Enjoy your fiery pit of hell, be-yatch

What is it about one parent's hell that brings out the smugness in others? And why would anyone mess with parenting karma anyway?

MZ, Auntie D and I tried to go out to dinner tonight. MZ had been asking for Auntie D, she had been missing MZ, and I have been relishing my trips out of the house. So after music class we trundled off to the local sushi joint, where MZ had had such brilliant success with miso soup only weeks ago.

Except that this time, after sharing a bench with us and asking for miso soup by name, when I tried to put a bib on her so she could eat said soup, she melted into a screaming mass of toddlerhood that was horrific and paralyzing to behold. When I tried to take her out of her chair she screamed to be left in. When I left her in, she continued to scream. So I rushed her outside, as the tray clattered to the floor, where she screamed to go back inside. Not just cried, but screamed, a piercing sound that I would do almost anything to stop. Especially on a cold, windy San Francisco evening.

Finally she calmed down and I brought her inside at her request, and she commenced screaming again when we got to our table. Out we rushed, and I was pretty much sure that they were going to need to box up dinner, wondering if they would give me my wine in her sippy cup to go.

There was another woman outside with her toddler, and they gave it their best to distract MZ. When their second adult came outside, I asked if they wouldn't mind going inside to summon Auntie D. They did, but before she could get outside, their third adult arrived, looked right at me and said, "You brought the wrong food." Um, what? I think I made some light reply about that changing every day, and she looked at me smugly and said, "Oh, well I have food I bring just to restaurants. He never melts down."

Okay, one, I have never heard that, and would be willing to try it out, but the Right food changes every freaking day for toddlers, it's like number 2 or 3 on the Toddler Code right after No! And two, how is your smug all-knowingness helping what is clearly a distressing situation for me and my kid? Did you notice that she is screaming? Are there not 150 better ways to offer assvice? Has your toddler really never melted down? Because mine hadn't before tonight, and I really have no freaking idea what to do right now, and when it happens to you, I'm betting you won't either. And it will happen to you, if not now then when they're a teenager. Because the First Rule of Kids is that they are their own people and they will not be controlled.

Coincidentally, I watched a preschooler melt down last night and wondered what I'd do if it were me. Evidently my usual nature was on vacation because tonight I had zero backup plan. I actually tried reasoning with her, because speaking calmly gave me something calm to do. But rationally discussing options doesn't work particularly well with a child who refuses to say the word Yes, so I was pretty much ass out.

Ultimately I went inside and got her some food, assuming that although it was 20 minutes before her normal dinner time, she was hungry. She wolfed it down and asked for more, so maybe that was it, but Auntie D also said she was farting up a storm while she held her, so maybe it was gas. Or maybe it's the five teeth I can feel poking through, or the accompanying diaper rash, or the fact that her Daddy is out of town. Or maybe it's just that she's a toddler and she was done and at that moment screaming was the only way she could remember effectively communicating her displeasure.

In the end, she recovered enough to pour enough yogurt and miso soup on her that I removed her shirt altogether and brought her home in her snapped-up denim jacket. Needless to say, she was not wearing a bib.


At 22.8.06, Blogger Alcuin Bramerton said...

Sounds like it was a good thing that Daddy was out of town. Daddy might not have been impressed. I imagine that Daddy is out of town quite a lot.

At 23.8.06, Blogger Roasted Squid said...

I agree that dinner at restaurants with a toddler is a toss of a coin - it can be really, really good or frighteningly bad!!! Sorry about the holier than thou advice you got!


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