This evening a stranger asked me if I needed help while my toddler screamed trying to run away from me in a busy street in our neighborhood.
We were just leaving a restaurant after a nice day with her grandparents. She was overtired and it was almost passed bed time. The turning point was when I asked her to not jump on the seat in the restaurant.
“Look around. We are all seated. This is not a place to jump. The seat will get dirty and the next person that takes it will not be happy.” I was as calm as I could be but firm.
“No! No!” The screaming started and I decided to take her out and wait for the rest of the family outside.
Things got worse. She cried trying to go back inside, holding on to the door. Her body was stiff and everyone on the street was looking at us.
Some people were making comments that I couldn’t hear because I was focused on keeping her safe on the sidewalk.
“J calm down. Daddy is coming out soon.”
Kid was on the floor screaming like you are about to kill her. Seriously, she looked like she was in panic and wouldn’t let me get closer. This was when the stranger stopped and asked me if I needed help.
I think she meant well, but it really bothered me. It’s hard to deal with meltdowns especially in public. I needed to keep my child safe and help her go through this intense emotional state.
When the stranger asked me if I needed help I was offended and assumed that she was judging me, in that minute she was around I thought I could read her mind: “what is this woman doing with that child?”
Toddler was not recovering, but husband finally came outside and we carried her home as we were just a couple blocks away. She screamed all the way home plus another few minutes inside the house until I was able to distract her by explaining where milk comes from.
“I’m going to drink some milk. Did you know that the milk we drink comes from cows?”
Silence. She stopped crying and looked intrigued. I continued to talk to her, put on her pajamas and gave her the special cow milk.
“I love you. Sleep tight.”
She feel asleep seconds after.
I can’t get over the stranger asking me if I needed help. Is it because I feel insecure about my methods? Is it because I was embarrassed? Did it hurt my ego? I don’t know for sure, but I was upset.
I just wished there was no one around so I could only focus on my child.
What is the best way to handle public meltdowns and temper tantrums? Would you stop and offer help to a mother in that situation?