A Slice of Life

Life, cooking and much more

When N had a meltdown

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I had always read and heard of parents experiencing meltdowns at malls and grocery stores. Every parenting book has a section on how to handle public meltdowns, but it was something that I had not experienced myself. This fact changed sometime after the tyke turned two.

We went to one of his favorite hangouts – a mall, where he likes to sit near the fountain enjoying his sweet corn. We usually add some minimal shopping before this activity and it goes well every time. Apparently, not this time. There is a big floor dedicated to toys and when we were passing through this section, N decided he wants a new toy. A humongous teddy bear at that. He could barely lift it, but he managed to pull it down from the rack and asked me to buy it. I tried telling him we can’t buy it and when that did not work, I tried the only weapon remaining – distraction. He is smart enough to realize that I am distracting him (sometimes, not always, thank god) and when he did, it was full throttled crying. No amount of cajoling, convincing, distracting worked and he had a classic meltdown – threw himself on the ground, arms and legs flailing, face turning red and screaming until his lungs gave out. All I could do was stare in disbelief and ask myself ‘Is this really happening?’. Since there was nothing much I could do, I sat next to him and watched him. After what seemed like an eternity, his anger turned to grief and he wanted some love and sympathy and came to me, arms wide open. I picked him up, held and rocked him and he soon was back to normal again.

Every parenting book asks the parent not to be embarrassed when the kid has a public meltdown. I have watched kids and parents with pity whenever I witnessed a meltdown and that was the best I could do. I wondered how I would behave when I was in their position. When I look back, I don’t remember feeling embarrassed. All the while I was sitting next to my screaming kid, the only thing that was on my mind was how do I calm him down? How do I get him out of this tantrum phase and make him feel better?

BTW, do you know what is the worst thing you can tell someone who is angry, hyper and not under control: ‘Calm down’. Seriously, I used to try this with N and that would make him scream even more. Then I discovered FFR: Fast Food Rule by Dr. Karp and life with a toddler has been never been the same. That deserves a post of its own. I have some really good things to say about Dr. Karp’s book, a post is coming soon.

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Written by A

August 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Posted in baby, Parenting

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