real life

The toddler tantrum that almost broke me

Our favourite blog from last week's iBlog Friday has been chosen. Cassie Hamer of Mum Plus More. Congratulations Cassie! Your Navman Move 50 is in the mail! Find out more about the Navman here.

Cassie writes about a parenting experience we can all relate to - public tantrums!

I don't even need a millisecond to recall my lowest parenting moment. It happened when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I was taking my 20 month old to Gymbaroo which, a movement and music class for 0 - 5 year olds where the kids spend half the time doing 'free play' on the play equipment, and the other half doing group activities, like singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Except that my 20 month old decided she did not 'do' group time. Not only would she not do it, she decided to scream about it, very hysterically, while thrashing about in my arms.

'If your child's upset, you might want to move to the back of the room,' said the perky teacher in her happy-happy-kiddy voice. I scooped up my bundle of hysteria and hauled it to the back of the room - an act which only served to make her more hysterical. So, we moved outside the classroom door, and my little girl screamed even more loudly. She didn't want to be in, she didn't want to be out. She didn't want her shoes off, she didn't want them on. She was so upset, she didn't know what she wanted.

Eventually, she calmed down enough for us to be able to go back inside the class.
'Don't worry,' said the teacher consolingly, 'we've had worse.'
'Really?' I asked, with some hope.
'Oh, yes,' she nodded. 'We had a little boy who screamed the whole time, for seven weeks straight.'
'And what happened then?'
'He left, and didn't come back,' said the teacher, turning on her perky heels to help a child bouncing happily on the trampoline.
Great. Just great. Inspiring story.


A few minutes later, it was group time again. This time the kids were paired-off for a dancing activity. I could see the parents with dread in their eyes as it came time for my little girl to be paired with another child. No one wanted to be with the 'problem student'. It was disastrous. I danced around valiantly, with the 20 month old on my now-disappeared-hips, while enthusiastically high-fiving another little girl, whose parents seemed less than impressed by my efforts. I'm sure they were thinking 'Why on earth is this woman having another child, when she clearly can't manage the one she's got!'. I didn't have the heart to mention that I also had a four year old.

In the car on the way home, I cried, ashamed of my inability to either console or control my little girl. And as the seat belt cut into my bulging stomach, I shuddered at the idea that we were bringing a newborn baby into the mix.

So - what did we do? Well, we went back, of course. I'd paid for ten lessons, and we were only up to number three. My inner scrooge couldn't cope with the financial loss of giving up. Surprisingly, my toddler improved. Around week six, she started to join-in with group time. It was small steps. The teacher encouraging in a slightly manic way; if my girl so much as farted in time with the rest of the kids, she received major congratulations. 'Well DONE!' the teacher would bellow. One day, my toddler did so well that she was given a special t-shirt, emblazoned with the slogan 'I LOVE Gymbaroo!' Her first ironic t-shirt. Whenever she wears it, I smile (I can now - it took a while) and think back to that awful day.


What's been your lowest moment in parenting?

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