Friday, June 25, 2010

Tantrums at the Pool

I have an awful memory from the summer of 2007 that haunts me to this day. Sunni, Janelle and I had been with Ava, Ella and Jackson at an amazing neighborhood pool. It was seriously like a resort. They were somewhere between 16 and 18 months old. Jackson loved the water and played so hard. Eventually he started to melt down and by the time I could get all our junk together to leave, he had lost it. It was nearly impossible trying to manage the pool bag, a loud and thrashing toddler who was very strong, and the dumb float that he never liked. The car was a long way off and I'd regrettably not used the stroller. I hope you're able to picture this.

Right outside the pool gate, I accidentally dropped the float on the sidewalk. I was already ticked about having to leave and embarrassed about the spectacle that we were, and at that moment I completely lost all sense. I've blocked out what I may or may not have said-slash-growled, but I definitely remember kicking the float as hard as I could. I looked up and realized another lady and her family had seen the whole thing. Luckily, the mom was older and she gave me a look of compassion instead of judgment. She said, "That's so hard. It just never ends well."

Ugh! I hate remembering that. I can't believe I lost it like that in public. I'm not sure my description sounds as dramatic as it actually was - at least to me. On the inside I felt totally out of control.

Annabeth was the epitome of a "good baby." She slept well, she sat in my lap when I wanted her to, she was easygoing and peaceful. My friends would marvel at this. And since she's my second, I knew it had nothing to do with amazing mothering skillz, a special genetic gifting, or anything besides a gift from God in the form of a mild temperament. All glory and honor and praise be His forevermore. Amen.

Three years have passed and now my precious little girl is the same age Jackson was when I made a donkey of myself at Sunni's pool. Annabeth is still a good and sweet little thing, but she gets spicier by the day. Only now I can laugh at it a little and it's easier to let it roll off my back. It wasn't very funny when it was Jackson because I didn't know it would end. People would tell me that but I didn't believe them. I think, too, that I've gotten used to humiliating and uncontrollable situations.

This morning we met up with several of my best friends from college - Maggie, Missy and Mel - and their little ones. I'm the only one who still lives here in Houston, so it was very unusual and exciting to get to do this. It happened once last summer when three of us had new infants to be introduced. Today we met in a home and tried to catch up with each other while the kids played. Jackson was the oldest, then Brynne at age 3.5, then Lucy and Annabeth who were born 9 days apart, then Nate who is 12 months, and finally sweet Maddy who was born on Jackson's birthday this year.

After a little playing, we got geared up to go to the pool. It took a lot of effort to get everyone dressed, sun-screened, and packed up. We finally got there and before we could step foot in the water, it was adult swim. During that time Annabeth had one of the biggest meltdowns she's ever had in public. There was literally nothing I could do to stop it. NOTHING. And I really wanted to hang out with my friends. And I really wanted to let my little guy swim. Bless his heart.

We made it long enough to immerse ourselves in the big pool for 30 seconds before I realized it was a lost cause. I told Jackson we were going to get a Happy Meal to try to ease the pain of it, and we made our way out. I was not happy. It was not fun. I was very disappointed, frustrated, and embarrassed. I definitely had to take some deep breaths. But I did not freak out!

I set my eyes on a Sonic and pointed my car that way. A Dr. Pepper with little round ice pellets (and I'm not gonna lie - a cheeseburger) would make me feel better. Do you know what helped even more than that? Remembering the donkey-pool incident of 2007. Similar circumstances - harder really - and a different outcome? Maybe, just maybe, I have grown as a person! As a mother! Praise the Lord!

Now that I've written those words, I need to give a disclaimer about how much I struggle every minute of every day as a mother. This is the hardest job in the world and I constantly wonder why God thought I was cut out for this.

This is Missy's son, Nate, after he was suitably sun-screened.



I could not resist getting a picture of his Coppertone Hair.



This is Little Miss Tantrum herself.



Mel's daughter, Brynne, and Jackson.



Maggie's sweetie, Lucy, and Jacks.



Me and the kids, Mel and Brynne (Maddy was asleep), Maggie and Lucy, Missy and Nate.



