Monday, April 12, 2010

The Most Embarrassing Public Meltdown Ever

Monday is therapy day. Taz goes from play therapy with the psychologist, to OT for an hour, to Speech therapy for 1/2 hour. All in a row. I plan on changing the play therapy to another day after this month but Taz does well having Speech right after OT. Anyway, it's a long afternoon for all of us. And I was probably pushing it when I insisted we stop at the book store on our way home so I could grab a couple books I've really been wanting. I should have known better, especially with Taz being so unstable lately. But I did it anyway.

He did well playing with the train table for about 15 minutes while I grabbed the books I needed. Then we went to the check out and he very suddenly started screaming on the top of his lungs that he was hungry. He already ate all the snacks that I brought and it was almost dinner time so I said (in the most loving way possible) Oh you're hungry? Well we can eat something right when we get home!

But of course, that wasn't good enough. I don't usually mind public outbursts, especially in over-stimulating places like the grocery store and Target. There's always a little tot screaming here or there. But in a book store....well....let's just say he made a big scene. Everyone was watching us as we screamed our way from the children's section in the back of the store to the check-out in the front of the store.

As we waited in line and began to check out he continued screaming, running away and hiding (a new behavior but not going far), then yelling nasty names at Chica and screaming at her to stop watching him. But who could take their eyes off of him at that point? I stayed calm. I mostly either ignored him or made calming statements. Ironically the check-out girl had to call the manager about the pricing on one of my books which dragged the whole thing out longer.

Pretty quickly Taz escalated to trying to scratch Chica, who was just sitting quietly in her stroller. So I very calmly told him I would hold his hand so he wouldn't hurt anyone. He screamed louder but oddly did not try to scratch or hit me. I was almost finished paying when Taz suddenly screamed...

I peeeeeee!!!!!

And sure enough, I looked down, and there was a giant puddle on the floor under him. Now there was already a line formed behind me and there was only one check-out lane open. So everyone behind me had to wait while the worker got a roll of paper towels, and they all watched me clean up the pee puddle as my son screamed on the top of his lungs "I peed!!!" and continued crying and jumping around like a lunatic.

I could just feel the eyes poring into the back of my skull.

But. I did not lose my cool. I did not blush or look around sheepishly or apologize to anyone. Yes, I was embarrassed. Humiliated actually. But what good does it do to show it? It just makes me look like a floundering idiot.

Instead I stayed cool and confident. I was hoping it would make it seem like I meant for that to happen. You when you trip over something but look cool doing it and it seems like you did it on purpose? Same idea.

I don't think it worked.

Anyway, if it was just about the screaming it would be no big deal. But add on top of that the name calling, the aggression, then peeing on the floor, and that puts this epic experience #1 on my list of most embarrassing public meltdowns ever.


  1. Ouch! That one must of hurt. You should feel so proud for keeping it together. I remember an author of a parenting book talking about seeing a mom in such a crisis then coming up to her during the moment to give her praise and tell her what a wonderful mother she was. It is moments like yours when I wish that person would come to the rescue and give encouragement when we need it most.

  2. That was quite an episode. I too have made those decisions that I should have known better. I am so proud of how you handled yourself. I don't think I would have been so composed. I would have probably had tears streaming down my face.

  3. Oh, ouch! I'm so sorry. What a mess. I've been there a thousand times and reading your post, I could feel my body responding to the stress almost like I was there.

    You know what always blows my mind? That people don't help. I mean, seriously? Why do people watch other people struggle? I so would have wiped up the pee for you so you could get going with your kids. I've done stuff like that. I'm guessing most of those people could have spared the 60 seconds that would have taken. Of course, I only could have done that if Carter wasn't with me since if he WAS, he'd be spinning and windmilling and making a ruckus of his own LOL.

    And now I'm imagining the kind of destruction that Carter and Taz, together, could cause in a bookstore. Oye!

  4. I don't have any advice but I'm sorry you had to go through that. I remember when my son was little I had to be so careful about taking him into stores and the time in there had to be very minimal (like 10 minutes max). He just got so overdone in stores.

  5. Oh. My. Gosh! I think you win, hands down for 'most embarrassing moment!' I think the worst thing my son ever did in public was when he was about 7. We were leaving the mall because he started throwing a fit over a toy I wouldn't buy him. As we were leaving, he started to scream - 'Help! A stranger has me! I want my mom!' and continued to yell & scream that I was kidnapping him until a security guard stopped me near the exit. It took about ten minutes of explaining, showing ID, pictures in my wallet, etc...
    -Good for you that you were able to keep calm in your situation! I think you're right, if you over react it does make more of scene & seem worse...

  6. ahh, so hard . . . good job for staying calm!