yeah, been there!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...


In your welcome wagon basket, you'll find an exploded diaper (but no wipes), a bottle and some powdered formula (but no sterile water), and an empty bottle of children's motrin.

These awesome parenting experiences just keep coming!

Anonymous said...

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؛spɹɐƃǝɹ ʇsǝq

˙ǝʇısqǝʍ ɹno oʇ oƃ uɐɔ noʎ 'ʇuoɟ ǝnbıun puıɟ oʇ pǝǝu noʎ ɟı
'ʎɐʍ ǝɥʇ ʎq

¡ƃoןq ǝɔıu ɐ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ
¡ƃuıʇǝǝɹƃ ɯɹɐʍ ¿noʎ ǝɹɐ ʍoɥ ¡oןןǝɥ

harrietv said...

It's not the two's as much as the two-and-a-half's. My difficult child, who was nasty from the beginning, was nearing two-and-a-half (and I thought he might not survive), when he turned into an angel overnight. He still is, thirty-five years later.

From now on, you need to carry either wipes or a small bottle of alcohol gel. Best advice I can give, though it doesn't always work, is don't confront him, sidetrack him.

Lindy said...

Ummmm..am I drunk or is someone's comment upside freakin down?

Public restrooms are my enemy and their auto flush toilets can GO TO HELL.

Congrats on another boy!

Stacie said...

Are you having another boy?!

SLColman said...

Congrats on the little boy bun in the oven! Good luck with the meltdowns :(

Stacie's Madness said...

my son plays this game CONSTANTLY.
it's usually when he's tired and there's no solution but a nap or early bed.

Jenni said...

Woot, woot for two boy families!

Oscar rarely has meltdowns but he always picks the most embarrassing moments, like when our friends invited us to their pool and he freaked out and refused to share the toys with the rest of the kids. Like screaming, snot flowing, kicking freaking out. It was real awesome.

Pricilla said...

You are so good.
Congratulations - I think. I have three brothers but I AM the eldest so that did help.

Sparkling said...

Excellent reveal. Shows there's something in it for you if you read to the end! I knew I liked your style!!

Mama Badger said...

he, he, he. That's me laughing with you, not at you. I promise. Because two boys? It's fun with whipped cream on top. What one doesn't think of the other one will.

Seriously, the tantrum thing worries me. LG is pretty good in public. We have had minor whining moments, but never the full blown scream. I'm waiting.

Jeanne said...

Junior the Second? Excellent!

My g-son Phinneaus is in that stage -- and I LOVE watching his mom cope with him.

Mrsbear said...

They can be so damn unreasonable. I think all my kids at three caused me public shame on a routine basis.

But two boys are fantastic! The amount of wrestling and fisticuffs that will dominate their waking hours is amazing. And exhausting. I tend to leave the room.

Anonymous said...

As long as the baby is healthy...

SmartBear said...

I feel your pain. My son was not the typical meltdown kind of toddler. He was so well behaved that people would comment on it. Then...he turned 3. Even at his birthday party, people warned me. I blew it off. No way.
YES way...I have had similar scenes of walking out with a shrieking (42 pound) 3 year old. The best part is that I am a child and family therapist, so I just want to pass out business cards when this happens.
It's all very developmentally normal. They want their independence THEIR way and they are very stubborn. I also think this is the point when parents are driven to drink...

Keely said...

You're doomed.

(Honestly, if we have another kid I'd rather have a 2nd boy too. I have the stuff already. And oh gawd, the GIRL ISSUES.)

Anonymous said...

you revealed that perfectly! Loved this! When my kids 'melt down' in public I focus on an object far away and walk without making eye contact with anyone!

Mammatalk said...

A boy?? Oh, boy!! Congratulations!

Jen said...

Another boy! How wonderful, you already have the trains so you won't have to spend the rest of your savings on Barbies. This is great!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Oh yes... my daughter was a late blooming tantrum thrower as well. I soooo feel your pain, agony, humor, relief, frustration, and so on. We had a great break from the meltdowns for a bit and then they returned again recently. I think they coincide with big growth spurts.

Here are a bunch of blog posts I've written regarding meltdowns: http://wordyowl.blogspot.com/2010/06/yummy-recipes-for-july-4th.html

And my original public meltdown post- which includes video (because I'm a horrible mother): http://eternallizdom.blogspot.com/2008/10/it-finally-happened.html

Anonymous said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.............................................................

Lisa said...

Aw. The feeling is mutual, believe me!

You handled it beautifully. Like I said, if I had a dime for every time I've carried S out of the mall, screaming like a banshee on my shoulder....

Want to hold hands and skip now?

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see a little kid pitching a fit, I like to go up to the mother and say, "My child never does that." And then start laughing hysterically!

When my kid has those episodes, I just say, "It's okay. It's just her terrible twos flaring up. Like hemorrhoids, only worse." hahaha.

I love being a mom. And, you're right, it's humbling.
Especially when they open the door to the bathroom stall while you are still peeing.

Congratulations on the new little boy tadpole, Mama! :)

Ms. Salti said...

Oy! These are the exact stories that scare the shit out of me!

Julia said...

Oh. Boy. Oh Boy!

Just think you can recycle clothes!

Hand me downs are great. And I really mean it.

The Kind Of Post — except the part where I don't "kind of" have 3 kids

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