Posted by: Modern Mom | September 5, 2013

Epic Tantrum

Before I had kids I did a lot of judging. Especially when I saw moms in the store with screaming children, just ignoring them and going about their business while the rest of us shoppers were subjected to the shrieks of an angry child. Or the mother who was busy negotiating with an irrational toddler over candy. “Get that kid under control,” I used to think. “Bad parenting,” I would guess.

That’s before I had experience with such things. Now I know that the real reason that mom is ignoring her banshee of a child is that, underneath that cool exterior, she is simply trying to maintain some decorum and soldier on with the task at hand.

So, the other day, I had both boys in Target. That was my first mistake. Both boys. What is it about taking multiple children somewhere that just seems to multiply the problems exponentially? Anyway, they were acting like maniacs and I had warped into “that mom”. You know the one. The one you used to judge before you became a card carrying member of the kids club. I had issued my last warning to stop running through the clothing racks (and you know I mean through them, as in underneath, through the middle, around, tearing clothing off, etc). So I scooped up my 3 year old to put him in the cart seat.

Then things escalated. In an instant he went from obnoxious clothing wrecker to screaming-bloody-murder, banshee-of-the-north, red-faced ball of kicking arms and legs. I struggled through gritted teeth to get him into the cart seat. Have you ever tried to force a cat into a box? It was kind of like that. Only harder. It took me probably three minutes of struggle just to get his legs through the holes. And I knew, with the way he was thrashing and kicking that he would have to be buckled in so that he didn’t pitch overboard. That sent him to an even higher level of crazy.

By this time, we are both red-faced, and concerned citizens are starting to slowly push their carts over to investigate and make sure I’m not trying to murder my child. Though I’m not sure if they would have dared interfere if I was. I finally secured his buckle, and with a sigh of relief, continued on my way. I was busy thanking the Lord that I had completed most of my important shopping

ASIDE: “Important shopping” is the list of things you simply must accomplish, regardless of the circumstances, before you can return home. Anything else you can consider gravy when you have kids with you. Gravy is a good day.

So I pushed my cart full of crazy to the check stand. He still had not stopped screaming. “I WANT OOOOUUT!!!!!” Do you ever talk to your child simply to help explain to onlookers what is going on? I do. So I told him, for the hundredth time, in my calm mom voice, “you cannot get out until you stop throwing a fit.” There. Surely they would understand now. Probably give me a Mom of the Year award for keeping my cool.

Why is it that when you have a screaming child in line, something goes terribly awry with the persons order in front of you? So, there I was, stuck in line, with my cart unloaded, and a screaming child while we waited for manager assistance for the person in front of me. If I had been the person in line in front of me, I would have given up on the 50 cent coupon instead of listening to someone else’s screaming kid while I waited for a manager. Just me?

He screamed all the way to the car. I’m pretty sure he never took a breath. I called it a day after that. Pretty sure I won’t be going back to that Target for a while. At least until the employee turnover has brought in new people who don’t recognize me.


  1. Oh, Amy, I really feel for you! What a horrible experience!! But you know what? Been there, done that! Yep, my son hated to go shopping and would do everything in his power to push my buttons (exact same things with the clothing racks, screaming in the grocery aisles, etc.). They just want to see how you’ll react in public to see what they can get away with.

    I had to chase my grandkids under ropes at the airport recently because they thought it was funny to run away from me. Thankfully, another Grammie saw my predicament and grabbed the youngest one from going any further! Talk about embarrassing!! But she admitted she had just rounded up her own grandkids a few minutes ago and knew exactly what I was going through.

    Years from now, you’ll look back at this and laugh with your boys with “remember when…” But until then, I’ll pray for strength and endurance for you and your family! Hugs to you all!! 🙂 Sue


  2. Yeah, I took my girls to Freddie’s with me (did you know SOME of the Fred Meyers have child care areas? Not mine tho. ) last night, hadn’t got Ru a “back to school outfit” yet for her first day of kindergarten today. Was gonna get some other groceries while I was there, but those were (to use your word) the “gravy.” We left with a new shirt, bananas, and a rotisserie chicken (only because by that point I knew there was no way I had energy to cook dinner).
    My girls do more of a hide and seek in the clothing rack than just plowing thru, altho Teddie will play that game too if I stand on one place too long. I was gonna get her a back to preschool outfit too, but since she showed absolutely no interest (and has TONS of clothes) I decided to skip it.


    • I see me spending a LOT more time at Fred Meyer’s just taking a cart for a walk.


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