I have experienced the “Terrible Twos” and have lived to write about them. I survived the “Threenager” year–although just barely. When my daughter turned four this past spring, I thought I was in the clear.
In some ways, I was. Almost overnight, my daughter seemed to understand concepts better. Her intellect constantly amazes me, even more so in the past few months. For instance: She still dislikes time-outs, but she knows why she is in them. She likes rewards for good behavior, and is starting to realize that we are much happier with the good behavior over the bad behavior.
But all that does not means she is still not four. While I have had 40 (plus) years to learn certain lessons, she is still so very young, and not all lessons are learned the first time anyway.
This past weekend we were using our 30% off at Kohl’s. It expired the next day, and due to poor planning on my part, if I wanted the new shirts for the gym that I had been eyeing, I had to take my daughter bargain-hunting with me.
It started out peacefully enough. My shirts were on clearance (yay!), and I grabbed a few different colors and was ready to head out the door.
That’s when my daughter wanted to look at the toys.
I explained that she was not to get any toys that day, but we could look.
She did not understand that at all.
I get it. If someone told me I could not have those discounted tops, I would have been annoyed, too. But I work hard. My husband works hard. We allocate money for certain things. Most of those things are for our daughter, actually. But how would she know that?
And so she had a full-on tantrum: the classic throw her body on the floor and cry so hard that the stained industrial carpeting showed signs of her tears. I went from consoling her to patting her back to standing a short distance away and just letting her get it out of her system. I was aware that I should have been embarrassed, but did not care. The only way to get through this tantrum was to live it.
Here’s where my story gets interesting. The store was crowded. There were people in virtually every section. One woman walked over to my mom, who was shopping with us and said, “Been there, done that. My granddaughter hates not getting her way. It’s hard, huh?” One couple came up to me and said, “Hang in there, mom. You’re doing a great job!” and yet one more woman looked and me with so much compassion that I almost joined my daughter on the carpet and started crying myself.
No one judged me. No one was annoyed that my daughter was causing such a scene. There were only concerned glances and empathy. I was shocked beyond belief.
Eventually, my stubborn daughter ran out of steam. She stood up and wiped her tears away and we slowly made our way to the registers to pay for my items. She was acting shy and reserved—but I was ok with that, after what we had just been through.
I love being a mom. I really do. It happened later in life for me and I was not sure if it would happen at all. But then my daughter came along and changed everything.
She will make her mark on this world, of that I am so sure. In the meantime, though, I might just go shopping by myself. Not for the sake of the other shoppers, apparently–but for me.