Annabeth fell asleep about 5 minutes into our 30 minute drive home. Once she was in her bed, Jackson and I went outside to play with the water hose. I had my Sonic Dr. Pepper and it was all good.















When we left the pool we were all soaking wet and in our bathing suits. Annabeth just woke up and all I can say is that swim diapers are not nap-friendly.

Happy Friday, y'all!

53 comments:

Lauren Kelly said...

Motherhood is all about taking the good, with the not-so-good, huh?? I’m glad Jackson’s day was redeemed by the water hose and yours by the sonic drink… And as for Annabeth, hopefully that nap was a God sent!! :)

Karla and Edmond Long said...

Thank you for being so real with your posts. It makes me feel like a much more "normal" mom. Like you, I sometimes wonder why the Lord thought I could do this and then I realize that I have to let Him do it through me. It is a constant struggle though because I always try to do it myself!! Thanks again!

Erin said...

My daugher is 7 1/2 months old, and I know that these times are just ahead of me. She is a great infant...I know my times are head of me, though!

janjanmom said...

Thank you for sharing what was not a fun mommy moment.

My youngest is nine, middle one 13, my oldest 14 and all three are girls. I wish I could tell you parenting gets easier...instead I will comfort you with, it gets less physically exhausting and believe or not, you fall even more in love with them as they grow up.

I love your blog because you are so transparent, honest with thoughts and feelings in a world where so many are not.

Tara said...

me. 19 month old. totally understand!

Kim said...

How timely. My children are adults now and for whatever reason all the way home from work today I was replaying in my mind all the terrible "donkey" moments as you called them that I had committed. Wondering if they would ever forgive me and if God was keeping score. I know the answers to both of those, but somehow today after 22 years I was still feeling it. Ugh!

Even worse, I wondered how different things might have been if I had been living for God during that time. You know - a really good, godly mother, because somehow I allowed the enemy to convince me that they never mess up and their children are perfect. Oh my gosh I cannot believe I let those thoughts hang out in my mind.

Sorry about the tantrums, but so thankful for your post and honesty.

Blessings to you
Kim

Chauncey said...

Thank you SO much for your honesty about being a mother! I, too, feel like I'm not cut out for this mothering thing either, but God always provides in those situations when I feel like I'm going to lose any ounce of sanity I have left. In fact, I just had a few moments of my own with my two year old daughter today at the mall. Those tantrums are not easy to deal with, but I do know "this shall pass" so I cling to that with all my heart. Love your blog - keep up the encouragement! Blessings. ;)

Sunni said...

I totally needed this post.. I blew it big time today! My daughter, who is 3 ,has been in Ballet Camp and today was their end of camp recital. She's super active and today she was just over the top. While they were performing, she ran laps, much to her dance teachers dismay. I was so ugly to my daughter and my husband afterwards... and I'm very embarrassed now.

I am so thankful for grace and growth! Thanks for posting!

Kim ~ Kay Kay said...

Looks like he had a blast after all! So sorry for your visit cut short with your dear friends.

When our daughter, who turns twelve next month, was 4yrs old, she had a nice tantrum like that right in the middle of Ross. It was her first and only store tantrum, but it was a doosey!!
SO Embarrassing! She is a "spicy" one as well, strongwilled.
But like you've found out with Jackson, it does get better. And you do become a better mother, not to mention a smarter one each time.

As our daughter's relationship with Christ grows it just makes it that much easier as well.

God's sense of humor . . . we pray to have babies and after their here, comes the reality that God ordained. We might think we weren't cut out for it, but I believe it's exactly what He wanted for us.
I love Him and so grateful for our daughter. She's compassionate and sweet along with her spicyness!
Today she just finished a week of being an assistant leader at VBS, instead of an attendee. Boy how time flew by!
I do see how much you LOVE your kids and hubby, so keep marching, its all good!!

Cheri-Beri said...

Oh Amanda!! Our kids are so similar. First one - wild . . . . . second one - calm. My daughter (the calm one) had her first public meltdown in church. CHURCH!!! I just stood there and stared because I was so shocked. My friends just stood there and stared because they were so shocked. If it's any consolation, she only had 2 public meltdowns. The second one involved having to leave a foot massager at Brookstone when she was 4. Not. Pretty.

