Yesterday I got to dance studio a little early to pick Big Girl up. The class ends at 6. Little Girl and I got there at 5:40. We sat down on the chairs and watched through the door. Sitting right next to us was a little girl in a ballet outfit. Her class got out at 5:30, and she and her mother were waiting for her big sister to come out. The mom was distracted because she had lost her keys, so she kept running in and out looking for them. When she sat down, I made small talk with her. I found out the kid was three-and-a-half, and that they had been there since 4:30.
About two minutes into our wait the kid starts losing it. Granted, her mother is stressed, and she’s probably feeding off that. Still, she’s running around the studio waiting room. She’s whining really loudly about how she wants to go home. She’s hitting her mother. She’s trying to open the mother’s purse to get money because she’s thirsty, she says. She’s making such a spectacle that Little Girl was staring. She even asked me, “Why that girl yelling, Mommy? She sad?”
The mother, in her embarrassment, is doing everything in her power to placate the kid. Explaining that they will drink when they get home. Trying to distract her. Threatening, cajoling, sweet-talking. I felt for the mother. I did. Then, in desperation, she pulls a bottle of Coke out of her pocket. I instantly stopped feeling bad for her.
“Here, drink this,” she tells the little girl. The kid tells the mother she doesn’t like soda. The mother keeps foisting it on her. The kid, giving into her thirst, finally grabs it and starts chugging. And I do mean chugging. The kid must have been really, really thirsty. The mother warns her not to drink so much and tries to grab the bottle back. “You’re drinking too much. You’re not going to be able to eat your dinner,” she tells the kid. I couldn’t help it. “Forget dinner,” I said. “She’s not going to be able to SLEEP.”
I walked out of that place with a headache and a heavy heart. The mother made a bunch of wrong moves, IMHO. I can’t understand why she handed a three-year-old a bottle of caffeinated Coke. Just sad. As some people have commented, she should have taken the kid to the car rather than losing it and giving in to whatever the kid asked for.
Okay, so the title of this blog is Little Kid Freak Outs — Outs, as in multiple freak outs. Today, I went to a local library’s book sale. Little Girl is being her adorable self. Talking, finding books she “loves.” (“This my favorite, Mommy. Oh, my goodness, Mommy, look what I find!”) She was putting a smile on every person’s face in the joint. A woman stopped to compliment me on what a beautiful, smart, sunny child I had. She’s so happy, she said. Little Girl, not pleased to be ignored by me, decided she was going to show me how displeased she was. She started knocking over the books. Then she lay down on the floor and started kicking them. Then, when I tried to put her on a time out, she reached out and hit my arm. At that point, I picked her up, screaming, I might add, and carried her to the car. She was done. No second chances. She screamed the entire way home since, as we were leaving, her little friend arrived. Once she realized that she wasn’t getting her playdate the screaming got even louder.
When I got to my driveway she threw herself on the concrete and refused to walk into the house. I calmly picked her up, carrying her into her crib. She had to eat lunch, but I needed a time-out by that time. Once I removed myself for a bit I went back and took her out of the crib, helped her soothe herself, and brought her downstairs for lunch. She finished eating, and went down for a nap.
Yes, freak outs happen, but I think I handled my freak out better than the other mom because I created instant consequences, and enforced them. I hope, after some time, that Little Girl will get the point that poor behavior choices result in not having fun. The other little girl? Well, she just learned that if she hits her mother, eventually she’s going to get soda. Not the best message in my book.