"Pouts and Spouts"
She especially liked to throw tantrums in the grocery store.
“No, you can’t have Sugar Nuggets Cereal,” I’d say. “We’ve already picked out Corn Syrup Crunchies.”
“Want it!” she threatened.
“No.” I pushed the cart ahead.
“AAAWWWWOOOOOO! Want it! “ she wailed . She threw herself to the floor in tears.
I pushed the cart ahead and here’s the thing…She paused, got up and moved to the front of the cart again, laid back down in the aisle and resumed the tantrum.
“Want it! Want it! Want it!” she bellowed.
I tried not to laugh.
On lookers frowned.
“Victim of corporate advertising, “ I said to them. Most chuckled and moved on, fleeing the 100-decibel zone.
But I knew I’d need to teach my kid a better life strategy. An opportunity soon came.
I wheeled around the endcap onto the cookie aisle. She got off the floor and followed and immediately seized a pink box of elf cookies bedecked with fairy princesses. With a prize inside!
“Want it! Want it! Want it!” She escalated, hoping to draw sympathy from the crowd of shoppers on that aisle.
“No, it’s chocolate and it’s not on the list.”
“I hate you!” she screamed. She slid on her back along the floor, mopping it with her jacket and letting loose with sobs. The crowd gathered. Did they think I was abusing her by denying her a box of Fudgie Fats? I clearly needed to shut this down.
I straddled her, looked down, and began to applaud!
“Bravo!” I exclaimed. “Bravo! That is the best tantrum I’ve ever seen. Perfect pitch! Good volume! What excellent drama you bring to the scene! Well done! Good job!”
The crowd laughed and dispersed. I’d called her bluff. She stared at me in stunned silence.
I put the cookies back on the shelf, and scooped her into my arms. “I love you,” I said. “But God has charged me with being your parent not your best friend. Part of my job is to make tough calls like this. I have to sacrifice today so that you have a better future tomorrow. Now let’s get our list and finish shopping”
My kid never pulled another tantrum. She’s 20 years old now and still talks about this incident.
What did it mean to her life?
She was shopping with her friend Mindy recently.
“Mom,” she said, “Mindy was tossing item after item into the cart. She wasn’t thinking about her purchases. She was just getting stuff on impulse. She spent her whole paycheck and she can’t pay her rent this month! “
Then she leaned over and hugged me. “Thanks for teaching me better. You’re a good Mom. I love you.”