Lauren said...

Glad to know that the challenges are only for a time or for a certain age. I can't say I've ever kicked a pool toy, but sometimes I'll be maybe too firm with Noah in the front yard and then I'll notice a neighbor walking by.... Ugh!

Yoli said...

Awww, I could totally relate to this post! I'm with you! Mothering is HARD work and sometimes I wonder myself how God ever thought I was good enough to do it!! Thanks again for your honesty and saying what I can't seem to...Love you!

Mommy Nash said...

I think a Sonic DP can make anything better, even the stress of parenting. And I've been there, done that with my 4yr old, and am dreading those days with my 8mos. old. Hope I handle it with more grace and patience the second time around, like yourself.

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

Oh wow. That is so hard when your other children have to suffer the consequences of one child's behavior. I have been there so many times. Thank God he gave my oldest son a patient, go-with-the flow temperament to help me out with that. Taking all three of my kids to the pool is something I rarely do...mostly because it is so much work just to get there (the sunscreen alone takes thirty minutes) :) So glad you were able to make it a fun afternoon anyway.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Right there with you. My two-year-old is currently throwing a fit because I said no to her ice cream demand (at 5:00 PM).

And a-to-the-men about the swim diapers. I left my Natalie in one once and only once. You can't even put them on too early before the swimming time lest they fail to hold water.

The Barfuss Family said...

Hard is an understatement. You are an incredible mommy and I appreciate you being so real. It encouraged me today as I had a not so good mommy moment myself!

Deidre said...

I laughed at the last sentence ... 'swim diapers are not nap friendly'. Ain't it the truth!

I so relate to this post. I look back at how I acted when my oldest (now 8) was a baby and cringe. My youngest (now 4) can do the same things and I don't FREAK OUT. I keep thinking maybe by the 6th or 7th child I may have this thing figured out and then I remember God KNOWS I'm not cut out for that :)

Fran said...

Oh girl...every single one of us momma's totally understand and relate. I still have a rather large embarrassing incident many years ago that I just think..."was that really me?" HA!

The pix are so darling and I'm glad that Jackson had a fun time in the yard.

Happy weekend!
Fran

Alison said...

Love this post!! I can so, so relate! Thanks for being real! And my goodness, I remember those swim diapers...they hold nothing in! ha!

Tiff said...

I'm a lurker who must comment today because it's like God placed you in my life today after two meltdowns at the pool by my two-year-old (a tail-ender who has turned my world upside down in many ways) which resulted in one nasty situation with my 8-year-old who received the brunt of my frustration/embarrassment/stress after listening to wailing for 20 minutes. I hate when I do that.

But kids' gracious and unending forgiveness is amazing. I don't know how many times I've prayed for God to heal and deliver them from the wounds my careless words have created, but He never fails to amaze me at the gifts He's given me in these kids.

I also can think back to similar situations with my 13-year-old when he was a toddler, and like you said, I handled it all that much more poorly then on my first go-round as a mom. Age, and several more children to bring more humility and faith, do wonders. Today when I see other parents staring and smiling as my child bawls her head off and thrashes as I carry her to the van, I assume they're giving looks of sympathetic understanding rather than judgment. Maybe I'm self-deceived, but I'm going with it. :)

Marla Taviano said...

What a bummer. I'm so glad Jackson had fun anyway!

I've had a rough summer as a mom. A couple days ago, I hit a low and just cried out to God to get me out of this dumb pit. SO THANKFUL for His new-morning mercies! And for kiddos who forgive and forget so easily!

Holly said...

I so understand. And you are a GREAT MOM!! Love you and praying for you and your family--asking God to bless your family, Amanda.

Also? I am praying for captives to be set free in St. Louis this weekend--those are my people.

AKat said...

Oh my word, Amanda! Jackson is so big and handsome and grown up! When did that happen?!

This is such a real and raw and perfect recount of a bad-day-turned-wonderful.

Neil is starting to throw tantrums and I need to realize they're not going to be forever. When he's thrashing about on the tiles, I do begin to question it, though. Ha!

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

I so remember those days! Its funny how you suddenly realize I CANNOT do this. I so need supernaturl strength and a cheeseburger, coke or a long bubble bath. I still have alot of moments/days like with my kids!

