Today I made all the Mamas and Papas at the park feel so good about their parenting…because my daughter had the meltdown of all meltdowns.
And to all of them I say, “You’re welcome.” Today you received an extra breath, a sigh of relief, or that moment of clarity when you realize maybe your life isn’t so bad.
Of course, neither is mine. But this morning…well, this morning.
In the last few weeks, Norah has become pickier about her food, specifically the way you give it to her. She prefers whole items, not cut up, not “babyfied,” but as she calls them, “Big.”
Big waffle. Big chicken strip. Big broccoli (okay, only sometimes).
Yesterday her granola bar broke in two. Or maybe all of her baby dolls were kidnapped and held for ransom. I don’t know? Who knows? You would not know the difference because she had the same reaction. She was DEVASTATED.
My mom witnessed the granola bar incident, and apparently she saw something similar about 28 years ago or so in her own daughter. I refuse to comment.
Now to the present…
Today we strolled to the splash park/playground, aka the “big park.” We ran, played, met up with the neighbor, and sat down for our packed lunches.
Well, I only made one sandwich. Lots of snacks, mind you, but one sandwich. Miles doesn’t want a sandwich half the time so I took my chance. Wrong day for taking chances.
I knew with that first little rip that Norah was not in the mood for the breaking of bread, figuratively or literally.
At least 30 heads immediately whipped in our direction. The cries were loud and fierce. Nothing worked. Nothing. My neighbor lent a bag of her cheese crackers. We thought that might do the trick until we took a few out for her son. The cries continued and only louder. I left her on a bench to “Get over it.” When I tried to console her a few minutes later, she stomped her foot and threw the bag down.
She had eaten her half of the sandwich earlier despite her tears, somewhat choking the sandwich down when she realized Miles would take what she didn’t. Now, more than ever, she wanted more sandwich, but I didn’t have any.
Over the next 20 minutes, I grabbed her firmly, put in her time out, spoke soft, spoke loud, whispered sweet nothings, tried quiet threats. It didn’t matter. Nothing was working, my audience was growing, and my patience? That was gone yesterday.
“Want some water? Here honey, take a sip.” Yet in another attempt at defiance, the water bottle crashes to the concrete floor.
While she cried it out on the bench, I suddenly spotted gold. There indeed was some peanut butter sandwich left. I knew a “big” slice was preferred, but maybe this quarter piece could hold her over.
But here’s the confession: The “gold” was a leftover chunk of sandwich on the ground from a random toddler we saw eating earlier. I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know whom he belongs to. All I know is there was a piece of peanut butter sandwich that was tossed on the ground up for grabs. I saw it, waited until no one was looking, and tried to give it to Norah, pretending it was ours all along.
Thank the Lord she didn’t take the bait.
Judge me, judge me now. That is absolutely disgusting, I’m well aware. No words. I have no words for myself. I have gone down to a whole new level. What will become of me?
The sobs continued to grow. She is out of control. Honestly, if I hadn’t been so mortified, it could have been entertaining. This was my first experience at a public meltdown, and I thought someone might call DCFS. Maybe that thought was only after I popped her bottom (Yes I did. Some of yall are cheering because you were wondering why I didn’t do it already, while the majority of yall are shaking your heads. Oh well. When my patience left yesterday, so did my “I actually give a —- right now.” Insert with the most appropriate word.
She cried the whole mile and a half walk home. At that point, we were going on 40 minutes of non-stop ugly crying. We went inside and she continued to cry as I made another peanut butter sandwich. I handed it over, she immediately stopped with the tears, and she ate the whole thing in her chair, quite content.
Nap time didn’t come soon enough!
Pictured below: On the bench DURING meltdown. In the high chair AFTER receiving “big” sandwich.