Help! I'm Living With a 3 Year Old!

I love babies.  I think they are adorable.  I love their little coos- I love their dimpled fingers and tiny little toes.  But more than their itty-bitty-ness, I think I love that they stay where you put them (at least they can't climb stairs) and they can't say no.  They can scream and cry to their little heart's content. But they cry initially because they are hungry, or soiled, or tired...not because they didn't get to sit in the shopping cart or you turned a TV show off.

For the longest time I saw moms in the store dragging children with impressive diaphragm muscles and lung capacity as they screamed and cried because they wanted something.  I somehow thought to myself that kids these days are just so entitled- that with a little tweak of the parenting, an extra time out here or there, or a little positive redirection and patience- our stores would be full of happily compliant kids.

But to all the mothers or children out there that I ever had the gall to judge, I. am. so. sorry.

It must strike at different times and ages for different kids, but my three year old has suddenly hit this phase where she not only gets upset at not getting her way, she is somewhat defiant.  Before, when I would tell her she couldn't have something I'd be met with a stream of tears and complaints.  Now, in addition to these, she peppers in several adamant "NO"s- and a few "BUT I WANT THAT"s!!!  And the hardest for me to deal with are her negative reactions to things that she cannot possibly, conceivably, any-way-I-spin-it, do.   Case-in-point, in the middle of a particularly stressful car ride home, I tried to cheer her up by telling her that we were going to a pancake breakfast the next morning.  Maybe it is just a difficulty kids have in understanding time, but she assumed that we were immediately going to the breakfast.  At 6pm when it was already dark.  I explained to her that, no, we would be going in the morning.  If we tried to go now there would be no people much less pancakes.  There was no pancake breakfast right now.  All hell broke loose... "But I WAAANT pancakes, I WAAANT to go now!!!!!!!"  Let's just say that was not a very patient moment for me.

I also have a hard time in the stores now because I have two young kids, and most stores only have seats for one.  This creates a huge deal, especially now that both my kids want to be doing what the other is doing.  Yesterday Luke started out in the cart and Charlotte threw a fit, until she got inside and realized that she was able to play with the toys while I browsed . Then Luke got in a tizzy and had to get down.  They played nicely for a bit and the next thing you know Luke was weaving in and out of aisles full speed, I was chasing him like a madwoman, store employees were trying to help me blockade him, and Charlotte was blissfully unaware reading to herself in a toy aisle.  I told him not to run and threatened time out- put him down- he took two slow deliberate steps and ran off again.  But once I got him back in the cart, which I assume is much like tackling and restraining a wildebeest, I began the fiasco of getting Charlotte out of the store.  First she wanted to lead me around the aisles, which was fine by me at first because I was not quite done looking at things.  But then follow the leader got to her head and she practically bolted out the front door- maybe would have been if a kind stranger hadn't told her not to go out the doors and to listen to her mommy.  Then after we finally paid, in the home stretch, she points to some candy at the counter and asked if I would ask the sale's lady if she could have some.  I said, "no", which of course was easier than trying to explain that the candy wasn't hers to give, and we weren't going to buy it.  Then she didn't want to budge out of the aisle at all, I said she could have a chocolate when we got to the car if she wanted (which may have been bad on my part).  That got her to the car and by the time I gave her the chocolate she didn't even like it because it had caramel in it.  Good grief.

So I ask you- mothers, fathers, grandparents and relatives of children- what do you do?  Seriously, short of not leaving the house or literally tethering the children to you...how do you handle shopping with kids, and public/ private tantrums??  Because this mom could use some advice.    

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