The ridiculous things I’ve done to avoid toddler meltdowns

Posted in Behaviour and Discipline.

When it comes to toddler tantrums, we all know that they can come from nowhere. One minute all is calm and the next, it’s action stations. Much like an erupting volcano, it can take you by surprise and be very frightening. Toys, food and little fists are angrily launched in quick succession, and small pets take cover. Sometimes we do too.

In an ideal world, we’d all have the patience and strength to deal with such tantrums and fight every battle. The truth is, we don’t. Tiredness, feeling overwhelmed, and just the relentlessness of it all can take its toll. 

For that very reason, I often find myself doing the most ridiculous things to prevent the next eruption. I figure if I can keep that lava at bay, we may well all survive.

Here’s what I mean.

Glueing toast back together with Nutella

Scenario – I confirmed that Mr 3 wanted toast cut in half. Yes, he did. When said toast was delivered, the tell-tale signs started: the trembling lip, the curled fist and the furrowed eyebrows.

“It’s BROKEN,” he yelled. “It’s BROKEN.”

Taking his previous meltdowns into account, I swiftly grabbed the Nutella and ‘glued’ the toast back together. Job done! One satisfied customer.

Crawling through a feral ball pit at a play centre as a lion 

Scenario – Arriving at an indoor play centre, Mr 3 drags me over to the feral ball pit.

“Be a lion in the forest,” he says, pointing at said ball pit. I dare to shake my head. The volcano starts to rumble.

Into the ball pit I climb, trying my hardest not to touch any of the balls (no mean feat when there are 238). Cue growling and chasing him around, shortly followed by disinfecting my whole body on return home.

Separating stuck together (because they were made that way!) lollies with a knife

Scenario – Get home and give Mr 3 his chosen ‘treat’ from the grocery store. It’s a gummy hamburger that comes stuck together.

“Get the burger OFFFFF,” he yells with increasing frustration and rising steam from his ears. While simultaneously trying to disconnect it, I explain that the burger is stuck to the bun. Nope!

I proceed to surgically remove each layer of the hamburger with a very sharp knife. Satisfied, he rebuilds it again, eating the gummy burger as a whole. *Sigh

Picking dropped food off the ground and eating it to prove it’s OK

Scenario (multiple times over) – Mr 3 drops food on the floor. Teeth start to grind, and his mouth opens in preparation for channelling his inner wailing banshee.

“My ICECREEAAAAMM, LOOLLY, CHIP (insert all the food items) is yucky,” is his inevitable response.

Not to be deterred by a measly bit of bacteria and the chance of some godforsaken disease, I whip into action and scoop up said food. I wipe, lick or suck off the dirt, proving it has been saved. All is well.

Walking everywhere single file

Scenario – Mr 3 has developed a love for walking in an orderly fashion since the fire drill practice at preschool.

“Walk in a line,” he screams in a sergeant type manner should I (or anyone else for that matter) dare to walk beside him.

Subsequently, everywhere we go, I obey. When we’re out as a family, I have to cajole all others into obeying too. Heaven forbid if they don’t. Every outing, we resemble a family of ducks.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things. There are soooo many more things that I’ve done to make my life simple and – just a little bit more – peaceful. 

Letting him have the biggest bar of chocolate in the shop, agreeing to him wearing only his underpants to school, driving while simultaneously patting his toy lamb who needed ‘mummy love’, lugging 55 things to preschool for show and tell, cutting croissants into devil horns (no mean feat!) and listening to The Wiggles on repeat for a two hour drive.

As the saying goes, choose your battles, and I’m certainly embracing that.


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