Immobility + The Tantrum of the Century


Before having Cricket (which seems like eons ago, not just five weeks!), I would often lament about how doing stuff with a kid was ten times harder than doing stuff alone. Little did I know that doing things with two kids is about a thousand times harder, which has made the rare opportunity to run errands by myself or with just one of the girls seem like a comparative cakewalk.

I really didn’t get out much at all for the first three weeks after having Cricket. Ryan was traveling like crazy, and we had stockpiled the house so that I wouldn’t have to venture out alone. And, truthfully, there was very little in me that even wanted to leave the house. I’m a bit of a homebody; plus I was super exhausted and sad from missing Ryan. However, as time passed and he returned, I began to get antsy — and scared. How in the world was I going to manage a wild toddler and a needy newborn BY MYSELF in public? Ryan and I tested the waters by venturing out to lunch with both girls a few times, and each time I left thinking how impossible it would’ve been to handle E.V. and Kit myself. You can imagine my panic, then, when one day we ran out of diapers and Ryan was at a meeting…

I decided that being mobile with both girls was a skill I inevitably needed to master, and what better way than to dive right in? (A pretty good attitude, considering the only other choice I had would’ve been to dive right in to potty training…) So I packed up Emma Vance and the baby and headed to Target. I even felt confident enough that I brought my camera with me to document my awesomeness. Not. Too bad I was out of practice with the Ergo carrier, meaning I pretty much carried Cricket around the store, E.V. lost a shoe, and I ended up making it down about two aisles before declaring failure. {insert tail between legs as I slink back home, defeated}

Since then I’ve made about a dozen trips here and there, and it’s not easy. Mobility is something that non-parents take for granted (or at least I did). Is it possible to do everything that you did pre-kids? Yes. However, those “things” will take twice the time and energy, must fit into a limited timeframe (between naps and before meltdowns) and require about a ton of gear (read: snacks, drinks, books, diapers, wipes, iPhone apps — Oh, and don’t forget some things for the kiddos, too! Haha.). I used to group all of my errands together by location for efficiency, knock ’em out and be on my way. Nowadays I’m constantly driving to the same shopping centers, only able to hit one or two stores at a time before Cricket needs to eat or E.V. runs out of patience. Sigh. I look forward to the day (give me about a year?) when I can get back to normal life! ;)

Keeping in mind that I’m still not 100% confident in wrangling both kids by myself but that I’m trying to get there, let’s discuss my worst. day. ever., heretofore known as “The Tantrum of the Century.”

It was a weird day to begin with, as E.V. and Cricket fell asleep for their afternoon nap about two hours earlier than normal, meaning that the afternoon loomed ahead of us with a loooong, empty span of time to fill. Even though it was a weekend (last Saturday before Easter), Ryan was working, leaving entertaining the kids up to me. As the girls snoozed, I got a surge of confidence. I can do this alone! Why waste an afternoon of potential FUN because of fear? So I pulled up directions to Scottsdale Farms, a large nursery/cafe close to our house. We’d never visited it before, but I figured that it was a short drive and would probably be desolate because it was sprinkling and a holiday weekend. Feeling like Wonder Woman, I set out to have an adventure…and succeeded!

E.V. loved everything about Scottdale Farms. It was super busy, which surprised me, but E.V. loves crowds and spent the afternoon showing off to everyone. We started with ice cream in the cafe (always a winner), then “shopped” in the general store, played with the owner’s dogs (and by “played with,” I mean “hugged and kissed”), splashed around in all their many fountains, and ran around the actual nursery. Emma Vance was an angel, following directions and listening so well. Cricket was asleep on my chest in the baby carrier the entire time. We spent two glorious hours exploring the nursery, oohing and ahhing at shrubs and trees, smelling pretty flowers, picking up rocks — an employee even let E.V. help water the plants! I was so proud of myself and of her! And then, in an instant, my pleasant afternoon went kaput.

We were on our way to the car when we passed a koi pond littered with big kids feeding the fish. Emma Vance started whining to see the “fishies,” but Kit had woken up and was ready to eat. So we passed by the pond without stopping. I fed Cricket, all the while with E.V. begging to go back. Being a sucker for that sweet face, I decided a quick look at the fish would be a great way to end our enjoyable afternoon. I didn’t even put Cricket back in her carrier, just threw her over my shoulder as E.V. dragged me by the hand to see the koi. A few of the big kids were still there, on their knees at the edge of the small pond. E.V. took a cue from them, sitting right on the edge as well. They had food and were baiting the fish so that they could pet them (which is forbidden), which excited E.V. — who didn’t have any food. She was clearly jealous and frustrated, and was whining, “Fishies! Fishies! Fishies!” I could tell things were about to South quickly, so I sat down next to her as I saw her scooting closer and closer to the water. Dear God, please don’t get in the pond and make me jump in after you! The big kids ran out of food and left, but E.V. was determined to touch those koi. Her tiny feet had finally gotten close enough that her heels were actually in the water, so I grabbed her by the back of her jacket and attempted to pull her away, which resulted in immediate tears. The term “gnashing of teeth” doesn’t even do this tantrum justice. She started screaming and wriggling away and bawling — and I was helpless. I was balancing a newborn on my shoulder with one hand, trying to keep E.V. from jumping in the pond with the other, sitting on the ground unable to hoist myself up due to an untimely sprained knee. People were just passing us by, trying to avert their eyes to save me the shame. What the heck do I do?!? No, seriously. What. Do. I. Do? If she gets in, I have to go in after her, Cricket and all! Do koi bite?? Then a woman walking by accidentally caught my eye. She kept walking, but after about ten steps past me, she turned around out of guilt and asked if I needed help. I have never uttered a more pitiful “yes please” in my life. This kind stranger pulled my screaming child up and away from the koi pond, gave me an empathetic look, and then let me save face as I scooped both girls into my arms and trudged precariously back to my car, E.V.  fighting me the whole way. 

The tantrum was the worst I’ve ever seen by far. She moaned about the fishies, sobbed and screeched the whole way home. I’m pretty sure she will talk to her therapist in about 20 years and cite this as her first scarring memory. (Goodness knows I will!) The silver lining? Although I was exhausted, humiliated, drenched in sweat and traumatized by The Tantrum of the Century, up until that last fifteen or so minutes, we had enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I had done it! I was mobile! We were having fun! If only that damn koi pond hadn’t ruined our afternoon. Next time I’ll know better: Once you’re in the car, just go home. :)


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