Epic Meltdown

by Deanna Spangler on October 18, 2012

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crying

flickr/dangermain

Have you been there?  I hope so, simply for my sake as I am in need of some mommy comforting.  We had a meltdown of epic proportions this week, at the tire store, in public, with everyone watching.  No, seriously, if only I could have harnessed that kind of energetic passion (to put it nicely) I would convert it to electricity and power my house for a year.

The story goes that I ran out of diapers for the 3-year old.  I think, ‘great time to encourage her potty-training ready signs and just get out the pull ups.’  She refuses to use the pull-ups and doesn’t like the panties but has had 100% potty success today. The warning lights in my car for the past week can no longer be put on the back burner, and so the necessary tire appointment is approaching fast.  Let me take you through it.  Picture the tire store, quiet yet busy in the mid-week, mid-afternoon.  In walks me with 3 young ladies ages 7,5, and 3.  I am schlepping purse, snacks, books, drinks, toys, coloring crayons and coloring books, stickers, suckers, change of clothes, pull ups and smartphone (everything but the kitchen sink) in hand, in 3 huge bags, and we go in for new tires. It looks like we are moving into the lobby but we have one and half hours wait, not too bad.

I must have looked like a chicken with no head.  I was hopping around there like flubber that was set free.  Getting up to fix the chair, find the book, do the math, read the sign, go to the potty, kiss the boo-boo, fix the hair -it was exhausting.  I look around the room in desperation, hoping that someone with throw me a bone, by that I mean a ‘its okay, I’ve been there, done that’ smile, but no takers.  I laugh aloud as I see I have even thought to bring myself a book that I couldn’t possible read in this environment.  My children are exhausting me but at least they are appropriately quiet.

The blissful moments of ‘appropriately quiet’ didn’t last long due to my three-year-old.  Long story short, I almost left my dear, sweet youngest child at the tire store (kidding…. I think). Meltdown one happened after I asked her to pick up something off the floor.  As three-year-olds do she made a mountain from a molehill, put her hands on hips and screams, “NO, I’m not going to do what you say!” It escalated fast.  Tantrums 2 and 3 I am a little fuzzy about now, but number four I remember well.  The random thoughts running through my head: (from another AP blogger) ‘how brave of her to express her feelings,’ how embarrassed I am that MY kid would act this way – mean I am an API leader, that tantrums are normal and actually healthy for the brain, if she pees on this carpet how will I clean it up?, why is my 5 year-old licking her hand?, when will the car get done? Do I have tequila at home for a margarita later? It IS five o’clock somewhere, how much is this costing me?, ’ just to name a few.  I survived the day, WITH new tires on the car.  *Whew!* Mission accomplished.

In relaying the grueling details to my husband that night he just swooped down into the conversation and gave me his benevolent perspective about why our darling youngest daughter was having these major meltdowns, “Maybe she is not ready for potty training…”

I looked at him with my bug eyes, “Oh, gee, ….”

We are back to diapers.  Apparently people in the trenches can’t often see the whole battlefield, or remember the path to the goal.  She is not ready for potty training and I will respect that.  Period.  I wish I had recognized it earlier but I am not perfect and the supermom cape really doesn’t exist.

As the day wrapped up and I looked at her in my arms, with a happy tear this time in my eye and saw a sweet, precious, sleeping face I was reminded of several parenting lessons:

  1. How grateful I am and how necessary my husband is in child-rearing.  After we left the tire place, I took her straight to dad’s office and got a breather, the both of us were able to calm down.
  2. That no matter how good of a mother you are, this WILL happen to you eventually.   Attachment parent or not.
  3. Although I did have tears in my own eyes during this whole fiasco, I was proud I didn’t lose my cool or scream.  I stuck with my philosophy of discipline, despite how it looked to the strangers there.
  4. It is good to come home to a hubby and a glass of wine after a long day and be reminded that I really am a good mother, despite one bad experience.
  5. I lived another day.  They lived another day.  It is a good day.

