Childrearing

Baby Blues: I Am So Not Equipped To Handle My Daughter’s Tantrums

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little girl tantrum princess dressBaby Blues is a column about raising my daughter in the windstorm of postpartum depression. Though discussing the dark spots of postpartum depression, I also share my successes.

I’m pressed for time, and my daughter and I are at the grocery store to pick up a couple things. She’s at that age where she still wants to be held and coddled, but she also wants her freedom — and rarely does she want either of these things at times that’s convenient for me. I’m rushing, toting her on my hip with a shopping basket in my hand and she gestures that she wants down.

Fine, I won’t fight it this time.

“Okay, walk next to me, honey,” I tell her, and she obeys. We approach the snack aisle of the health foods section and I pick out something I know she’ll like. Meanwhile, she grabs something else off the bottom shelf and continues walking in the other direction. “No, honey,” I say, picking her back up and taking the box (it was cookies, of course) from her hand.

Bloody effing murder. Her screaming triggered more than a few turned heads in our direction. As I whisked her away from the snack aisle, I held the box of cookies and even put it in our basket, thinking if I could trick her into believing we were buying them she’d be okay. Nope, not okay. Amid the screaming (which is now directly in my ear, because I’m holding her) I put the cookies back on the shelf and decided to just get out of there as quickly as possible.

Something similar happened in Target. She was trotting alongside me, getting all sorts of adoration from an employee near the checkout lines. But when it was time to check out and I told her to follow me, she stopped in her tracks and screamed at the top of her lungs. The employee’s face fell, “I didn’t scare her, did I?”

“Oh, god, no,” I said, scooping up my ball of wailing offspring. “She does this randomly, everywhere.”

I knew this was coming. Every new mother knows. They say the terrible twos actually start around 18 months and don’t end until…when do they end? Ever? But sometimes I feel like my PPD leaves me really ill-equipped to manage these tantrums. It’s not so much that I “lose it” or fear I might hurt her. In fact, it’s more of the opposite. I don’t know if I’ve become desensitized to her cry because I’ve heard it so damn much, but my instinct is to do nothing.

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