The Public Meltdown

It happened. Finally.  And it was worse. than. expected.

Munchkin 1 has this thing about her sleeves being just right.  I’m talking JUST right.  Millimeters matter to my almost two-year-old apparently.

We’ve had many total meltdowns over sleeves at home.  Full blown, tears and snot flowing, kicking, screaming, sleeve pulling meltdowns.  I’ve finally figured out she needs to wear jackets that are a full size larger than what she’s wearing AND to hold down the sleeve of the shirt she’s wearing under the jacket to keep it from bunching up on her arm.

Sadly, her winter coat I was certain would fit again has sleeves that fall into the impending meltdown zone, and mean old mama who made her wear a coat to keep her from losing a limb in the 3 degree weather should have known better.  I somehow got it on her to get in the car and to the gym, but when I tried to put it back on to leave. . .

It was bad.


She threw herself onto the floor, pulling off the jacket and screaming. Screaming.  Tears, snot, high pitched wailing.  And the offending jacket was off as fast as I put it on.

The watching kids were actually comic relief.  Several of Munchkin 1’s little friends came over to hug her, and she gave them a scowl and continued on with the tantrum.

At home when the sleeve meltdown hits, I can take a break.  I can make sure we’re not bursting the ear drums of nearby children and adults.  And I can prevent the sweating and anxiety that comes with trying to control a completely irrational and screaming child in front of other people.

The other moms were awesome–most of them have been there and know exactly what it feels like to have a wild banshee on your lap who refuses to listen to reason or logic or disciplinary action.  Even so, it was like spotting your neighbor through the window when you’re dashing from the bathroom in your undies to get clean clothes out of the dryer.  Awkward.  Embarrassing. Like turn-your-cheeks-red-and-hide-in-the-nearest-closet embarrassing.

I always had sympathy for parents who were handling a tantrum in public–no judgment on my part because I get that you can’t control your kids at all times, only your reaction to their behavior.

But it stinks to be in that situation.  Big time.

Finally, after what I’m positive had to be a millennium or longer, I finally got her to agree to wrap up in mom’s jacket and waddle out to the parking lot with the sleeves brushing the snow.  Not like I needed it–sweating bullets and then lugging two toddlers and their gear to the car will keep you toasty even in brutal Colorado cold snaps.

I’m thinking I jinxed it after blogging about tantrums this past week.   Add, “My mom made me wear a coat in 3 degree weather” to the list of why kids throw tantrums!

Maybe it will get easier with each one?  I’d rather not find out!

(Special thanks to my dear friend who had a jacket at home we borrowed until I can go shopping for an extra big one.  She’s a life saver and a fabulous friend who understands life in the deep end!)

What do you do when a tantrum hits in public?  Does it really get better once you survive the first one?


2 thoughts on “The Public Meltdown

  1. As soon as I read “3 degree” weather, I knew it had to be here in Colorado. I feel your pain. As far as tantrums go, my son used to throw some outrageous ones in public. It was so embarrassing as everyone stopped their shopping to watch how it would unfold. The only thing that finally seemed to work, was leaving him alone to throw his tantrum. If he threw one in the store, I would just leave him there and walk over to the next aisle and wait for him to finish. I could hear him very well, so I wasn’t afraid that someone would snatch him up. After the 3rd time of doing this, his public tantrums stopped. But, one thing is for sure – what works for one may not work for another.

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