Duct Tape, Please?


I wonder if it’s just me, or if all parents would transform from calm and relaxed one second to near batshit crazy the next if someone talked smack about their child?

Recently I was at a family birthday party. My 4-year-old was a tad bit excited to be there; he was SO ready to jump out of our car after being cooped in the backseat for a few hours. He was ready to party, and it was going dowwwwnnn. Literally. He was going up and down the stairs both inside and outside, giddy and relentless, looking for fun and adventure, and of course, snacks.

He was running, giggling, jumping, rolling around and well, being a toddler! He was also not going to nap; he laughed at me when I asked him if he was tired and needed to rest.

“Nooooooooo, mommy!” he spouted out with a giggle, before quickly scurrying away.

Traveling always throws off our schedule. Toddlers are going to be a little squirmy and revved up if they have endured a long car ride. No big deal; all parents get through it as best as they can.

Anyway, it was cute seeing his passion and his exuberance; he was genuinely happy to be around his cousins and family.

We definitely had to redirect him a few times to make sure he was keeping his sporadic honey badger tendencies intact. But, overall, he was being a typical toddler.

Yet, a little later that day I overhead someone say in a negative tone that my son was “out of control.”

That individual must have forgotten I was within earshot. Or, if the snarky comment was meant for me to hear, then awesome for that person, because I definitely heard. And it worked, because I was (and kind of still am) ticked.

I suddenly rose from my relaxed spot like a corpse rising from the dead in any of the trillion vampire or zombie movies that are out there. I took a few steps, cocked my head, and stared at the person. I was an agitated cobra, unsure of whether to strike or just hiss under my breath and make my presence known.

It was like I got punched in the gut by a sweet old lady power walking on my same running trail…and I didn’t even see it coming!

I left the room. I vented to my husband. I avoided the person who had diarrhea of the mouth. And I tried to just stay positive and remember that sometimes people are ignorant. I know my son is not an angel, but he is certainly not out of control. I have seen out of control. I thought to myself, “I will show you out of control! I went to Ball State before it turned goody goody! I used to climb cars and yell SUCK IT!”

Ok, so that’s kind of not helping me prove my son is not out of control like his mommy.

Anyway, it was hard to move on from this unnecessary drama because that same person was whispering a little later to another relative about my boy being “crazy” and “out of control.”

All the profanity!

Again, I was perched, ready to strike, but trying to keep the peace because of the nature of the party and the situation. Family can be so amazingly frustrating sometimes, and so beautifully wonderful other times.

First off, don’t WHISPER negative opinions about my son. And most of all, you shouldn’t be talking trash at all, let alone about a four-year-old, and certainly not within my earshot. I gave birth to this child and his bulbous head; I nursed this child for a year; I have changed 99% of this child’s diapers; I have watched him take his first steps; I have taught him “please” and “thank you”; I have kissed all his boo boos; I have been there for him even when he puked all over me and even in my eye (I helped him while squinting and trying not to gag; now that’s true love); I have had the privilege to watch him discover the world EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And, I have understood that he has only been on this planet for a little over four years, whereas all the adults in the room had been on this Earth for decades. So, holy hell, let’s cut the little guy a break, ok?

Unbelievably frustrating.

So, now two different times in the same party I had restrained myself and just kept the inner turmoil brewing inside me like my tummy after eating Taco Bell. The storm inside me was angry that day, my friends. It was angry!

I have witnessed how some people just don’t understand toddlers, whether they never had kids themselves, or whether their kids are all grown up and they forgot about those crazy, sweet, exciting and unpredictable toddler years.

I was doing well and managing up until the gift portion of the party. Then, Oh. My. Gosh.

Ok, so I must note that my son and I had “the talk.” I had explained more than once prior to our trip that it was not his birthday party, so he would not be getting any gifts. I gently reminded him that it was not his turn to open up presents, but that we loved him, and how fun that he would get to eat some birthday cake and watch his cousin open up gifts! YAY! CAKE! YEAH, BABY!

Well, that pep talk went to complete doo doo because as soon as gifts were brought out, my son started asking where his gifts were.

“Awwwww, but I want presents, too, mommyyyyy!” he sadly uttered, his lower lip quivering and his eyes starting to tear up. “Where are MY presents?”

The person who had made the negative comments earlier looked at my boy and sighed. And that’s when I blurted out, “He is only FOUR! He is going to be jealous…that is how most toddlers would be when there are presents involved!”


More Silence.

Then the storm lifted and presents were opened and we sang kumbaya. Ok, no singing, but we survived the gift opening and I had made it somewhat clear that I was done with toddler bashing for one day. Sigh.

Maybe it is just my thinking, but I truly believe that in some capacity, toddlers ARE going to get upset at someone else’s birthday party.

They want gifts, too! Party favors are just not the same as an actual present; they want the whole enchilada! They want Lego City, too! And new character pajamas and DVDs and action figures!

And when they are excited or worked up or upset, they sometimes don’t know how to control those emotions. That is NORMAL. They have only been on the planet a short time; they are learning. Just like we have to learn how to help them and to cope with their behavior. We are all learning. We all perhaps need some more patience.

And some more birthday cake! That always helps, too. Or duct tape.