I should have known it was a bad idea when The Boy jerked upright and practically threw himself out of the umbrella stroller the second we hit the children's section. But up until that point, our mall expedition for new shoes had been a great success. A little fussing when the shoe salesman measured his foot -- and really, who can blame the kid? those feet measuring things look dangerous -- gave way to babbling over his fancy new Stride Rites. He went through several stores just people watching and shoe grabbing, and I thought a quick trip into Borders to find a Sandra Boynton book for him would be the perfect end to a good trip. Wrong.
Looking back, my first mistake was taking him out of the stroller. But I didn't want him to fall out of it on his head, and I honestly thought The Boy would be happy if he could walk around and if he had a book -- my planner -- of his own to carry and look at. He threw the planner in my general direction and grabbed "Osbert in Love" from the shelves. Apparently he likes penguins. When I wrestled that from him, he wailed and arched backward, making it difficult to shove him in the stroller. But shove I did, and still determined to finish my shopping, I handed him the planner again. The Boy threw it again and yelled.
And, at that point, with my child still wailing and oblivious to my orders to calm down, I decided we were done. I pushed the stroller as fast as I could out the door, thanking god Borders had an exit to the parking lot and cursing the cheap stroller wheels that kept getting stuck and impeding my progress. At one point, as I kicked the stroller and hissed at The Boy to be quiet, I caught an obviously childless girl -- younger than me and carrying a couple chicklit books -- give me the hairy eyeball. She, without a doubt, believed I was raising a brat.
If I'd been at the grocery story or some place I really NEEDED to get something, I would have stayed and The Boy would either have continued to annoy everyone in the place or he would have gotten over it. But this is the first public temper tantrum he's ever had and I didn't need to buy a book. Feeling all twitchy and anxious, I chose to flee. I'm curious, how do you handle public meltdowns?