So, it’s all over the news that a mum was asked to leave John Lewis when her 16 month old daughter threw a tantrum (check it out here if you haven’t).
To those who say, this isn’t news. No it’s not news, toddlers throw tantrums, everyone knows that. What is news, is a huge child-friendly company asking a poor mum to leave their store. That’s just NOT helpful. Toddlers, like babies, pick up on their mum’s emotions, so this poor lady, who was already stressed and trying to calm her daughter was then angered/annoyed/affronted/embarrassed and forced to leave her purchases and carry her daughter out. This is the worst thing EVERY for a toddler, who like ALL newly walking toddlers, wanted to walk and did NOT want to be carried. I feel this lady’s pain and her anger, I’d be furious too.
Walking leads to MAJOR temper tantrums. We had tantrums from 10/11 months, but now H is walking they’re daily. Yes my life is a bit stressful now, I have to figure out a new way to placate a toddler every day. I’m sure you’re wondering why…. let me explain:
1. Car seats
This is my biggest headache, at?15 months old, Toddler H, just wants to walk everywhere. She doesn’t understand it’s not always possible, WHY would she want to get in the car? She can walk! Why would she want to be carried across the car park to the shopping trolley? She can walk! For the last month, every time I attempt to out her in the car she screams. I am a horrible mummy telling her she can’t walk…. Seriously, she screams the street down. I feel so bad for my neighbours, and the surrounding streets… and the cows at the farm 1/4 of a mile away… This is a tantrum that happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I open the car door. However, I’m doing my best, but I’m afraid I have to leave the house, so I just have to put up with this. Treat bribes and bread sticks are the closest I sometimes get to a quieter (believe me not quiet!) exit from the house.
2. High chairs
“Let me OUT!”
Every week after our weekly baby class we have coffee at Whole Foods. Every week for the last month, H throws a tantrum when she’s finished her snack. She wants out, and she wants to run about. I feel terrible every week, I don’t want to subject anyone to a toddler crying, but H needs a snack before getting in the car to go home as that’s when she’ll fall asleep for her only nap of the day. She needs a nap, even just 20 minutes, which is often all it is. So Whole Foods diners, yes you smile and comment, you try to make h and her friend’s laugh…. and you’ve always been kind to us when she’s been getting grumpy. I really appreciate it, it’s the small things that help, the understanding. But, I still see the occasional look, and I want the ground to swallow me up. Yes, and on many other occasions in other places, pubs, restaurants etc. too, I really feel terrible. I’d love to stop these tantrums, I do try to limit them, I really try, but this phase just needs to run it’s course. I’m sorry. I’ll be much less stressed when they end, but I know they’ll be replaced by a different tantrum.
“I can walk and RUN”
This one is a biggie… if she’s on being ‘confined’ in her car seat, then it’s usually her pushchair. Here’s an example: I had lunch with a friend and her 2 year old about 6 weeks ago, and H refused to go back in her pushchair. She screamed and ran. She has mastered the art of floppy shoulders with incredible back arching and wriggling, so just like a snake she cannot be held. The pub we had lunch in was big, but it felt like every single eye in the place was on me. I felt embarrassed, I wanted the ground to swallow us up. I was stuck to know what to do and just wanted to get out of there. After trying a couple more times to get her into her pushchair so we could leave, I gave in pulling out her brand spanking new reins. She shocked us walking a good distance home. She really was serious, she could walk! Now, onto what I learnt, I learnt H was right, she could walk. I learnt, I could only do my best to limit tantrums and really there is nothing I can do but let it run it’s course or get out of there in the quietest quickest way I could. However, I would have gone to the papers, I would have been posting to every media outlet there is, if I had been asked to leave. The manager did hold the door open for us, but that was actually helpful with 2 pushchairs, and one toddler on reins! All parents go through their toddlers having tantrums, all parents have been there even if they’ve blocked it from their mind, and all parents should be able to sympathise.
We also get tantrums that she’s been in the pushchair too long, 10 minutes is enough to renew her energy and she’s like… “I NEED out!!”
4. TV remotes (also swap for mummy’s phone, iPad, watch, cup of tea,… the table lamps I can now reach).
“I MUST have xxxx” I MUST chew the remote”
I don’t think I need to say anymore, just any one of these can cause a meltdown like no other if taken from a toddler. She must have them, she must lock mummy’s phone so there can be no more play dates and the phone is wiped clean. Hmmmm mummy thinks not. I find Hey Duggee or sometimes Twirlywoos can help.
5. Stair gates
“I WANT to go up the stairs, I WANT TO GO TO THE KITCHEN.”
That is all, there is no explanation, she just needs to escape. Sometimes she needs to hang onto the stair gate as shown, other times she hangs on with one hand so she can scream facing me. Sometimes she also does this one for fun, laughing and shrieking. Mummy runs down the hall every time.
As for that John Lewis incident…. it’s the complaints that trouble me the most
From what I’ve read the John Lewis employee said it was due to customer complaints. Seriously, I don’t know anyone who would go to a member of staff and complain about a toddler tantrum. I’m sure there were looks and muttering, there always?are. However, I’m sure there were also many other parents, many shopping for Mother’s Day gifts, who were thinking “I know how that feels”, and following the member of staff’s actions, were also annoyed. It would have been much more fitting for the member of staff to try to help, after all John Lewis is a family shop, it sells toys, nursery furniture, baby and children’s clothes, it has baby changing facilities. And for goodness sake, it’s Christmas adverts are ‘family’, they’re filled with children! Ok, so not children mid-temper tantrum, but everyone knows children aren’t like those in the John Lewis advert!
What do you think? Does your toddler throw tantrums like this? Any tips?
Disclaimer: Please note, I’m no expert, I’m just a mummy dealing with everything new mummy-hood throws at me 🙂