The scene: Woolworths, Sandton City, Aaron is tired and cranky and being otherwise. He starts to have a small meltdown, which spirals very quickly into a full-blown Aaron* tantrum.
*An Aaron tantrum is something truly special to behold. He gets into such a state that he doesn’t know what he wants. ‘Uppy Daddy, uppy!’ Paul bends down to pick him up. ‘No uppy Daddy! NO!’ Paul puts him down. ‘Uppy!!! UPPPPPPY!’ Paul picks him up. ‘NOOOOOOO Dadddddy, NO uppy!’ Paul puts him down.
You can see where this is going?
It is not always about being picked up, it can be wanting/not wanting a bottle or a toy or the TV on.
We have learnt over the past 2 and half years that nothing, and I really mean nothing, can put an end to an Aaron tantrum except time. They usually last about 45min at which point he calms down, says sorry and asks to give and receive loves.
So, back to Woolies in Sandton.
Aaron is having an up/down tantrum and this woman walks past and quite angrily tells us to ‘Just pick the child up!’ On the other side of the row a much younger woman passed a comment that she would have smacked him by now.
I saw red! I literally felt my blood boil. If they both hadn’t moved off I would have gone and confronted them. I also started thinking maybe we were missing something; maybe there was a way for us to stop the tantrum in its tracks.
What a cheek! The older women that told us to pick him up either has no children or her children are grown and she has forgotten about tantrums. Either way she should have taken two minutes to observe the fact that we were trying to pick him up but he was not having it.
As for the younger woman, I hope one day that when she has children of her own she remembers this and realizes sometimes you just have to let things happen.
Logically I know we did everything we should have for our son. He doesn’t respond to smacks, he doesn’t respond to ignoring/walking away, he doesn’t respond to hugs or being held. I know that the only way to deal with an Aaron tantrum is to let it play out.
Emotionally I am wrecked. That these two totally insignificant strangers can make me doubt myself and second-guess myself when it come to MY son. I am so mad that they can make me feel that way!
As an aside, there were two very lovely ladies there, one in the queue with us who was so sweet and understanding and a lady that stopped to see if we needed any help and to commiserate with us. She told us that she knew how we felt, she had been there and we should just stay strong.
How do you deal with public tantrums?