If you are or have been a mom to toddlers, you've been here.
The moment where your sweet, angelic 3 year olds inexplicably switch to little devil incarnates.
As loud as possible.
Making you sweat and bringing you to the verge of tears.
Doing everything in your power to calm the tantrum, which just as inexplicably, makes it ten times worse.
And if you haven't been there, in my humble opinion one of the three applies:
1) You birthed freaks of nature because every.toddler.melts.down
2) You are drugging your children with Benadryl
or 3) You stay in your house all day
At any rate,
Today was my day.
It wasn't supposed to be. It was the big "Meet the Teacher" day. I woke up with a huge smile just thinking about it. Why? Cause it means school starts in FIVE DAYS. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus.
We had a lazy morning and all was peachy-keen. We were on schedule, on-time, everyone had breakfast, everyone had snacks. And darn it, I even showered. And put on make up. Including mascara.
Then approximately 10 minutes before departure, all hell broke loose. My son found a backpack we had randomly packed over the summer for one of our weekend trips. Said backpack also contained a wonderful Superman cape. Minus the mask.
Cue: Mommy running around like an idiot trying to find the mask. Gave up, sweating in the ungodly heat of Houston and threw the kids in the car, praying little man would forget about the mask. To put it mildly, he didn't. Screams all the way there. (On an ironic note, his twin sister was absolutely precious the whole way. She seems to thrive when he melts down - very odd.)
Anyway, we finally arrived at Meet the Teacher with my nerves absolutely frayed and admittedly driving... well,...not at my best given the fact that a 3 year olds shrieks could be used as a torture device in any prison.
We met our teacher and children were on their best behavior for 30 minutes. I considered it a miracle and thought we were healed.
Until we left Daddy in the parking lot. And the demons were released again. Same stuff about a mask. And who knows what else.
But I was determined to pick up a special treat lunch for the kids so I phoned into our favorite sandwich place just knowing they would calm down by the time we got there. And I really, really wanted a large diet coke and my special turkey sandwich.
By the time we walked in, one child was good but one was still crying. I shrugged it off, figured one crying child to pick up a to-go order was totally fine. And it was. He cried, I paid. He wanted a cookie, I said "no", more crying. On our way out the door. Almost there.
And then the other child collapsed in again inexplicable hysterics. In the middle of the store. So I'm carrying a already hysterical child, plus aforementioned large diet coke and sandwiches, and I have a toddler sprawled out screaming like the world is coming to an end.
Jesus. Come now. Come now, and hurry.
And then finally Mommy was done.
Tears pricked my eyelids and trickled down my cheek. I tried to brush them away but they only came more quickly, almost taunting me and my inability to cease them from flowing.
Out of nowhere came the kindest people.
Two women around my age immediately came over. One secured my super hero's cape back on that had gotten tangled in the hot mess we were. The other talked to my little girl and got her to a standing position.
And a wonderful worker who I've known since I craved PotBelly throughout my pregnancy, swept over and came to our rescue. She's literally seen the kids since they were in utero, through multiple stroller systems, and now walking on their own acting like they own the joint.
So she took them like her own and instead of shaming me or looking down on my "ill-behaved children", she loved on me. She gave me a hug and said "We've all been here. It is just one day. Tomorrow is a new one."
Her words and comforting embrace blessed me more than she realized.
Same with the other two women who could have easily sat there and either ignored the scene or gossiped about it.
Admittedly, I've been there, done that. B.T.C. of course. Before Toddler Children.
And with the help of those three woman, I got the kids in the car with the sandwiches in tow (along with the LARGE diet coke) and we headed home.
Me still sniffling. Actually all of us still sniffling.
Or screaming. Whatever.
We finally (mercifully) pulled into the driveway and after about 10 minutes, tantrums had ceased.
I had one child who scarfed down a 6" pizza sandwich in about 2.3 seconds and another who put away a PB&J before I could even get her adored cheetos beside it.
Maybe they were hungry? (wink)
At any rate, as horrendous as that experience was, I was reminded of two very important things:
1) Never does a clock tick by as slowly as when your child as screaming. 2 minutes feels like 2 hours. And again, let me remind you - we are talking toddler screaming, not baby. So to me (maybe not to everyone else), it feels like I am being ripped from the inside out. Because when they are "toddler screams", they are personal. There is "MOMMMYYYYYYY, MY MASK. FIND MY MASK. DADDDYYY WHERE ARE YOU?" Pierce.my.heart.
2) There truly are KIND, LOVELY, WONDERFUL people. Who aren't afraid to get involved in a situation and help. Not just click their tongues and go "tsk, tsk, tsk, why can't she handle her kids?" These lovely ladies cared. And they went into action. And I love them for it. And it makes me more aware to do the same when I see it happen to someone else.
Isn't that how it should be? Moms helping moms. People helping people.
Today, in the midst of the chaos, the tears, the tantrums, I remembered something very important.
Something not often talked about in the news.
Most people really do give a damn. How freaking awesome is that?