When Clint Edwards knew his 3-year-old daughter wasn't ready to leave the quiet bookstore without the Peppa Pig backpack she was "cradling like it was her firstborn," the dad had two choices: be impractical by giving in and buying her the bag (which she already had at home) or deal with her inevitable public tantrum. He noted that Aspen also had two choices: listen to her father or dissolve into a meltdown.
After attempting to explain to Aspen that she already had the bag at home, he quickly realized that there would be no reasoning with her, that "it was her job to be a turd about it," and that they'd both be going with their second options.
"I waited until my wife and kids were finished shopping, then I pried the toy out of her arms, her screaming like I actually removed a limb, me trying not to hurt her, the whole time wondering if she was actually Thor because of her freakishly strong grip," Clint wrote in a post to Facebook. "I hauled Aspen out of the store underneath my arm, her screaming in a Peppa Pig swimming suit, her legs kicking, my swimming suit falling down, crack showing, but unable to pull it up because my hands were full. I got her in the van. I got her calmed down. And once it was all said and done, I looked at her in the backseat, and wondered if I'd done the right thing. I do this a lot as a father."
Clint continued, reflecting on how before becoming a parent he didn't realize how emotionally draining it would be to be in the throes of a situation with your child you can't possibly win. "You are either going to create an expectation that if your child grabs something at the store, you will buy it for them, regardless. . . . Or you end up disrupting everyone in a 20-mile radius as you work to establish boundaries with your child," he wrote.
Because Aspen's a 3-year-old whom Clint says is basically programmed to "just want things" and can't truly listen to reason like an adult would, dilemmas like this become even more challenging. However, Clint ended his post explaining why even though it was difficult and embarrassing, he chose to reinforce a boundary with Aspen rather than give in to her demands.
"I said, 'no.' I disrupted a quiet bookstore to do it. I got a little embarrassed. But looking back now, I know I did what was best for Aspen's overall development. It sucked. But I did it.
Parents make these decisions everyday. And it's never easy. But if you are reading this, and you've faced something similar, I get it. We all do. It sucked, I'm sure. But you most likely did what was best for your child, and that's a wonderful thing."