Today, we had our first in-public tantrum. In the burrito-store, tired and hungry, Sophie decided that I had inadequately unwrapped her bean-and-cheese burrito. She screamed so hard and so long — even after trips outside to calm down, even despite attempts at reason, hugging, and simply advising her to do it herself — that finally, an old man from a neighboring table came over to our table. “It’s okay, honey,” he said gently. “Just pick up your burrito. Just pick up your burrito. Just pick up your burrito and take a bite. That’s it. Just pick up your burrito.”
I was mortified and grateful. I’m wondering if we can make that a slogan in our household, now: “Just pick up your burrito.”
My friends all advise me that the terrible twos actually last from age two-and-a-half till three-and-a-half. Our kids keep changing every six months, they say, in six months cycles of easy, then hard. So I only have five more months to go of these terrible-twos that are really terrible-threes.
That burrito-tantrum was the low-point of the day, but then again, there were so many high-points. At playgroup, Sophie led the older girls, running across a field, chasing a giant ball while screaming “poo-poo” and giggling raucously. At home, Sophie was struggling to understand a baby-photo of me eating a popsicle, so I got out our long-neglected freeze-juice-int0-popsicles thing, and she was so amazingly impressed with her first posspickles. Really, any public tantrum is easily outweighed with the delight of watching Sophie eat a popsicle.
After nap (which happened in the stroller, because she wouldn’t stay in bed), she woke up groggy, screaming whenever I came near. So she went into my bedroom alone and quietly made a nest out of blankets, while I graded another ten pages of a master’s thesis, both of us happy at the other’s growing independence, until she was ready to eat another popsicle. The good keeps balancing out the bad. But, sheesh, so much screaming crying happens every day that I have to keep reminding myself of that, and remember to enjoy the popsicles.