It was the Target trip from hell as I tried surviving a public tantrum.
Hell is a toddler tantrum in a public place. Or at least it was on Saturday.
I had been looking forward to my Saturday Target trip because it had been awhile since I’ve been to the bulls-eye and purchased a bunch of items that I didn’t need.
Rion is notoriously good in stores. Up until this point, we had very few toddler tantrums in a public place. We had this experience at a water park earlier this year. We left not long after his tantrum because he couldn’t get out of his funk.
If I wasn’t surviving a public tantrum then, I surely wasn’t any better at Target.
We always go after a nap or at the very least when he’s not due for sleep. He loves the lights and he loves the people. He loves all the different things to look at. At the supermarket, he loves the free bananas for kids when we first get there. We give him an ad, and he loves to “read” it. We usually can get through a shopping trip with little to no outbreaks.
Except the one time I just wanted to go to Target for absolutely no reason other than I hadn’t been in awhile.
If it were any other day, I would have left the store. I didn’t need anything. John had the car and was unavailable for an hour. We were forty minutes from home. We were completely trapped. I immediately felt as though I had to get him to calm down some how.
How Did It All Go Wrong?
The trip did start off perfectly fine. He was smiling at another baby, looking at the lights, and chatting away. I went through the Dollar Spot and picked out a few things I definitely didn’t need for fall decorating, but at $3 a piece who could blame me for grabbing them.
I started pushing the cart away from the Dollar Spot and Rion started wiggling in the cart enough to turn around on his knees and stare the other way. Do I just hold him in place? I tried to get his attention to turn around and stay that way but it just wasn’t working.
Eventually, I gave up and just held onto his waist as other customers smiled at him.
I wanted to check out shoes for Rion as his shoes are starting to feel snug. This was the beginning of the end. I took him out of the cart and he took off. I ran after him and caught him before he got clobbered by a Texter.
Side note: stop texting and walking. Not just in Target, but in the streets. I see too many people not paying attention to the world around them especially when crossing a street. Put the phone down or if you need to respond move to the side and stop walking.
I tried getting him back in the cart to try on the toddler shoes, but it was over. He knows he can be on the floor running around. I didn’t find a shoe I liked for him at Target, so I pulled out the Kindle Fire for Kids and just hoped that would keep him quiet for the rest of the time. Yes, I gave my kid technology to keep him still. No shame.
It didn’t keep him quiet though. It definitely did not keep him still. He kicked and yelled. The tears started.
I lost that I would be surviving a public tantrum this time.
So now I’m the mom with the squirmy screaming toddler who has his own tablet.
You just feel eyes on you when your child is loud. Are there eyes? Maybe. I tried to ignore everything around me and focus on what was making my boy so upset in one of his favorite places.
I let him out of the cart thinking maybe he needed to burn off some steam. He likes to push things so pushing the cart seemed like a great idea.
It was for about three minutes. Then it was play with all the items on the lower shelves. Of course, I let him. I just let him explore the lava lamps. Why are people still buying lava lamps?
He pulled the lid off of one, and took off. Okay.
I ran, grabbed him, and tried to see if he would push the cart again. Not a chance.
I was seriously in too deep. I had made every wrong choice up until this point. I wasn’t going to start making good choices now.
So, I held him. I sang to him and I held him as we walked Target in my never ending hour of hell. He scratched me, he pinched me, he screamed and he yelled.
I stupidly said “I don’t need the carrier, we’ll be fine,” as we exited the car. Famous last words.
I needed the carrier. I desperately needed to keep him close to keep my sanity. We use our Ergo carrier, and he really enjoys being in it. He would happily look around the store and I’d be able to get my steps in and do my browsing.
Holding him didn’t work. He squirmed, yelled, and was pushing to get out of my arms. I have a scratch to prove how crappy of an idea attempting to hold him was.
I once again tried food. It worked. He sat in the cart, strapped in, as I held Cheerios.
I saw the light and the light was he was finally hungry enough to sit still and eat. I checked the time and checked out. I can do food. We can sit in the food area and wait for John to come get us. We sat in the food area and I purchased him bread sticks. He ate the bread sticks as if he had been hungry this whole time. It wasn’t like I hadn’t offered him food before or anything. The food area only had chocolate milk, so I rewarded my son’s behavior with chocolate milk.
John came not long after and I hurried away from Target vowing I’d only return if I was by myself the next time.
I got home and decided to look up how else I could have handled his tantrums. Shocking there wasn’t one article that said “Go back in time and don’t do anything you just did.” Mostly, just let him have his tantrum, tell him it’s unacceptable behavior, or leave the store.
I probably could have done a million things different.
I shouldn’t have let him out of the cart even to try on shoes. I shouldn’t have broken out the Kindle Fire and hope it’d help diffuse the situation. I gave into everything. I probably should have just taken him to the food area immediately. If we were closer to home, we would have left the store.
He was just being a toddler!
I think I did “all the wrong things” because I wasn’t used to this type of behavior in a store. He has always been really good in stores. So much so that we take him on a rainy day to get outside and change up his routine.
I came prepared with snacks, a sandwich, and water. I didn’t have milk, but I was at a store that sells milk. None of it worked until the right time. We didn’t go at nap time, either.
I know I need to be consistent, and I definitely lacked consistency with his tantrums in a public place. Will it work? Who knows. Do I need to work on it? Yes.
We weren’t on our home turf and had no escape plan. I forget that for the foreseeable future I need an escape plan. I need to be able to get us out of any situation when my toddler starts toddlering.
Tips For Surviving A Public Tantrum
- Breathe. You’re doing a great job and your kid is just a toddler.
- If you can, leave. No sense in staying and feeling like all eyes on you when you can turn the car around and try again later.
- This too shall pass.
Literally that’s all for the tips. We’re doing the best we can and sometimes it’s just our turn to deal with surviving a public tantrum.
How do you deal with your kid’s public tantrums?