Analysis of a Public Tantrum…

Picture it: I’m at my sons’ school this morning selling raffle tickets and wrist bands for the upcoming school carnival. My 4 year old daughter is with me. It’s her first time tagging along with me on a volunteering day….why? because I assume she can handle it, and might even enjoy being at school with her big brothers. The buses are arriving, kids are flocking to my table, THOUSANDS of them,* crowding around, impatiently holding out dollar bills, demanding service.

My darling daughter decides right now is the perfect time to have a tantrum. A screaming, crying, snot dripping, feet stomping, collapse in your chair tantrum. She wants 3 wristbands, she wants 8 wristbands, she wants a Kleenex, she wants a snack, she wants her grandma, she wants to play on her tablet but it’s only half charged.

I’m helpless. I have to attend to the thousands* of kids swarming around the table. I’m forced to ignore the tantruming child who’s crumpled up in her chair with her bare butt crack hanging out of her jeans. If I ignore her for a few minutes she’ll stop…right? Wrong. My whispered threats of “They’re going to ask you to leave.” and “You’re going to have to go to the principal’s office.” are doing nothing to curb the tension.

Now we’re 15 minutes into sales and she’s STILL going. Teachers are walking by giving me that “Hang In There Mama” look. My son’s teacher from last year walks by and hears the “I want a Kleenex!”  shriek, only to return a minute later with a handful of Kleenex. (Bless her heart!) STILL the tantrum continues.

All of a sudden the National Anthem begins playing over the loudspeaker. Every person in sight stops what they’re doing immediately and puts their hand on their heart. It’s absolutely quiet…except for my adorable daughter, who’s muttering things like “I HATE this song.” “This is a stupid song.” “I want three wristbands!” I can feel the heat of tens of thousands* of eyes glaring at us. Will this song EVER end? After what seems like an hour, it does. Back to business.

Finally the crowd of kids is dying down. But the tantrum continues. The wonderfully patient mom working next to me has been reassuring me for 25 minutes that it’s okay and she totally understands. (Bless her heart too!) We clean up and make our way into the front office to count money. My daughter is finally done crying and carrying on. But she’s still not happy. And she’s still asking for 5,392* random things. At this point she’s emptying out my purse announcing every item she finds as she does it, including hand sanitizer, a notebook with a pen that won’t work, and  a crushed up candy cane. I stop her before she gets to my little pouch of tampons…now THAT would just be embarrassing 

The three other moms I’m working with are so sweet and understanding. They are consoling me with stories of their own kids’ public tantrums. Normally I hate hearing other moms trying to one-up each other. But this is one very positive exception to that rule. (Bless their hearts!) We’ll be back at it tomorrow IF they even allow us back in the building. Wish me luck…I’m going to need it.

*some numbers in this blog post have been exaggerated for dramatic effect


  1. Kids are the worst. My oldest niece threw the biggest freaking fit in Walmart when she was about 3, and I had to carry her kicking and shrieking out of the building. Meanwhile, all the adults glared at me. I swear to God, they’re all so lucky they didn’t come near me to make a snotty comment. I’d have punched someone. Can’t punch a kid, obviously. But I may have taken a swing at an obnoxious adult!

    Good luck tomorrow!

    • I’m glad you didn’t punch your niece…or any other Walmart shoppers that day. But I can understand wanting to. Tomorrow I’ll bring my own rock, so I can crawl under it if I need to. Thanks for the luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. It’s like they can tell when you want them to be on their best behavior, and do the opposite. Also, we have a butt crack situation with my daughter no matter what I dress her in (except dresses). What is that about?!

    • The dang butt crack! It’s because jeans aren’t as high cut as they used to be…I’ve thought this through. I should have her wear a dress when we go back tomorrow. Just in case.

  3. They always have impeccable timing don’t they? It’s like they KNOW you need them to behave…they can just sense it!

    • Impeccable! I’ve been pep-talking her all night about when we go back tomorrow. (I’ve also already packed $3 so she can get 3 wristbands. That should do the trick, right?)

  4. The 3’s may have been exaggerated for effect but it feels exactly that way at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing. I was your neighbor at the SITS!

  5. visiting from SITS Sharefest. this is hilarious. i’m nervously awaiting the day when my 16 month old does the same.

  6. They smell weakness…
    They know when you just don’t have the time, or the energy. or when it’s completely embarrassing.
    It’s a gift.

    • Bees, dogs, and little kids…they all smell weakness. Some gift. (Just checked out your sight…LOVE IT! I’m now a fan on FB.) Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Amazing the timing they have. LOL Visiting from SITS!

  8. Oh, I’ve been there. Many times. My daughter is 6 and is…well…vocal. Has been since she was born. Her tantrums now consist of her screaming “YOU ARE MEAN! MEAN MEAN MEAN!” It’s super fun. (Not.)

    • Well, are you….mean? Just kidding. My 9 year old son’s latest is, “You’re ruining my LIFE!” Sometimes I can only just shake my head.

  9. Hilarious! I’ve been there too! I wish I had videotaped some of the epic tantrums so we could show it to them later…now wouldn’t that be funny?!

  10. So glad you had some supportive people around you at the time!

  11. We had one of those yesterday at the breakfast table. My transgression? I put his cereal in the wrong bowl. Stupid me used the same one he asks for EVERY OTHER FREAKING DAY!! How was I to know that this one special day was the exception ???

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