Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tantrums for Everyone

Mommy, Bean and Goobs are all at the YMCA for the Sports Sampler kiddie class. The class is for 3-5 year olds and Bean is by far the youngest and smallest. This is the first class that Bean has been to where Mommy isn't going to participate but is supposed to sit on the bleachers while the children listening to the coach. They have just arrived at the gym and Bean is already clinging to Mommy.

Mommy: "Honey, why don't you go over with the other kids. The lady with the whistle is the coach. You go on over now and listen to her. I will sit right here on the bench."

Bean: (In a very logical and matter of fact voice) "No, that's ok Mommy. I will just sit here with you for a while and watch."

Mommy: (She's not going to force it. She is hoping that he will warm up) "Ok, well, then you just sit here and watch for a little bit. Then you can go over."

Bean watches for about 10 minutes. The children begin an exercise where they run around the gym following a line. Bean think this looks fun.

Bean: "I'm going to go run Mommy."

Bean takes off running. At first, he follows the line that the instructor has told them to, then he diverges and goes in a different direction. The exercise ends, but Bean continues to run on the red line for a while. He is the only child running at this point. It is pretty obvious that he has something going on in his head. He comes running back over to Mommy.

Bean: (Breathing heavily) "I'm all out of gasoline Mommy. I need to fill up."

Bean often plays a game in the house where he runs around in circles pretending to be a car or truck and stops for refueling at the gas station aka: the sink, for a fill up aka: glass of water. She gives him a sip of his water and he goes back over to the other kids. He quickly tells another boy his name then runs to the corner of the gym where all the balls are being held. He is doing all of this while the instructor is giving instructions to the nicely lined up 4 and 5 year olds. Bean is off in the corner doing his own thing. He looks up at Mommy and she indicates for him to come over to her.

Mommy: "Honey, you don't have to participate, but you can't be a distraction. If you aren't going to go over and listen to the coach with the other kids then you need to sit here with me and watch."

Bean begins to talk to Mommy rather loudly. He starts climbing on the bleachers...causing more of a distraction.

Mommy: (Getting a little frustrated. The morning hasn't gone as she has expected and she is noticing that the other mothers on the bleachers are starting to stare, perhaps even judge. She begins to feel pressure to get her three-year-old under control.) "This is your last warning, if you don't sit here with me and quiet down, we are leaving."

Bean does not quiet down. Mommy knows he isn't going to be happy about it, but she made the threat and now she must follow though. The eyes of the entire mothers section are on her. She has to make good and at least pretend like she knows what she is doing.

Mommy: "Ok, we're leaving. That's it."

Bean: (Falls on the floor and begins kicking and screaming.) "Noooooo, I don't want to go. I will listen. I promise I will be gooooooood."

Mommy picks him up off the floor and puts him, still kicking, under her arm and pushes the stroller that Goobs is sitting in out the door with the other hand. This is her first public temper tantrum. Bean has had a few tantrums before, but they have never been public. Mommy happens to be sitting on the end of the bleachers farthest from the door. This means that she has to wheel the stroller and carry her screaming three-year-old past every single other mother that is in that gym. She is absolutely and utterly mortified. They get out into the hallway and Mommy puts Bean down. He manages to collect himself.

Bean: (In his most pleasant and together voice possible, under the circumstances) "Mommy I don't want to leave. Please can we go back in? I want to listen and be good."

Mommy: "You need to listen. You either go over and listen to the coach or you sit with me and watch. Ok?"

Bean: "Ok Mommy. I will be good. I promise."

Mommy agrees and they walk back in the gym, do the walk of shame past the mother gallery, and take their place back on the bleachers. Mommy feels as if ever single eye is on her at this point. Then Bean feels brave enough to try the next exercise.

The children are to run up to a ball, two at a time, and to each try and get the ball. The child that gets the ball is supposed to try and make a goal while the other tries to get it away from them. Bean is up. The coach blows the whistle and Bean and the other child take off. The other kid gets to the ball first. Bean collapses on the floor in a puddle of tears, distraught that the other kid has taken the ball.

Bean: (In complete and utter dispair) "Mommy, he took the ball. He isn't sharing! I'm trying to be good."

Mommy looks at Bean and she feels as if her heart has been ripped from her body and thrown there on the gym floor next to her tragically crumpled mess of a son. Mommy runs over to Bean. She hears another mother from the bleachers say "awww, he doesn't understand" and that puts Mommy over the edge. She picks Bean up and there they stand together. Bean is crying and now so is Mommy.

Mommy: (Still holding Bean and trying to fight back her own tears) "Oh honey, that is the game. You both try and get the ball and put it in the goal."

Mommy is still fighting back tears, but somehow, the more she tries to fight them back, the more they come. She is standing here, directly in front of all the other mothers. Crying. Like a big, fat, 35-year-old baby. She thought her son's tantrum in front of everyone was bad, but she decides that hers is much, much worse. At least Bean has an excuse, he's only three. She knows that if she full on cries then Bean will see her and start up again, and if Bean starts up again so will Goobs, and then they will all be crying, at the YMCA, during Itty Bitty Sports Sampler class, and that is just far more tragic than Mommy ever wants to be.

Mommy: (almost getting it together) "Do you want to go sit back down? "

Bean: "No Mommy.  I'm fine. I want to go play again."

Mommy: (A little surprised how quickly he recovered and wishing she was able to do the same) "Ok, remember, when she blows the whistle, run to the ball and get it and try and kick it into the goal."

Mommy sniffles her way back to the bleachers and takes her seat once again. Bean gets in line and he is up. The coach blows the whistle. The other kid takes off towards the ball. Bean takes off to, but in the opposite direction. He goes towards the balls in the corner, picks up a ball and runs back over with it. He puts the ball down in front of the goal and kicks it into the goal. He figures if the kid won't share, he will just get his own dang ball and make a goal himself. Mommy hears another Mother on the bleachers say "well, at least he is smart" as if he doesn't have anything else going for him.

Mommy stands up and cheers for Bean and for the goal he just made,of which he is very proud. The rest of the parents in the bleachers and the coach cheer for him as well. He looks so small up against the big net and the 5-year-old who was kicking with him.

Bean: (Running over to Mommy) "Mommy, I made a goal."

Mommy: "Oh I saw Bean. Great job! That was a really great kick. "

Bean: "And I let the other boy have the ball and kick first. I was very polite."

Mommy: "Yes, that was very nice of you Bean. Thank you for being so polite."

Bean: "Let's come again Mommy. I like soccer."

Mommy: "Ok, but next time, I'm bringing tissues."


  1. Oh Alli- You sent me through a whole range of emotions with this post- what an emotional day! I'm glad it turned out okay in the end (unlike your eyebrows, which really don't look bad- I had to stare at the picture for a while to see what was wrong with them- you worry too much ;)! XO

  2. Dave and I just finished reading this and laughing out loud. Welcome to my version of piano group! By the way, it sounds like not much has changed for us since Ms. Mary's Music and Movement class....they march to their own drum :)