Thus far, I've been pretty lucky when it comes to tantrums. My kids have never really been into the the screaming, lying-on-the-floor, kicking and wailing kind of thing. They're more of the whining sort, which is equally painful in its own way.
However, this was not the case at Costco on Tuesday. On the weekend, we ran out of everything simultaneously – razors, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent – you name it. I lured the Girl into the van to accompany me with promises of a Costco hot dog. We made our way and I was quite pleased to have the company – groceries/supplies shopping stopped being fun for me a long time ago, and it was nice to have someone to chat with along the way.
We finished our shop and began to wait in line which was, to my dismay, adjacent to the aisle of bulk candy and gum. I should have known this meant trouble.
If you ask my Girl what her favourite thing in the world is, she will respond without hesitation, "Gum…and make-up. I've gotten her gum a few times, but am not crazy about where it usually ends up in my house (the bathtub??! gross.) So, the Girl notices the Aisle of Gum (literally, bulk boxes of gum that must have contained 1000 pieces each) and declares, with wide, wide eyes, "I want gum." I said no to her – "That's way too much gum. I'll buy you a smaller pack later."
Clearly, the mere fact that one could physically possess that much gum was just too much for her to bear.
She started to sob as if she'd been beaten. I refused to give in. People around us quickly became uncomfortable and irritated. There's nothing worse that feeling like others are critical of your parenting abilities. I could see from their faces that they thought I should just buy her the bloody gum. But, how could I do that? What lesson does that teach – behave monstrously and you will be rewarded? No way.
So she cried through check-out, then all the way to her school, then at school, where she told her friends and teacher in the coat room that I was mean. I dropped her, went to my car and cried. Sometimes this is really hard.
When I picked up the Girl from school, she said she was sorry and I knew she was. But, the discomfort of the incident lingered with me all day.