There's a huge difference between the things you plan on doing when you're kid has a tantrum, and what actually happens. You can read all the parenting articles and take notes from professionals, but when you're in the thick of a tantrum it is hard to make rational choices. This might explain why parents make some bad decisions when their toddlers are flailing about and screaming on the floor. I know that, for me, there've been quite a few bad decisions I've made mid-toddler tantrum for the sake of my own sanity.
I really try to do right by my children and avoid causing too much psychological or emotional damage. I know that giving in to almost every one of their desires, even if it is to stop someone from screaming for hours on end, is not a great idea. I know all of this, and yet, when my toddler goes from zero to 60 in his fits I find myself nearly incapable of deliberate and good decision-making. My brain seems to go to "just make it stop" mode and I scramble to do the first thing that could help alleviate the situation.
I'm embarrassed to say that this happens more often than I would like but, hey, I'm just human.
I Let My Kid Have Halloween Candy At 10 P.M.
In my defense, dinner was an absolute disaster. My 3 year old was screaming, "Dessert! I want dessert! Dessert first!" over and over like a deranged person for the better part of 40 minutes. I somehow got him to eat a few bites of dinner, gave him the aforementioned dessert, and then started doing homework with my older son.
To keep my youngest distracted, I handed him an iPad with some trusted YouTube videos. Next thing I know, he's freaking out about wanting candy right now because some genius on YouTube made a candy unboxing video that I could only describe as "jelly bean porn." I'm not anti-candy in general, but I am at 9 p.m. when my kid has refused to eat the majority of his food. After being worn down all night by various outbursts culminating in this final one that lasted for a full hour, however, I finally gave him and let him have Skittles, M&M's, and one Crunch Bar before bed. I won't be surprised when his teeth start falling out soon.
I Purchased Yet Another Princess Doll
Sometimes when my kids come to our building's lobby with me to get packages, my toddler thinks that one of the packages will magically contain an item that he has been secretly hoping for (but has not actually verbalized out loud).
Recently, he accompanied me on one such lobby trip and asked if his Rapunzel doll was here yet. I told him I hadn't even known he'd wanted one and that I certainly had not ordered it (because I am not a mind reader). He started spinning like a whirling dervish and shouting, "Noooooo! I want it!" like an evil villain whose plan has been foiled. He refused to come back to our apartment, and thrashed about on the hallway floors of our apartment building as I tried to drag him back home. Finally, I was able to appease him by showing him how online ordering works as I searched for the desired doll, added it to my cart, and finished the checkout process. (We've been tracking it ever since.)
I Called My Partner During An Important Meeting
Once, I was getting hit so hard by two tantrum-throwing kids that I made good on my promise that I would "call daddy."
Something happens to a girl when she's alone with two kids that seem seconds away from crawling up the walls in The Exorcist fashion, spinning their heads around and hurling vomit in every damn direction. Sometimes she breaks and does the thing she knows she really shouldn't do, like call her husband who is in the middle of arguing at a court house, at his legit job, to tell him that she just can't adult right now.
I Left My Kid In The Bath Alone (For A Second, But Still)
My toddler did not want to take a quick bath, even though we had gotten home so late that it was already two hours past bed time. He wanted a long, luxurious bubble bath with all of his Disney Magic Clip Princesses. When I told him this just wasn't happening tonight, he lost it and commenced flipping out. I had to hold him down with all my strength (because Baby Boy is strong) with one arm and douse him with his whale bucket with my free hand all while he clawed at me and tried to scramble and scrape his way out of the tub. It was very similar to bathing my dog.
Finally bath time was over and I could take him out. One problem though: I'd thrown all the towels in the wash. I ran out of the room to get a towel and of course, without me to steady him, he thrashed, slipped, and hit his jaw on the tub basin and began to bleed. I would like to blame my "bad mom moment" on the effect of trying to bathe what feels like a screaming, wriggling pig with sharp nails.
I Allowed My Kid To Join His Brother's Hard-Won Play Date
Sometimes little brothers aren't invited on playdates with the "big boys." Moms of slightly older kids, you know what I'm talking about, right? When these "special playdates" actually happen, you're actually a little excited and nervous for your kid, because you want it all to be just perfect and everything your child has been hoping for.
So my older son was having one of these playdates, but his little brother (the toddler) wanted to play. He's no fool. He knew this was a coveted play date, too. The boys tried to shut Little Bro out (literally, they closed the door) which made the toddler fly into a rage. I couldn't deal, so I threatened ending the play date unless my older son included his brother. I'm not surprised we haven't had a repeat play date since.
I Bought My Kid A Second Brownie Because The First One "Didn't Look Good"
What do you do when you're desperate to have a conversation with your best mom friend and you were hoping a brownie would keep your toddler quiet for at least five minutes of chocolate bliss and your toddler decides that the brownie "doesn't look good"?
Well, after you try to "clean" the offending portions of the brownie and it is still unsatisfactory to your toddler, you tell him there is no way he is getting another one because this is it. Then you show him how yummy it is by taking a bite, only to realize you've just contaminated said brownie. Now it is time to buy a second one.
I Threatened To Leave The House & Hire A Babysitter
When I am at my wit's end during the end of a very long day, and it is the second time I've had to change out the sippy cups or check the shadows on the wall to see if any of them are "real," I pull out the big guns: I threaten to call a babysitter, or worse a doctor, and have them come over to watch him while I go out for the night.
Sadly, this is the one tactic that really gets my kids in line. I don't know why they prefer their "mean mom" to a fun babysitter who lets them do basically whatever they want. But for some reason they like me a lot and don't want to see me go.
Negotiating is a huge no-no. Never negotiate with a toddler. My negotiations with my toddler have led to me giving him: lollipops on the way to school every day, a brownie before lunch every day, hours of iPad, and that book he wants me to read for the third time (with commentary!) even though I told him I wouldn't read it more than once that night.
I Pretended We "Compromised," But Really I Low-Key Gave In
When I say "no" to my toddler, hen realize that I do not have the energy or will to fight the strength of his tantrum at that moment, I change my "no" to a compromise. The problem? My 3 year old usually interprets a "compromise" as him getting his way. Still, I've done this more times than I'm willing to admit.
Which might explain why my toddler is sitting in my bed right now, eating cookies and watching Moana hours after he's supposed to be asleep. He wanted chocolate chip, but we compromised, and he had to settle for Oreos. See? Sometimes I am capable of setting limits.