Okay, so number five did NOT occur to me at the time, but I am glad that one day is over.  I am grateful I have some perspective and that I can now smile and really sit with my parenting education I was just given by my youngest child.  I survived an epic meltdown and lived to mother another day.

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Deanna Spangler (2 Posts)

Deanna is a stay-at-home mom of 3 girls (ages 8,5,3) and is a dedicated, in-love wife to her high school Sweetie, Camren. In what she calls her past life, Deanna was a sign language interpreter. She is very close to her parents and her sister and she has a dedicated group of friends. She loves reading a great novel and, she has passion in all she does. She loves drive-thru coffee (‘go juice’) and Dr. Bonner’s spray. Although she doesn’t wear Birkenstocks or linen skirts she considers herself a bit ‘crunchy.’ Deanna recently started homeschooling and has embraced Facebook with whom a love/hate relationship. Her family lives Roseville, CA and embraces the AP lifestyle. “I don’t have a long list of credentials but I take pride in being the very best wife and mother I possible can and because of that I have a lot to offer. I discovered long ago there really is no supermom, but following AP principals helps me parent daily. Being grateful for life’s small things allows me to choose happiness in life.”


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara K October 19, 2012 at 4:45 am

I was SO glad to read this today. Yesterday we had a meltdown of epic proportions from our 2.5 year old. It involved her SCREAMING with rage, telling me “don’t touch me! Go away Mommy!” and crying her heart out, refusing to let me near her to comfort her. Now, it wasn’t in public, but it was stil horrible and heart-rending for me. I was thinking what can I do differently? What am I doing wrong? But I think it’s just the age. Their little minds and bodies are going through a lot. We just have to persevere and give lots of love (when they’ll let us). Thanks for sharing!

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Julinda October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

I would have been giving you a “been there done that” look for sure. :) On the potty training, I eventually applied what has become my parenting philosphy – “They’ll do it when they’re ready.” My boys were both right around 5 when they were using it full time but when it happened it was pretty quick and they had the pride that came from them doing it (not me). (They did wear pull-ups before that, for quite a while, but basically treated them like diapers.)

- Julinda, mom of 2 boys, now 13 and 6.

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Rita Brhel October 20, 2012 at 12:08 am

Totally been there, done that. I love the thoughts running thru your head, hilarious, esp. the “why is my 5 yo licking her hand.” About potty training, I started my oldest at 18 months and she day trained at 3 1/2 and has yet to night train at 6. With my second-born, I started at 3 and she day trained and night-trained at 4. With this third, I think I’ll go ahead and wait til 3 1/2 if he shows no interest before. It really is whenever they’re ready, I agree. With public tantrums, it is SO hard to remember all the AP stuff in public, with everyone’s eyes on you (at least how I imagine it). I try to be proactive, but if it doesn’t work, I just try to survive. You did great! A glass of wine sounds good. A big brownie is one another end-of-the-day pick-me-uppers.

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Katie Goggin October 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

I love this. Mostly because this HAS happened to me, in the grocery store of course, and it’s awful. Luckily I had a very nice older lady come over, squeeze my hand, smile, and give me this look like “hey, you’re doing fine. Hang in there.” Which made it pretty much a thousand times better. The best part of this post, though, is the knowledge that there are other mommies out there, with a child who is 3, who isn’t ready for potty training. Despite what everyone says. My child is the same- he’s struggled with it. And there’s all this pressure to get them pottytrained by 3, and I am doing the best I can not to give in. Because I know he’s not ready. And I appreciate there is someone else out there who is in the same boat.

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Reshma Alam October 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

It’s funny how husband’s can pin point exactly what is wrong even though they are not around all day.You said it so correctly – you can’t see the battle field from the trenches. I feel the same with my hubby – so grateful for him and the feed back he gives me!

Good job on the blog! Keep on sharing :) We’ve all been there – it’s always nice to know that we’re not alone in this!

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Grace October 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm

been there- 100 times at least! Recently, when able to keep my cool and sit and wait and be present and not react to my daughter’s version of the Exorcist, she actually said “thank you mommy, I love you” when it was all over. Boy, was that validating!

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