Well it happened. A’s first public tantrum. You know, you’ve seen or experienced it yourself, the child under your arm, legs flailing around like a fish. There are screams and tears and kicks. And stares, don’t forget the stares.
Myself and A recently went on a little trip! We went back to the Rock (aka home) to spend a week with our family and friends and celebrate A’s 2nd birthday. I lost sleep the night before we left because I was anxious over the idea of trying to keep A on my lap for the 1hr 15 minute flight. Well I lost sleep for no reason because 10 minutes into the flight, he fell asleep! It was his nap time so I knew it would go one of two ways but it ended up working in my favor. Phew!
I was hoping the return flight would be as pleasant but it wasn’t at nap time so I had my doubts. The first part of the flight he was best kind. Okay, fine, I may have been feeding him sugary snacks but whatever works, right? Then we started our descent. That is when A decided that he had had enough. He was done. He wanted off the plane. I tried everything. I showed him the books I brought him, the stickers and toys. I was out of snacks and my iPod only held his attention for 30 seconds. Here I was with a toddler who had it in his mind that he wanted DOWN.
Before I continue, I want to thank the kind stranger next to me for his patience. I saw the stares from other passengers when we were waiting to board, everyone hoping that they wouldn’t be sitting next to the woman travelling alone with her toddler. Well he was the unlucky one. He was simply trying to do his sudoku puzzles in peace and instead he ended picking up a nummy from the floor 5 times, being kicked (by accident) by a pair of size 5 Thomas sneakers, sneakers that minutes later he would be shown up close (SHOE SHOE SHOE). I apologized over and over and he told me not to worry about it. He may have been cursing in his head, but if he was he did a good job of covering it up.
Anyways, when A realized that I wasn’t going to let him down and this man wasn’t going to move his legs to let him pass, he decided to sit on the floor. Probably not the best place for him seeing as he is not carry on baggage and I am sure the flight attendants would have had something to say about it. So I picked him up and placed him back on my lap. That’s when the tears and squeals started. I told him in my reassuring tone that we were almost there. Few more minutes and we’d be able to get off. Ha! 30 minutes is more than a few minutes and who knew 30 minutes could seem like 8 hours. Anyways, I started singing and it soothed him, the crying stopped. I dodged a bullet! The tantrum was short lived. Or so I thought.
I didn’t care if my singing wasn’t soothing anyone around me, I sang every nursery rhyme I could think of until that seatbelt sign went off and the plane stopped moving. That’s when the real fun began. A was perfect until we got off the plane and passed the play area in the airport. There was no way I was stopping to play. I wanted my luggage so I could get the heck home out of it. A started running towards the toys, I pulled him in the other direction. He started kicking and screaming and dropped to the floor. I picked him and put him under my arm, then he was flat on his stomach in my arms in front of me (picture carrying a pizza), then he was flopping around like a fish. He was pinching my face. I felt like I belonged in the circus!
Then we got to the luggage carousel and of course, our luggage was the last piece to get off the damn plane. He didn’t want to wait anymore, he wanted to get out of there. I can’t even say that I blame him. He was tired. He was hungry. He was probably crashing from his sugar high. Either way, he was pissed off. He started crying and whining and wanting up in my arms. It was quite the scene. But I kept my cool. I didn’t cry, I didn’t yell. That is cool if you ask me.
Then I looked up and saw this woman, probably my age, staring at me. Then half smiling. Then she nudged the man next to her and they started whispering. I couldn’t tell if she was sympathetic to my situation because she had experienced it before, or if she was telling her boyfriend that I needed to get a handle on my child. As I looked around the room I noticed that almost everyone’s eyes were on us. Old men, young women….it didn’t matter. They were all staring. That is when I wanted to lose my cool. I wanted to shout ”What are you looking at? Have you never seen a 2 year old before?? Do you think you can do a better job?” Then I wanted to say ”You’re lucky he wasn’t like this the entire flight!”
I felt like everyone was against me. Like I was a huge disruption and more than anything, I felt like I was being judged! I picked up my son, wiped away his tears, waited for our ‘backpack’ and walked away. I wanted to flip the strangers behind me the bird (except for the man who sat next to us). But I never. What sort of example would that set for my son 😉
Unlike most of A’s other tantrums, I felt this one was justified. A 3 hour delayed flight, an interrupted nap, hunger, being in a confined space with recycled air, surrounded by staring strangers. Travelling is hard! But what made it worse for me was the stares.
Before I was a parent, I may have stared. I would like to think that I would not have. But maybe I would have. But now, the only reason I would stare would be to try to make eye contact with the parent to let him/her know that hey, we’ve all been there and you’re doing a great job!!! I wish someone had done that for me.
Hugs & Smiles,