It's not often that I get the pleasure of shopping with just one kid, but the other day I was out at Costco with just my 2-year-old. We were zooming down the isles, and I was really in my element, thinking about how fun and easy it is to have just one baby. Suddenly our peaceful moment was ruined when we heard incredibly loud screaming. My little guy even looked worried. "Kid crying?" he asked.
We glanced down the aisle and saw The Problem. A kid who appeared also appeared to be around 2 years old was struggling to get out of the cart. He was crying and kicking and having a complete meltdown. I admit that I felt gloriously happy to have the kid who wasn't crying, but I also felt so sorry for the poor mom. She looked tired and defeated and I heard her tell the kid, "Why can't you be a good boy? Do you see these other kids? They're just sitting in their carts, minding their own business. You're the only one crying."
The mom rushed around the store, trying to ignore the tantrum, and meanwhile I had a fun little shopping date with my Little Buddy.
At the end of the day, it was time to pick up Big Sister from preschool. I unstrapped my toddler from his car seat and he reached for his milk cup. "Bring inside?" he asked.
I thought about it for a second. If he brought the cup inside, it would get all covered with preschool germs. Plus, my daughter would immediately demand milk too, and I hadn't brought any for her.
"No," I decided. "Let's just leave it here. We'll be back in just a few minutes."
At that point, my perfect little angel decided to throw a fit. He started screaming and crying and clutching that stupid milk cup. The other moms in the parking lot started to stare at me. Suddenly, I was the lady with the crying kid. I could feel myself getting hot and bothered. I was tempted to change my mind. I almost did because I really wasn't enjoying being the mom with the kid who won't stop crying. Yet I knew that I couldn't give in now, because if I did, he would learn that all he has to do is cry and I'll give in to whatever he wants. I pried the milk cup from his hands and pulled him out of his seat. I would like to say that he quit crying once he realized I wasn't giving in. I would like to say that he forgot about once he saw his Big Sister, but he didn't.
That kid cried all the way in to school, the entire time I was talking to my daughter's teacher, and all the way to the car. Other moms continued to stare at me in a judgy-compassionate way, but I held my ground. Sure, it would have been easier to give in. He would have stopped crying and pleasantly walked inside, but I taught him an important lesson that day. He doesn't get his way just because he's crying. And I learned an important lesson too. Just because a kid is pitching a fit in a store or parking lot doesn't mean that the parents don't have it under control. Sometimes the best parents are the ones with the screaming kids.