I say Gal 5:22 to myself. Try it ya, it really works!

Marc and Charity said...

Man, I can relate. Addison is way more "spicier" than my others, I cried on the way home from a store today after getting a look from another mom. Seriously, how am I going to handle that long haul flight with her at this age? And a bad back? Lord help me.

Cheryl said...

Looks like the day ended well.
We do the waterslide too!
We've taken our little plastic baby pool and put it under the end of the slide and our 3 yr. old loves it!!!!

The Johnsons said...

Maybe one day I'll tell you about my nightmare that was me and fifteen month old Liz at my nice Cypress HEB. All I'll say: hundreds of blueberries up and down the fruit/veggie dept. And that was just the beginning. Sigh.

McSwain said...

I'm laughing, but not at you, just at the familiarity of your situation. I had a similar incident at Old Navy today. It was 30% off everything so I had to try. It ended in a screaming mess, but at least for once I was not the one screaming. Blessings to you!

Kelly said...

Oh I love to read your blog. I wish Harper was more like AB but I'm afraid she is more like Jackson. And every day I wonder how I'm going to make it. ha! This is a humbling, difficult wonderful job!

courtney said...

Joseph is clearly going to be my tantrum thrower. I am so looking forward to this...I might be calling you to intercede for me!

Tara G. said...

It's true we've grown wiser with each one and at the same time, I oftentimes feel even more clueless than I did with the first!

Wendy said...

I just shared in a post today about my three year old and meltdowns. My mom always tells me in those hard times, "And this too shall pass." That little phrase along with lots of prayer has helped me through those parenting hard times.

C:M:W said...

oh my goodness- I start sweating so bad when the melt down starts, it looks like I just got out of the shower! And i am now craving a sonic drink @ 11:40 at night- that ice is just so divine.

Tara said...

Oh how normal this makes me feel! THANK YOU for sharing :) I have so many humiliating tantrums in public that I almost vow to never go in public and then we get bored and I need to go to Target. I just have a MAJOR meltdown with both kiddos melting down at Jason's Deli at the prime of lunch. Saddness. Mine are 16 months apart and sometimes I wonder what God was thinking putting me in charge of these two! :) I did just read a book "Out of the Spin Cycle" By Jen Hatmaker and it's devotions to lighten your mother load. BEST mom book I've read. Hilarious and SO true. Check it out! Thanks again for being so REAL! :) And Sonic always makes everything better! :)

Kelli said...

Thank you so sp much for reminding me the tantrums end. Caroline is sooo good, but the meltdowns are still something that I don't gracefully handle!

And thank God for sweet friends who understand, sonic ice, and a sweet boy who looked like he loved every second of backyard play!

Kelli said...

Thank you so sp much for reminding me the tantrums end. Caroline is sooo good, but the meltdowns are still something that I don't gracefully handle!

And thank God for sweet friends who understand, sonic ice, and a sweet boy who looked like he loved every second of backyard play!

Nichole said...

Can I just tell you how much I love reading posts like this? Not because I would wish this on anyone...my heart hurts for all of you not getting to spend the afternoon with your friends! But knowing that I'm not alone in tantrum world makes me feel a little better about how I'm doing as a mom. I try to focus on the good days as much as possible. When you do that you realize there really are (usually) more good than bad, but the bad ones definitely stand out more sometimes! I'm also a whole lot more understanding of those poor moms in the grocery store and restaurants than I was before I had a baby. We're all in this together!

k and c's mom said...

I loved that the understanding mother at the pool had kind words during your hard time. Reminds me to encourage the younger moms when I can.

Heather said...

OH Amanda, I am so sorry that happened, life with little ones can be exciting and disappointing at the same time. I am sorry you had to cut your day short with your friends.
You are such a great mom, your kids are so lucky to have you!! THe pics of Jackson in the backyard are so fun and so good!! Looks like that would be a fun playdate in your backyard, cough cough!!!!:)

trinna said...

Amanda, I just have to say thank you. Thank you for being honest and helping me to know there is another mom who feels like I do! Your post brought me to tears because I so understand the frustrations.

Oh, and swim diapers - not so great!

