Monday, February 13, 2012

Mommy Mondays: The Art of the Tantrum

About an hour ago, I decided to walk to the park with Jack. It's not even half a mile each way, I reasoned. The exercise will be good for him. In the immortal words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "Big mistake. Big. Huge!"

Actually, the way there was fine. I even got Jack to hold my hand about half the time. But on the way back, Jack started to melt down. (I tend to forget that his legs are a lot shorter than mine.) First his body went limp and he fell to his knees. Then he started to scream. Then the tears started to fall. This was in the middle of the sidewalk on a fairly busy street. I had two options at that point: Leave him there, or carry him home. I got about three feet away from him before I turned around and picked him up. Unfortunately, 30 pounds of limp toddler is pretty freaking heavy. By the time I got home, I was nearly in tears myself. I was also sweating profusely, and my arms and legs were burning from the strain. I collapsed in a heap on the floor and considered flailing around like an overturned beetle, but I didn't have the strength.

Yesterday John and I went for a long walk. It was about 25 degrees outside and a vicious wind was blowing (the kind of wind that seems to be right in your face no matter which direction you're facing). Poor Jack was in the backpack, his little cheeks bright red within minutes. The lower half of my face went numb about three miles in, which was actually preferable to the pain. John attempted to cheer me up by reminding me that it was about 60 degrees colder in Russia, where we could very well be living this time next year. Thus began a conversation nearly as bitter as the cold.

John and I are very different in a lot of ways, and it's never more apparent than when we're in an argument. While I went on and on about all the possible negative scenarios in our future, John was his usual even-keeled self. Even the thought of living on a tiny island off the coast of West Africa couldn't break him. "It will be an adventure!" he responded to every what-if situation I presented him with. I admit that freaking out about the unknown doesn't make a lot of sense, but when John tried to make me promise not to freak out AFTER we find out where we're going, I went ahead and freaked out. It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized Jack and I are not so dissimilar in our way of dealing with things.

Okay, so I didn't drop to my knees or scream, but I can't say those didn't sound like appealing options at the time. Can I really blame a two-year-old, who has no sense of propriety and doesn't really have the tools to deal with anger in more productive ways, for freaking out? Sometimes we (meaning Jack and I) need to have a few minutes to scream and cry and get it out of our systems. And then, when it's over, what we really need is someone to hold us in their arms and tell us it's going to be okay. That's something I plan on reminding myself the next time Jack has a tantrum. And something I hope John will remember the next time I have a tantrum, too.


Jenny S. Morris said...

I am so the same way. I need my moment. I need to fret about all the what ifs, then once I get it out of my system I'm better. Well at least I hope I'm better.

Mom said...

I was telling Dad about this blog and in describing it, I realized you get it from me!! I spend a great deal of time on what ifs and worst case scenarios. It must be very trying for our husbands. Oh well, I guess they love us anyway. Mom

Mara Rae said...

Jenny - glad I'm not the only one who needs to get it out of their system! I anticipate a weekend of freaking out followed by some very necessary planning. Followed by more freaking out at a later date.

Mara Rae said...

And Mommy - yes, I'm sure I do get it from you. Thank you for that :)