Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recipe For A Melt Down

Well, we knew it would happen eventually... After a long errand day filled with story time:

The mall, great find at a consignment store:

$50 mini hiking sandals for only $20!!

And trips to Walmart and Lowe's:

We finally made it to our final stop, the grocery. Ayden had a nice, long afternoon nap so energy wasn't a problem. Our problem was going into the grocery hungry. We are at a point now where Ayden is a great eater at mealtimes and he uses nursing for snacking. He'll have the occasional solid food snack with me, an apple here or some ground chicken there, but he isn't on a strict snack schedule. When we are out and about, however, I leave when he nurses up to him. We walked into the grocery and everything was fine and dandy until Ayden saw me put the frozen blueberries into the cart. Then I got to see the Blueberry Monster slowly emerge until he was in a full on crying fit because I wouldn't open the package and feed them to him right then and there. We officially had our first public toddler meltdown. As any mother does when her child is crying, I went down the checklist:
1) Is he rested? Check.
2) Does he have a fresh diaper? Check.
3) Does he need snuggles or attention? Getting lots at the moment.
4) Could he be hungry? Bingo.

Realizing that the root of the problem was hunger, I worked my way toward the produce section where I knew they had samples of fresh fruit. On the way over I tried to distract him from his beloved blueberries but he was fixated. At one point I pointed out the music and he stopped crying to clap a few times:

...and then continued crying over the lack blueberries that was making his world crumble all around him. I kept talking about how he was feeling and why he was feeling that way and reassuring him that we would eat them later since we can't eat such a messy snack at the grocery (which of course didn't help since he is only one and all). Finally, by the time we made it to our saving grace in the form of fresh grapes, he had calmed and I was able to say, "Oh look, grapes! Want a bite?" and then proceeded to give him some without feeling like I was reinforcing said tantrum.  Shew!

You see, not giving into tantrums was one of those things that our pre-baby selves said we'd NEVER do. We'd see other parents do it and exchange a look like, "Don't they know that they are just creating a bigger monster?!?" Then Ayden came and about 70% of what we thought we felt strongly about drastically changed and I have to admit, I worried a bit about how strong I would be against a tantrum. Worried until today that is!

Even though Ayden looked like Puss from Shrek with his huge, teary eyes, I am very proud to say that I had no problem standing my ground...

This time. It helped to know that frozen blueberries are probably the messiest thing possible, but still, it was tough with those big crocodile tears and kitten eyes staring up at me!

The cry of a tantrum, is completely different from the cry of pain or loneliness that I can't resist but comfort and stop. It felt "right" to let him cry this one out as I helped him identify what he was feeling and letting him know it was okay to feel that way. I hope that I have the energy and mindset to do it again next time.  I know that this wasn't the laying on the floor, banging his fists kind of tantrum, but it made me feel good to know that I successfully made it through our first public melt down without the urge of giving in.

After eating his grapes, Ayden signed that he wanted to nurse so I parked my cart and took some time to sit and nurse. After that he was his usual happy camper self, waving and smiling at everyone we passed. Mommy lesson of the day: even though you are tired and ready to go home, everything will run more smoothly and everyone will be happier if you take a little extra time to meet their needs. As all of these lessons usually are, it seems obvious, but in the moment you get the silly idea that you can rush through one more errand or task, get home and then take care of everyone. The reality is that kids aren't that flexible, especially if one of the items on the checklist is left unchecked. In my experience, as was proved today, if all the boxes are checked, we are all happy and have a great time.

Overall, Ayden and I both needed a day out of the house. He had fun playing after story time and I got to talk to some other moms and hang out with my sister. The change of scenery and socialization felt good. I don't like how late we were out. David beat us home and we didn't eat dinner until 7:30 (though it was seriously delicious and well worth the wait! It is definitely a new favorite that will be added to our menu rotation.  Here is the recipe.).
Ayden "cooked" his own meal while we cooked ours.
Love the crossed feet!

I still have some tweaking to do but I think the key will be to get Ayden's schedule shifted again. Right now his nights are 9 pm - 9 am and we usually do better on a 7:30/8 pm - 7:30 am schedule. Hopefully next Thursday will be a little less hectic of an errand day!


No comments:

Post a Comment