Kristen said...

I love reading your posts! Two weeks ago I had to leave the pool with my 2 year old daughter in the "football hold." I was so red in the face. Thanks for being real.

Heather said...

That last line literally made me laugh out loud! AMEN to the Sonic Dr. Pepper and I loved hearing about this! We have all had our "pool meltdown" experiences!!! :( You are a fantastic mother!

Sugar Mommy said...

Whenever I have those moments where I start throwing tantrums as big as my kids', I just remember that Mary had some not-so great moments (like when she left 13 year old Jesus behind at the temple...for 3 days!) and she is still one of our best examples of mothering. And I then I realize that the Lord can redeem those moments of frustration and immaturity and help us show our children love while correcting them.

More recently, I've come to understand that my children are not my children...they are HIS children. And I will have to answer to Him about how I spoke to them or acted around Him. Not that I didn't know this before...it's just that He's opened my eyes to how I talk to other people's children, vs how I speak to my own. Even though I love my children with all my heart, I do not always speak with patience and understanding, the way I would with other children. Talk about being humbled!

No. It's not easy. But Yes! We are getting better day by day! PTL!

Emily :) said...

I so feel your pain. I used to think James Dobson made up that whole strong willed child thing. Then, I had my first baby and started hoping he had written a book called "The Strongest Willed Child EVER". I got kicked out of a wedding and a hospital with my firstborn during her toddler years. I'm not even kidding. We had a moment like yours one day at church when I had decided to walk to church and use her stroller. (She didn't do strollers. Or high chairs.) One of my dear mentor Moms who had also had a strong willed firstborn stood by patiently holding the diaper bag while I physically forced my child into the stroller. We all cried.

Anyway, I'm with you. I've had 2 more since then, and my youngest is 2. I am amazed at how differently I handle things. And somedays....I feel like I need 10 more kids to practice on. Surely by the 13th child, I would have it all together, right? :)

Thanks for sharing. It is a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. :)

Ellen Grant said...

You know what else can make it all better? Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato's. AMEN.

Erica said...

Oh, girl...we have all been there.
And there is nothing like a Sonic Dr. Pepper and a little praise to make it better.
Thanks for being real!

Lisa said...

Amanda, you keep it real, and I love that so about you! This brings to mind the time when my middle child was about 2... we were in Target and he wanted yogurt. For some reason, goodness only knows why, I said no. He proceeded to roar down the walls and every pair of eyes east of the Mississippi was fixed on us for what seemed a millennium and a half. To this day (and he is now 6), he says: "Hey Mom, remember that time I threw a tantrum in Target because I wanted yogurt?" Lord have mercy.

emscolaroo said...

Oh, Amanda! Thank you for posting this today. My kids are the same age as yours (only the opposite gender). Motherhood is so hard, so fun, so up, so down, so....everything rolled into one. I rarely comment, but I am often on the same page with you. Thanks again for you openness - even with the not-so-flattering stuff.

Sue Heimer said...

I am so thankful the past does not have to define us! Glad to see you had some special time with your man last week:)

Katie said...

I remember Sarah's first melt down and it was at a pool. What is it with pools. Geesh.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Oh girl. Not only can I picture it, I can FEEL it. . . that panicky, hot, embarrassed rage. I hear you! We have all been there. Some days I live there. Just saying.

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Amanda, you're story is inspiring, it is hard sometimes to juggle everything when kiddles are in the mix. I'm so glad I have one though! I've been told since Makenna was born that she is such a good baby. No colic, smiles all the time, sleeps through the night since about 2 mo. old. Eats well. It's like I'm waiting for some awful phase to come one day (Oh the horror if it's when she's a teen!) or for me to have another one and that child be a handful:)

Blessings,

katiegfromtennessee

FunMom said...

Some days are just rough, huh? But, our response is what matters, in the end. You seem like a great mom...for being honest and transparent with other moms, who can TOTALLY relate...for being realistic regarding whether a situation is best for your kiddos, especially when it doesn't exactly mesh with your plans (I can totally relate to that too!)...and for coming home and playing with your little guy after a somewhat rough afternoon. Good for you. Very inspiring! And, the close-up of Jackson is ADORABLE!!!