Monday, June 20, 2011


Let me start by saying that I realize it was a bad decision to stop at the consignment store on the way home. I knew Conan hadn't had a nap during the day, and while I was chatting with Christy after I got to her house he threw his snack on the floor and REFUSED to pick it up. I told him if he didn't pick it up, we had to leave, no more playing - and when he didn't, we did. Not an auspicious beginning to the evening, certainly.

But once we were in the car he seemed his usual happy and cooperative self again, and the consignment store is right on the way home, and I had the drop-off bag in the front seat... I decided to stop. "It'll be really fast. No problem." I told myself.

And in fact, it WAS fine. Conan found some toys he liked in the play nook, and I dropped off the bag and picked up a couple pairs of jammies and some sandals for him. I told him I was going up to pay, and then when I was done I'd come get him and it would be time to go. He cheerfully agreed.

I paid for my items and returned as promised to collect him. "Time to go!" I said lightly.

"Nooooooo" he whined. "But I still playing, Mama."

"Yes," I said, more firmly. "Time to go, like I told you it would be. C'mon now."

"FUCKING FUCK NO!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "I STILL PLAYING!"

[stunned silence]

"YOU BAD MAMA!" he continued. "I SEND YOU TO JAIL!"

I should mention that Conan has lately taken to "hiding" (usually just covering his eyes with his hands) when he knows he's done something he shouldn't have. It must have been pretty clear from the expression on my face that he'd gone too far. So in a way it makes sense that his next move was to dart past me and dive under the nearest rack of clothes, still screaming "I still plaayyyyiiinn!" It didn't make it any more pleasant to dig him out from under it, crying and struggling, however.

Thankfully, everyone else in the store was suddenly REALLY engrossed in whatever items they were holding, allowing me to haul my sobbing, struggling little boy through the store and out the door while maintaining the fantasy that no-one had noticed anything amiss. That was nice of them.

Predictably, he fell sound asleep in the car on the way home and is now tucked in bed for the night. 45 minutes of quiet weeding in the garden helped me to settle my nerves. I tried to think up some kind of wise, pithy parenting lesson to say I've learned, but mostly I'm just left thinking "I sure hope that never happens again."


Tyree Callahan said...

Whoa! Conor went through a phase similar to this, and it lasts only a little while. Conor's big thing was throwing fits when he didn't get his way, or didn't get a toy he saw (grocery store toys, mostly).

Something I did to bring all that an abrupt halt was take him to Toys-R-Us, sit him in the cart and tell him he can pick eight toys for himself. I explained clearly that if he threw a fit about asking for too many or threw a fit about having to leave, we'd leave right then and there with no toys. (I also added two or three toys "for dad to play with", just to up the ante a bit.)

Inevitably he had a shitfit about not getting that 9th toy. So I lifted him out of the cart, and we left. Just like that. Complete meltdown all the way out the door and all the way home. It was a tough time.

But it never happened again.

I might suggest something similar. Conan is at that age where he is understanding that actions have consequences. Might be time to pick a battleground knowing something like this is inevitable and show him that you truly mean some business. Good luck, Addie!

Anonymous said...

ditto stick to your guns and never cave. Had to cart Moira out screaming her fool head off a few times, but then she got the point.

Kids are also really good at getting their own parents to clean up their language ;P Moira dropped a few f bombs at toddler group and that was enough incentive to watch what we say. Of course I can always still blame it on mark.

Addie said...

Conan actually hadn't been dropping any F-bombs lately, until this incident. We've definitely been watching our language more, and I thought it was working.

I try to be very consistant with him, and never give in to a tantrum or prolonged whining. I can be VERY stubborn, and so far it does seem to be working. Sometimes he understands the idea that his actions have consequences, and other times not so much. In general we haven't had too much trouble with tantrums, this was our first public one (and it was a doozy!)

We'll see how it goes - hopefully I won't have to take such drastic measures as you did, Tyree!