This post is for Lori and Heidi, two young moms that I know who are struggling with the issue of what to do with a screaming toddler, especially in public. Yesterday I was in WalMart. I witnessed a father pushing a cart with a little girl in the front. My best guess would be that she was nearly two. Two older siblings walked alongside the cart. The little girl was having a rip-roaring tantrum. Her face was red and snotty. Arms and legs were flailing. The volume was turned up full blast. The dad handled it great. He looked at her and said, "_________(name inserted here because I can't remember what it was) You can scream all you want, you can turn as red as you want, you can swing your arms and legs right off of your body, but you can NOT win. So, do whatever you have to do, but just know that the ONLY person you are wearing down is yourself and the ONLY person you are embarrassing is yourself." I thought it was great. In fact, I laughed out loud and instantly thought of the two of you. Your children aren't the only ones, not by a long shot. I don't know how much of his speech she understood, but I do know that if she didn't understand all of it, she understood that she wasn't going to win. Eventually I didn't hear her anymore. Not like I stalked them around the store or anything, but she was pretty loud and I think I would have heard her.
Something else happened at WalMart yesterday. When I was getting out of my car I heard a horrible commotion. Loud screaming etc. I got out of my car and saw a woman walking down the parking aisle. She was followed closely by a boy around 12 or 13. The woman was screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs. Pretty much a string of words all beginning with F. All around people stood staring with their mouths open and heads shaking. Whatever the problem was it didn't have anything do do with her son who looked pretty mortified and was just walking along behind her. Her yelling went on for a good 5 minutes. Even after she got into her car and backed it out of the parking place. I didn't see anyone else that she might have had an altercation with, at least not in the parking lot. Something must have happened inside the store. Now where was the other man when we needed him. Maybe he could have explained to her that the only person she was embarrassing was herself. Then there is the whole issue of the poor son. Like the little boy and the donut at the grocery store, maybe I should just start running around adopting children who's parents say and do inappropriate things in front of them.