I never, ever thought this would be me—yet here we are.
I’m officially the parent of a screamer.
And I hate it. I really, really do.
Because I prefer to lay low. I prefer to stay under the radar. I prefer to leisurely stroll about the store and not have everyone ever in the whole entire world stare at me.
But apparently my children don’t care about my preferences. Because, at a mere 18-months old, my little guy has absolutely perfected “the scream”. You know, that terrible, piercing, sounds like a limb is being ripped off shriek that some children unleash upon not getting their way.
It can be something as simple as making him drink from his—I repeat, his—water bottle. You know, the super cute one with sharks that I bought specifically for him.
That water bottle is the worst, simply because it’s his.
My water bottle? The best.
His brother’s water bottle? Gimme.
His dad’s water bottle? So much yes.
But his—the one that’s meant for him? He’ll pass.
And I don’t say this to poke fun at him or embarrass him one day. I say this to remind you of what I often must remind myself.
That he’s so little.
And so innocent.
And so confused.
And just figuring out life.
And just testing boundaries.
And just trying to understand all the things.
And here’s the funny thing about kiddos like him.
People just love to assume. And judge. Because when he’s in scene-making mode, I get all the looks. The stares and glares and eye rolls. The looks that remind me of just how annoying my child is being. Because I wasn’t aware, so thank you.
I’m 100 percent about respecting other people and their ears and shopping experiences, so if I could calm him—if I could speak logic into my 18-month-old’s life—I absolutely would. And if I can take him out of the situation, ensuring that the only person that’s impacted by his wails is me, then I will. Every time. Hands down.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, I just plain and simply can’t abort mission and rush outside. And the same exact people who look at me like I’m the worst mom on planet earth are the ones who would tell me to discipline him. To stand my ground. To make him stop. Which is ironic, because:
- I can’t control him. He’s another human being, not a robot. And,
- He’s acting this way because I did stand my ground. Because I didn’t let him have that thing he was wanting, do that thing he was doing, or behave that way he was behaving.
Anyway, all I’m trying to say is . . . I never expected I’d have a kid who throws tantrums, because I thought if you were a good enough parent, that wouldn’t happen.
Yeah, not the case. Not at all.
So to all the parents before me who I looked at thinking their kids were entitled and bratty because of their outbursts—I’m so, so sorry. I humbly ask for your forgiveness.
And to all the people who look at me like I’m somehow encouraging his not-so-lovely behavior by not being mean enough, please understand that I’m simply trying my darnedest to raise a good human being who isn’t used to me giving into his every whim that I might spare myself some embarrassment.
Because, believe me, I am embarrassed. And uncomfortable. And I’d rather this not be happening right along with you. But teaching him that life isn’t about always getting his way? Yeah, I’ll attempt to diffuse one thousand screams and cries to bring that truth home for him.
And one other thing: I know he might seem a bit wild, but oh, if only you saw how incredibly sweet he is. Because you’re getting such a teeny, tiny picture of my little guy, and hear me when I say that he’s so much more than a screamer or yeller, a scene-maker or tantrum-thrower.
He’s also a giggler.
And a snuggler.
And an adventurer.
And such a tender, joy-filled soul.
And he’s more than worth every difficult moment.
So please don’t judge my snapshot.
And, rest assured, I’ve learned my lesson.
I sure as heck won’t judge yours, either.
Originally appeared on Kisses From Boys with Krista Ward