The Great Toddler Standoff


Today, this happened.

The almost 2 year old and I did a super quick early morning grocery run.  I intended to quickly go home and camp out in front of the fireplace for the rest of the day.   The windchill today is -456 or something close.  After wrestling the shoes, the hat, and the jacket onto said toddler in the car, we rushed through the 100 mph ice-wind into the store.  To my horror, the fire truck cart was already gone.  This toddler LOVES the firetruck cart.  I plopped her down into the yellow taxi cart. She protested, loudly.

Me: (in my head) “We can’t always get what we want. Today you need to have this cart. Maybe next time you will get your favorite.”

What actually came out of my mouth: “Just Sit Down!”

I half-sat on her to hold down the flailing arms and legs and fasten the seat belt.

Miss Sassy Pants:  “Momma… Owwwww, Nooooo, Other one.”

To her dismay, all that yelling and crying and general frustration must have messed up my mommy brain and I accidentally on purpose flew right past the free cookie station.

She protested, loudly. “Cookie!!!!”

Me: (In my head) “When we act this way and disobey mommy at the grocery store we don’t get cookies.”

What actually came out of my mouth:  “No cookies today!” Kind of like “No soup for you.”

I started run/walking with the taxi cart and I discover why it was still available at 8:30 am… a wonky wheel.  Everyone in the store followed the sound of our cart.  “COOKIE!!!!  thunk thunk thunk thunk, Momma OWWWWWW, thunk thunk thunk, COOKIE…” you get the picture.

Of course I handled it all calmly and gracefully.

Me: (In my head) “We can’t have treats when we throw fits, we are almost finished, let’s make it a game.”

What actually happened:  I couldn’t talk because I  sweating, breathing heavy and praying that the lines were short and that I had tightened the belt well enough.  She’s a 2 foot tall Houdini.

Then, over the edge of the taxi cart go the shoes, the hat and the jacket.  Great.  Now instead of grabbing the 1 gallon of milk that I came for,  I’m searching the entire store for a lost shoe. She’s yelling, the cart is thunking, and I could already use a stiff drink. Some blessed soul brought us the shoe, (I wonder how she found us?) and off to the checkout we went.

So she doesn’t climb out of the cart onto the checkout counter Because I am such a great mom, I always let her lay our items onto the counter at the checkout.  Today, however, we only have milk, which weighs as much as she does.  So of course I handled it calmly and gracefully.

Me: (In my head)  “This one is to heavy, next time you can help Mommy.”  Nope, that would have been easy.

What actually came out of my mouth:  “Nope, mommy will do it.” I grabbed it from her hand and thumped it on to the counter.  She protested, loudly.

As we are walking past the Starbucks (seriously, in the grocery store?!) and toward the doors she sticks her little feet onto the taxi steering wheel.  My inner Mommy self nearly collapsed on the floor with defeat.  She’s barefoot.  Believe me, I seriously weighed my options.  If it wasn’t -456 outside I would have just walked fast and quickly gotten into the car, barefoot and all.  I tried to put her shoes on.  I grabbed, she kicked, I lunged she screamed.  I held her down, she glared at me like putting her shoes on was equivalent to selling her into to slavery.

And then it got real.

I turned my back, and the smell of Starbucks enveloped me. There was a bench there, with enough room for the taxi. It was like the Holy Grail of peace and calm and grace and caffeine. I checked the seatbelt one more time, pushed that wonky screeching taxi over to the Starbucks, and bought a giant coffee.  I sat and she screeched.  Every few minutes I asked if she wanted to put on her shoes.  She’d yell “no!” and cry or scream, and I would drink more coffee.  I smiled at the passerby’s, the employees were avoiding eye contact (and giggling), I was slowly getting back my sanity and maybe a little power.  The screeches slowed, the tears subsided, and finally (nearly 35 minutes after we started this adventure)  she said “Me do it” and yanked the shoes from my hand.

I winked at the Barista, helped with the hat and the jacket, and we were off.

Here’s the miracle.  She was pleasant, kind, helpful and a pure joy to be with for the rest of the morning.  I came home with a bruise (one to many kicks) and a reminder that sometimes it pays to take my time, give some choices, sit back and let her work it out.

Be strong dear mommies.  These days are fleeting.  My 10 year old almost always wears his shoes in the grocery store, and my 6 year old rarely grabs the magazines in the check out line and throw them on the floor.  Remember these days are long, but the years go by so quickly.

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