One. Hour. Straight. 60 minutes of all-hell’s-broke-loose, demon-like, possessed screaming. That’s how long it took my two-year-old to finally give in to the fact that she wasn’t going to the park with no pants on. She writhed in my arms in her pink leotard, veins bulging, blonde ringlets soaked with sweat, and neck bloodied from where she’d scratched herself. This was the mother of all meltdowns.
And while I may look back someday and laugh, right now my heart is broken. My spirit is broken. No amount of soothing, diversions or reasoning could calm her down. She threw toys and clothes from her bedroom, and ran back down the stairs each time after I put her in her room for timeout. I stuck to the Super Nanny routine, and persistently, calmly put her back time and time again. Meanwhile, my 11-month-old was strapped in her high chair eating Cheerios, and was beginning to lose patience (luckily, she’s a very calm baby).
We even tried a dose of reality, and I let her walk around the house with me in her pale pink tutu one-piece and ballet slippers. The dew from the grass covered her legs, and the wind whipped her bare skin. By the time we rounded the corner, she was shivering, and I was certain she would see the folly of her ways and finally agree to put pants on. Nope. She looked up at me with chattering lips and assured me, “See mommy, I’m not cold, now let’s go to the park.”
She frantically tried to pry the car door open by herself, and after failing, pleaded with me to let her in. “I want to go to the park with no pants!! I want to go to the park with no pants!! I want to go to the park with no pants!!” One solid hour of screaming this little ten-word phrase.
I paced, I made sure to entertain the baby and assure her everything was ok so she didn’t catch the crazy contagion, and I ate chocolate, lots of chocolate. And finally, blessedly, Anna climbed on the couch with her favorite black blankie and whimpered, “I want to watch TV.” Grateful that she was willing to divert her attention, I obliged.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget this moment in our lives, and how despite being verbally and physically assaulted by the tiny being I gave birth to, the love I have for this child is unrelenting. If what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I just accumulated one heck of a strength stockpile.