Epic Meltdown


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.

The Talk

christmas star

So today, was ‘the talk’ with my dearest Larissa, age 7.  Not the sex talk – the Santa talk.  Never in my life have I experienced something quite like that.  This morning we were running around, barely on time for school and Larissa asked me, “Mom, I wondered who hired Santa?  Who was the first one?”

The moment struck me, and I sat down to begin the conversation.  I had known it was coming but my mind was whirling as responding with sensitivity took on a whole new meaning.  I wanted to be honest and truthful but could I do that without crushing her, without being totally honest?  Could I lie?  No… but it was a passing thought.   I stopped beating around the bush and jumped in full throttle into what felt right.  The conversation unfolded something like this…

Well I believe in all kinds magic: the magic of Santa, of your dreams, of fairytales, of God, of Christmas, feeling good when you do the right thing.  Santa is just a representation of all that magic.  But not in the way that kids usually think about magic.  The magic of fairytales coming true is real to me because I married your dad and we live the fairytale every single day.  However, in a real-life, fairytales you have to clean toilets, you make mistakes, you are sometimes late for school (like today).  

There are 2 groups of people in the world. Both believe in magic but in different ways.  The younger group believes in the kid-friendly kind of magic because of the older group.  Once you are mature enough and you have this once-in-a-lifetime conversation, YOU become the one responsible for carrying the magic of life, onto the first group, onto your sisters and someday your kids.”

“You mean I get to BE the magic?” she asked.

“YES! “

Larissa lit up, her face turned red, and I thought she was going to cry from disappointment. But after a moment, she looked at me about to bust with happiness. She hugged me and said, “Mom, you are my magic!” I cried of course and said that magic is a giant wheel of belief.

I was scared that Larissa was going to be totally devastated or angry but her reaction shocked and touched me.  I have never seen her so full of joy and happiness in all my life.  She did say that she was a little disappointed but she was so excited to be given the responsibility of passing the magic around. She was just busting with actual pure euphoria.

You know, when you become a mom, ALL the work you put in gets eventually rewarded.  In toddlerhood, the reward comes when your child finally shares a toy that ONE time as a sign of compassion to another crying child.  Oh, man that sense of pride is nothing compared to when they get older.  The moment when you know you must be doing at least an alright job of mothering because they show such compassion and maturity.  This was that moment for me as I have never known.

When I sat down that day I would have I honestly would have preferred the sex talk, at least that I had thought about and prepared for those conversations.  I thought I was being a murderer of magic for her, but really I just made it grow.

This is a moment I will treasure forever.

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