Today, I walked out of Kohl's with Gavie securely tucked under my arm, football fashion. He was furious, of course, at the indignity, which he telegraphed to all within a four-block radius. No, my son doesn't have tantrums in public. He just yells "Mum!"
Really, really loudly.
The problem was that Mr. I'm-Old-Enough-To-Walk is NOT old enough to stay within sight. So, as usual, I gave him the "stay where I can see you" warning once. The second time he tried to disappear, this time in to the men's dressing room (of course!), I gave him the "we're going to leave if you do that again" warning.
As all developmental psych books will tell you, toddlers need to test their limits. It's part of the learning process.
"That's it, we're leaving," I said, retrieving him from under one of the rounders an aisle away. I didn't scream, didn't yell, and didn't draw attention to his behavior. I see no point. Besides, he did that himself on the way out of the store.
My son would have made a great non-violent protester in the 60s. He can make himself go limp faster then you can blink. No amount of anything can make him stand and walk. Thus, the "football hold."
Now most days are pretty good. We go to the grocery store, for example, and visit the giant goldfish in the lobby when we walk in and -- if he's good -- when we walk out. Gavie rarely fusses while grocery store because he knows that we'll go right by the fishies otherwise.
One time I told him that every scream in the store (a stage he went through when I would tell him no) would cost him a penny. Since he's already a little miser, that was a major threat. Well, we had a screech when I denied him a box of sugar cereal. Yep. You guessed it.
"Do you remember what I said would happen if you screamed in the store?"
Gavie looked at me, thought a moment, and handed me a penny.
Once again, I was thrilled at this mommy-moment. He understands! And he did. What he DIDN'T understand was that I meant to keep the penny. That screech put the previous one to shame.