The terrible two’s were something that I didn’t really experience before the birth of my 2nd child. My first was docile, almost passive in nearly every interaction with either myself or other children. He was just a sweet kid and still is to this day at 6 years old. On the other hand, my 18 month old daughter has been experiencing tantrums since she was 1 year old. They started out as simple cries. Then they progressed into screams. And now…they are full blown stomping tantrums, fully equipped with flailing, writhing, and banging her head into the ground. There are moments where I just look at her red screaming face and wonder, “What the HELL is going on here?!”
Well today was one of those days. I went to the RMV today to get new license plates for my car and per the usual RMV visit, had to wait at least an hour before i was seen. With the newborn in tow, I brought the stroller for my daughter for an easier commute on foot from the parking garage to the RMV. That first hour of waiting was surprisingly smooth. She sweetly played next to me, watched Curious George on Netflix from my phone without smashing it on the ground, and even had her own dance party. I was beginning to think this was going to be a piece of cake. That is…until my number was called.
My husband was able to join me half way through my wait during a break in his work day, so when my number was called, it was time to put my daughter back in her stroller. From that point, there was ear piercing screaming and growling coming from her that echoed down the sterile halls of the RMV. At one point, an older woman came over and said, “GIRL, I’m a gramma! I get it! She don’t want her water. She don’t want no milk. Pick that child up!” I blankly stared back at her with my newborn in the Ergo carrier as if to say, “Can’t you see my hands are full?” Instead, I politely smiled back and turned my attention back to the attendant to try and finish up my business.
Three minutes later, I can see that the other attendants are getting frustrated. Just as I’m turning to ask my husband to take her down the hall, the same woman screams across the office, “Can’t you give her a nuk-nuk or something? There are people tryin’ to take tests in here! Can you PLEASE take her to the waiting room or somethin’?” Really professional lady. I just side eyed my husband and off my daughter went, wailing as she was wheeled away down the hall. That woman may have been a grandmother, but I’ll tell you what…she wasn’t of any help. No mother is perfect and no strange woman is going to magically understand my daughter and her needs. Aside from that, my daughter is a special breed. She’s feisty. She’s fiery. And most of all…She’s a toddler.
When my daughter tantrums like that, the only thing that I can do is sit nearby and wait it out. I make sure that I’m available for when she comes around and wants to be held. But rest assured, she will not be picked up when she’s violently lashing out. That only reinforces the behavior and makes it worse when she has a full vocabulary. So to the lady skulking at kiosk 16 in the Boston RMV…back off. This mama doesn’t adhere to advice from strangers. And my daughter is way past the “nuk-nuk” stage.