There I was, 10,000 feet in the air with a screaming 21-month-old strapped to my lap and nowhere to go. She arched her back and refused to be comforted as giant tears rolled down her face. The flight attended patently ignored us, but I heard her apologize to the surrounding passengers. As my shoulders heaved in silent sobs, I felt utterly helpless. In that moment, and in countless others since, I knew asking for specific things during my kid's tantrum would've made all the difference. The problem? I was too afraid to actually voice my needs.
My daughter's tantrum stage hit me like a ton of bricks. The first year of my daughter's life was relatively easy. She was adaptable and laid back, and our friends dubbed her a "trick baby" (the kind that makes other people want their own). So it was a complete shock to my system when, at 15 months, my sweet cherub started throwing herself to the ground, kicking her legs and pounding her tiny fists and demanding a spoon (no, not that one spoon she always uses but some other spoon that's exactly the same just in a different color because toddlers). It didn't help that this new phase coincided with my husband's year-long deployment, either.
After a year solo parenting, I finally feel like I know how to handle my child's particular brand of emotional fits. Still, it would have been a whole lot easier if I had asked for even one of the following: