My partner and I frequently talk about how awesome it would be to live in a cartoon world (sometimes). Honestly, there are moments when cartoon responses to real life situations would feel so right. Imagine someone says something really stupid: wouldn't it be sort of funny to wait a beat and smack them over the head with an over-sized mallet? I mean obviously, in real life, that would be a terrifying and tragic thing to do, but in a cartoon world everyone walks away unscathed. It is in this spirit that I like to imagine hilarious ways to respond to toddlers' tantrums. After all, toddlers are pretty much the closest thing we have to real life cartoon characters. Their personalities are big, they ignore all social rules and graces, and their heads and eyes are way out of proportion with the rest of their bodies.
In real life parenting world, any of these imagined responses would be horrible and possibly (read: probably) illegal, and would without a doubt only make a bad situation worse. So, you know, do not try these at home. Seriously. My wishful, cartoon-world way of thinking is in no way an endorsement for the following. The best way to respond to a toddler tantrum is with empathy and kindness and patience (and probably a treat of some kind) so don't take the following literally. Please.
That being said, the following responses would be hilarious in a cartoon world, not to mention probably a little bit cathartic. Raising your own beloved little cartoon character can be rough and, sometimes, amid the hostage negotiation strategies you necessarily employ to get everyone through a temper tantrum in one piece, you should go ahead and give yourself permission to daydream about the ways you'd really like to get through these extra-challenging scenarios:
Just declare your intention, bolt, and don't look back. I'd imagine this would throw the kid for a loop. It could plunge them deeper into a screaming panic but who cares, right?* You'll be long gone by then and won't have to deal with it. Come back looking relaxed with a couple shopping bags and something from Starbucks. Great them with an airy, "'Sup?" Your kid might be traumatized, but the visual alone is pretty hilarious.
*I mean, obviously you care, which is why we don't actually run away when our children have a tantrum.
Visualize Them As Baby Dragons From 'Game Of Thrones'
I'm pretty sure I don't know a single mom who watches Game of Thrones, hears the dragons shrieking for Daenerys and doesn't get a panicked feeling of déjà vu as she realizes those noises are the exact noises her children make when they pitch a fit. So, you know, why not do it in reverse? The next time your kid starts screaming, just imagine they're little dragons.
Throw A Tantrum Of Your Own
It could be about literally anything. The tantrum your kid is having. That you're hungry. That you wish you were in Paris right now instead of listening to a screaming toddler.
Just as an FYI: you probably will do this as a parent at some point. It will not be pretty, it will not be entertaining, and you will be embarrassed, guilty, and ashamed when the moment has inevitably passed. However, when done with intention, it can be pretty hysterical.
(Also, give your own actually side-by-side tantrums enough time and distance and you can look back and find the comedy, especially knowing that we've probably all done it at some point.)
Pretend They're Invisible
Give them a little while to rant and rave and then be like, "Sweetheart? Where did you go? I can hear you but I can't see you! Come on! It's not funny! Where are you?!"
Search around for them around your house in a panic, vocally fretting that they must have screamed so loudly it tore a hole in the space time continuum and put them in another dimension identical to ours. "I'll find you, baby! Don't worry! Wherever you are, I promise!"
Act Like You're Reporting Dramatic, Breaking News
Pretend to have a microphone and an earpiece as you stare straight ahead and then, in your best and most poised broadcaster voice, say something like, "Yes, Dan, I'm reporting to you live from the Kenney Family living room where William is having what many on the scene are referring to as 'an epic meltdown.' Early reports indicate that this all started when his mother, Jamie Kenney, refused to give him a second bag of M&Ms. Now we're not clear if this was a fun-size bag or a standard, but whatever the serving there's no mistaking the size of this tantrum. It is huge. Back to you, Dan."
Narrate The Tantrum As Though Your Child Is A Nature Documentary
How better to pay homage to your child's primal instincts than pretending you're David Attenborough observing the secret world of fascinating creatures, right?
"And here we see the juvenile human demonstrating a special adaptive feature called 'screaming.' Its mother is not unmoved by his pleas, but she knows, through millions of years of evolution, the difference between actual distress and the little one learning to use his lungs. She will not respond. After minutes or even hours of this bizarre ritual, the juvenile will settle down and the mother will address its concerns."
You could also feel free to do it Crocodile Hunter style if you wish. I'm sure you wrestling your child to show it to a camera could stun them into silence for a minute or so.
Respond To A Tantrum As Though You're In A Church
Any time they let loose a new shriek, respond with a hearty "Amen!" or "Testify!"
Get super enthusiastic. Raise your arms in prayer. Clap. Dance as though the Holy Spirit has moved over you. Speak in tongues if you have to.
Perform An Exorcism
Remain determined but even-keeled throughout the process. Lay hands upon your child. Sprinkle them with Holy Water. Oh, and learn Latin for this. All the best exorcisms are performed in Latin. (Duh.)
Interrupt Them To Tell Them They're A Wizard
Once you catch their attention, tell them about how they're going to go to a magical school where they will learn to wield their awesome powers, and how there's an entire society of fellow wizards for them to discover. Really talk it all up.
When you've finally rendered them completely and ridiculously excited, and they ask when they can go, just say, "Oh. I lied. I just wanted you to shut up." Is it cruel? Yes. But it's cruel of them to make you sit through another damn tantrum, too. Besides, if you still haven't gotten your Hogwarts letter, you need someone else to feel your pain.
Shout "There's No Crying In Baseball" Over And Over
They won't get the reference, and it's not necessarily relevant, but I've always wanted to say that to someone who's really upset to see how they'd respond.
Pretend To Be Talking About Them With Someone. When They Notice, Hurriedly End The Conversation, Smile, And Say "Oh Hi! We Didn't See You There!"
Mix side eye with big fake smiles for the rest of the day.
Hilarious? Meh. But OMG don't you seriously wish you could sometimes?