At EldestGirl’s gym class this week, one of her classmates had the world’s most epic tantrum. I didn’t see what sparked it, but it was a full-on, out of control, screaming, legs thrashing, hysterical meltdown. Her mother, with a newborn in her Maxi-Cosi, looked like she’d seen it all before, and after trying (and failing) a time-out, eventually tucked one child under each arm and marched them both back to the car. None of us judged. We have all been there, although we were lucky that EldestGirl saved her very worst tantrums for when we were safely back at home. (The flip side of not tantrumming in public is that nobody would believe us that she had dreadful tantrums, as nobody other than us ever saw them.)
EldestGirl is one of the – if not the very – eldest in her gym class as she’s old for her school year; anyone much older than her wouldn’t attend as they would be in full-time education. So whilst I was sympathetic to the mother of the tantrumming child, a tiny bit of me thought, “Thank fuck those days are over with EldestGirl.”
That, my friends, was karma getting ready to pounce.
Last night EldestGirl came home from nursery chipper and tickety boo. “What did you have for lunch?” I asked, pleasantly.
“Daddy will tell you,” she said.
“She had roast pork,” said TheBloke (TM). What a cunt. He should have known what would happen next.
“NOOOOOO!” screamed EldestGirl for absolutely no reason at all. “THAT WASN’T IT, IT WAS ROAST DINNERRRRRR,” she wailed.
“Oh, OK,” I said. “That sounds nice. You like roast dinner.”
It was too late. For seemingly no reason at all, for the next 67 minutes we were treated to a tantrum of the absolute highest order. She couldn’t stop crying. She admitted she didn’t know why she was crying. Yes, she had had a nice day at nursery. No, nobody told her off. Yes, somebody had played with her. Yes, she would like some pear please. All whilst crying, sobbing and shaking. We tried cuddles. They didn’t work. We tried telling her to stop it. It didn’t work. We tried bribing her. That didn’t work either.
She didn’t want it to be bathtime. (It was anyway.) She didn’t want it to be hair wash time. (I washed her hair anyway.) She hated it even more when I laughed. (I couldn’t help it.)
“Mummeeeee,” she wailed.
“Yes?” I asked, getting her out of the bath.
“Mummeeeeeeee,” she wailed again.
“Yes, darling?” I asked, drying her off and putting her in her pyjamas.
“Mummeeeeee,” she wailed some more.
The hairdryer drowned out her wailing for a while.
“Mummy,” she said again.
I turned the hairdryer off. “Yes, sweetie?”
“When I have my 5th birthday, can I have a Trolls cake please?”
It was over. Just like that, like someone had turned a tap off. “Are you OK now?” I asked.
EldestGirl looked at me, confused as if I was bringing up something that had happened at least a month ago. “Yes,” she said. “I want all of the Trolls figurines on the cake and Guy Diamond in the middle.”
EldestGirl may be coming to the end of her tantrumming career; YoungestGirl is just warming up. Speaking of which, duty calls! (She’s furious because I won’t let her wear the USB cable as a scarf.)