We interrupt this sugar coated version of summer to tell this story. (It was so bad when it happened I almost broke my non-blogging streak to tell you all, but was too traumatized at the time.)
So if you’ve been reading a while, you all know that Faith is one of those girls that “when she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid”. The girl knows how to throw a tantrum. She is getting better and better as she ages but she definitely will have phases where it gets worse. Mid-June to mid-July was one of those worse times. It was pretty much every day for 30-45 minutes for a few weeks there. Awful.
But this one takes the cake. I can think of only one or two tantrums that even compare (and the girl has thrown, literally, hundreds of them). So this is what happened:
We are in downtown Spokane with sisters in law and cousins. We’ve parked about 2 miles away from Riverfront park so the kids can scooter/walk on the trail. We make it to the park, played for a while and decided to go eat in the food court on the 3rd floor of the mall.
I make the STUPID STUPID mistake of buying 2 (refillable) sodas for 4 kids and, duh!, fights ensue. Faith began to scream really obnoxiously…people are looking. I head over to grab her and she begins to run away from me around a large pole.
Major anger trigger #1: When my kids make me chase them.
Major anger trigger #2: In public.
Major anger trigger #3: When I think people are judging my parenting. Which somebody does…loudly and rudely…while I’m chasing Faith and man walks by and says “Are you just going to let her yell like that?!”
I am now beyond embarrassed and mad. I finally get to Faith and begin to carry her SCREAMING out of the mall. It is an open center and all 3 floors of the mall can see and hear us as we ride down the escalator. (I tell Heather to bring my kids to the car whenever they got done as I am scooping her up.)
At this point in the summer, Faith has her broken arm but no hard cast, just a huge splint wrapped in brown bandage. In order to carry her anywhere, I have to manuever around this huge thing on her arm…all while she’s screaming, “You’re hurting me! You’re choking me!” Plus I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do, since the car is a 30 minute walk from the mall. It’s awful.
We get outside to the wagon we’d brought and I say “Do you want to ride or do you want me to keeping carrying you like this?” She chooses to ride. I know she’s going to change her mind and try to get out, so I begin walking as fast as I possibly can to deter this. The route back to our car takes us by, easily, 5 outdoor restaurants and it’s dinnertime. She is yelling “I want to get out!” at the top of her lungs and I’m doing my best to ignore and book it to the car.
And then I here a huge bump-thump-bump. I know she’s jumped out. With her broken arm. I front of the whole Olive Garden patio crowd. What I don’t know is that she looks like this:
Yeah. She’d somehow stripped herself completely naked. She is (listen closely) laying on the ground stark naked screaming bloody murder with an arm in a soft splinted cast wrapped in ace bandage. Do you understand how horribly embarrassing this is???
I try to put her clothes back on but between the fighting and the cement and the broken arm, it’s impossible. I toss her back inside and tell myself “I don’t care, I’ll never see these people” again. After about 2 blocks, I decide “YES I DO CARE!!” and wrestle her to the ground and am able to get her into one layer of clothes.
As we walk the 30 minutes back to the car, her screaming turns to yelling a repeated phrase that goes like this “I’ve ruined my life! I’ve ruined my precious life!” Over and over. For 2 miles. Past probably 150 people. So awesome.
We made it to the car. Everyone else got treats and went on rides while she waited in the car with me (I blasted super soothing classical music so I could calm down). She had to choose a toy to “sell” because I’d had to miss my dinner and waste our money dealing with her, so she had some consequences.
The tantrums continued (not that bad) for about another week, but I started super cracking down and doing immediate, consistent consequences and she moved out of the phase (like she always does).
My sister in law who was visiting was amazed at how calm I seemed as I handled her. She told me that night that she was impressed. When she said it, I began to cry and I said “Brooke, it’s because I’ve done that (taken her out, screaming, from a public place with tons of people watching) at least 100 times. I do it ALL. THE. TIME. I hate it that I’m good at it. I hate that I’ve done it that many times, because it’s always embarrassing and always stressful and it always sucks.”
Anyway. It was a bad day. It’s not fun to have this issue with Faith. It’s getting better and I’m learning a lot and I love her tons no matter what. I just felt it needed to be part of family lore:
Faith, screaming “I’ve ruined my life! I’ve ruined my precious life!”, naked, on the ground, with a broken arm in front of a bunch of people out for a nice quiet dinner.