Day 18 SOLSC: Parenthood

Jackson squirmed and kicked and screamed as I buckled him into his carseat.

“Too tight! Fix it!” he protested.

I kept remembering an article I had recently read about tantrums. Stay calm. Let it pass. Stay with him. Be gentle, but firm. I continued buckling him in.

My seven-year-old daughter, Lily, thank goodness, was busy jotting in her notebook for the entire car ride to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. She hardly seemed to notice her brother’s fit.

Jackson screamed for the ENTIRE hour-long ride. He screamed about the buckles, about his boots, about snacks, about everything.

As we pulled into my brother’s driveway, I began to wonder how in the world this was going to go. Would I send Lily into the birthday party and stay out in the car with Jackson? Would he calm down if we walked around outside for a while? Should I just bring him inside?

So this is what happened:

My brother happened to be out in his driveway moving his car to make more room for parking, so Lily walked in with him while I wrangled Jackson out of the car. I carried Jackson into the house, kicking and screaming the entire way, hoping upon hope he would cheer up once we were inside.

Nope. When we walked into my niece’s birthday party, Jackson unleashed his loudest, most angry shrieks. He was unrelenting.

Within about two minutes I knew we couldn’t stay. After apologizing to everybody, and staying just long enough for my niece to open her present from us, Jackson and I got back into the car. My parents would drive Lily home later after the party.

And Jackson cried the whole way home.

Join my coauthors and I at Two Writing Teachers for the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

19 thoughts on “Day 18 SOLSC: Parenthood

  1. those are tough parenting moments. I remember leaving several parties and walking out of Wal-Mart more than once with a screaming child on my shoulder like a sack of potatoes —leaving the buggy because there was just nothing else I could do. The good news? That tantrum-thrower is now a lovely (well, most of the time!) teen with a good head on her shoulders. Holding space for you in this moment, full of understanding. This too shall pass.


  2. I feel your frustration through your words. Those times will pass, but when you are in the middle of them those words don’t help. I hope he tired himself out and took a nice, long nap so that you could too.


  3. That sounds rough! My brother in law used to tell me stories about his sweet little daughter and her nighttime shenanigans. She would be a terror at night, and then the next morning, as he was exhausted for dealing with that all night, she would return back to her angelic state telling her dadd how much she loved him. Your slice reminded me of that. Hang in there. It will pass!


  4. Being a parent is a humbling experience that certainly teaches you to empathize with the mom and the screaming toddler in the grocery cart. Another version of walking in someone else’s moccasins. I could almost hear the Howling from your descriptive writing. This is why red wine was invented!


  5. I know that too well! My son was just like that. He is now 11 and I feel some days are still like that! I think it is the curse… I’m pretty sure I had a child that was just like me.

    I believe the biggest blessing is having bluetooth in the car. I pick some songs out and play them slightly louder than the kids. Not a perfect solution but it keeps me somewhat sane.

    Good luck!


  6. When my kids were little like that I could completely shut the screaming out when we were alone. But once you are around other people all bets are off. It never ceased to amaze me how that screaming demon could be such a cuddle bug most other times. Hang in there. They all grow out of the tantrum stage at some point.


  7. UGH! I can feel your pain, I felt like I was in the car with you. Except, I would blare the music so loud until they stopped crying. This also takes me back to a time when I had to do the same thing. You were strong though and I love that you persevered. Sometimes it’s so easy to just throw our hands up in the air let them…. win.


  8. Those times were never easy with our daughters when that sort of thing happened (they’re both in their mid-twenties now, so it doesn’t happen as often ). It was so hard for me because I wanted to *fix it* as it was happening. Nope. Just ride it out–that’s what I learned. Thank you for a real-life slice!


  9. I’ve done the same with my nieces and nephew when they were little. They learned quickly that I wouldn’t put up with such behavior. But I was lucky, I could give them back to their parents. 😁 I could feel your disappointment in your writing but also your strength.


  10. Some days…ugh. Our children rely on us to be that unwavering line that they try to cross, whether they articulate that with words or not. I hope you found some comfort in knowing that it was not about you…Jackson was just trying to deal…without many tools yet in that toolkit. Sleep tight, tomorrow will be a new day for both of you!


  11. Yep, there are days like those. And you did the right thing. Lily gets to stay and Jackson goes home. The problem is you’re never happier than your unhappiest kid, so it makes a not-so-great day for you, as well. Strong wills serve kids well in later years, but are tough when they’re toddlers.


  12. Little people, big emotions. I’m sorry Jackson (and therefore you) had a rough day. Some days are like that (even in Australia). My daughter Megan just turned 4 and we started a Mommy and Me yoga class. She loved it… but all of the sudden near the end of class she became inexplicably upset and difficult… running away from the group and not listening. So unlike her. The teacher said “Sometimes they’ve just had enough” and I guess that was the case. We left early.


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