My three oldest children spent an extended weekend out of town with their aunt. This allowed me and my four-year-old to spend some one-on-one time together. I am ashamed to say that besides sick days, this was the first time Cove and I had spent quality time together, alone. It was much needed.
On Saturday, we ended up at the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. After spending roughly five hours checking out the cars on display and the ones lined up for the Mecum car auction, we ended the day on the ferris wheel. After a couple of times around, seeing the track set up by the river, it was our turn to get off the ride. When it came time to exit our gondola, Cove required assistance getting off, despite his demand that he, “Could do it all by himself…”
That is when it happened. That is when the two nights of late bedtime, no naps, exhausted temper tantrum erupted.
He threw himself down on the platform, where others were trying to load onto the ferris wheel. I managed to get him down, off the structure and to the ground, but nothing seemed to help.
When this occurs at home, I try talking to him briefly, then walk away and he’s over it…easy peasy. Have you ever tried walking away from a screaming four-year-old in public? I’ll save you the trouble; it doesn’t go well. The looks you get from all bystanders is enough to make you want to crawl into a hole and not return until your temper-tantrum throwing four-year-old turns 11, and even then, it’s questionable. So I tried my best to console him and explain why he needed help. It was also time to leave, so I was attempting to carry him while he pitched his fit. He threw his hat, which prompted those around me to helpfully pick it up. He then kept throwing it because he wanted to pick it up. It was a lose-lose situation. He was heavy. The walk was long. He was loud as he screamed and cried. Truth be told, if this were seven years ago and had this been my first born, I would have already broken down in tears myself. I would have not known how to proceed. But this wasn’t my first born, this wasn’t our first temper tantrum and it likely won’t be our last.
So how did I keep my cool while handling a hot-tempered four-year-old? I started with deep breaths, remembering he is only four, reminding myself he is running on minimal sleep with little tired legs and I am a mom who is attempting to break generational curses. Truthfully, I was impressed this was our first meltdown of the day! I remind myself — as I was attempting to carry a wailing child — that this is temporary and the meltdown won’t last.