Last week I reached a new parenting milestone: the first public temper tantrum. (Of Ellie’s. I got MY first public temper tantrum out of the way years ago.) We’ve been working on getting her to say “please” whenever she asks for something, and for a while we were doing our best to give her whatever she asked for (within reason, of course) to positively reinforce that behaviour. We may have, uh, over-corrected, and are now working on undoing the effects of that. I picked her up from the sitter’s on Thursday and decided to take a drive out to a nearby town to pick up some bread at the Mennonite bakery there. We wandered around for a bit, sniffing the delicious air and debating the merits of various baked goods, before purchasing the item we came for and returning to the car. I went to put Ellie back in her carseat, at which point she politely requested to continue walking. Sure, why not, it’s a nice day and we’ve been kind of cooped up because of all the snow (and hatred of same). We did a full loop of the rather large parking lot, at which point I decided I was done (I had stupidly worn a pair of clogs, and the parking lot was full of puddles of melting snow, so my feet were a little damp by that point and I was freezing) so I told her we had to go — and of course she started to howl like only a thwarted toddler can. I scooped up her flailing body, buckled her in, and drove home while she sobbed, “Down! Walk! Pwwweeeease!”
It was … well, it turned out to be the first of many outbursts of varying intensity, so I guess we’re in full-blown toddlerhood now. Getting out of the bath is met with righteous indignation, and dinner every night is summarily rejected, no matter what it is. Seemingly out of nowhere, she’s started calling me “Mom” instead of “Mommy” which I can’t even comment on humourously, because come on, knock that off, you’re not even two yet. I was emailing my mom the other day, and AS I WAS TYPING that she (Ellie, not my mom) had started to climb on everything, I looked over to find her standing on the end table.
As for the tantrum itself, much like every other similar experience along the way, it was both bolstering (“that wasn’t so terrible! it was bound to happen eventually, and I handled it okay! we can do this! woooooo!”) and discouraging (“she’s going to keep doing this! for several years! the only way out is through!”). Also I was very relieved to have a loaf of freshly baked cheese bread with which to calm my frazzled nerves.