In taking a much-needed but hardly guilt-free respite at a ridiculously over-priced coffee shop for Artistes… (I was buying a Grande Mocha-Lisa not the Mona Lisa for goodness sakes...), I overheard two young mothers one-upping each other over whose kid could throw the best tantrums in public. Little Charlie’s red-faced, back-arching, slap-the-mat imitation of Hulk Hogan on steroids because his shoelace came untied? or Little Ruby’s decibel-breaking screech that would put a starving raptor to shame because the shopping cart smooshed her last gummy fruit pineapple that she had thrown on the floor..? Ruby’s mom won hands-down but she would do well to lay off the Pablo-Espressos.
My kids are older now so the tantrum stage is mostly behind us, making room for the ever so popular "I'm a teenager-now-rolling-of-the-eyes-making-you-feel-like-a-FREAK-parent-because-you-accidentally-hummed-‘Daydream Believer’-near-a-cashier-at-Target-who's-so-and-so's-older-sister" stage. (Good Lord, how could I be so insensitive?)
However, when our kids did throw those lovely tantrums, in public or not, my husband and I would grade them on a scale of 1-10...out loud. And egg them on, convinced they could do better, “Come on, give me more indignation… where’s the flying spittle?” Most of the time, it sort of sucked the steam right out of them. After a while, they got bored and the tantrums soon stopped. Now we do it for fun around the dinner table...see who can whine or complain the loudest. (My husband is surprisingly good at this...). Hmmm...
Not that we don’t lead exciting lives, have gratifying jobs or interesting hobbies – but for sport, we take every opportunity to embarrass our kids in public. (I dare thee who is not the parent of a teenager to cast the first stone…). There is something truly satisfying in possessing that simple, yet spot-on and lethal talent. For it matters not what you say…simply that you do say. And it doesn’t matter to whom you say it as long as they fit the ‘capable of down-loading iTunes, have a MySpace blog, or the right to have pimples’ profile. I merely have to allude to the fact that I feel like skipping through the mall and my teenage daughter’s promising me a clean room for a month and a forfeiture of two-weeks’ allowance if I can squelch the urge to skip. The idea of raising my hand with a question during a packed middle school assembly can turn my son into pool of protoplasm as he sinks lower in his chair, trying to become one with his hoodie.
I know this too shall pass…as do all stages and rages of adolescence. (And those are just mine!) Soon they’ll be out on their own, going to college, making leaps and bounds in personality and personal growth – all without my constant help and guidance. But that’s okay… it’s the way life is supposed to happen. Worry not; I’ll still have my glorious memories to cherish. And cherish them I will.
Wait. There’s frenzied activity behind me…what’s this? I’m being offered the chance to drive said daughter to the coffee shop where there’s free Internet access and several friends loading up on decaf Dolce-Dalis. “Hurry up, mom…” translates into ‘Can’t you just stop (the unimportant and trivial) thing you’re doing to cater to my every whim..?’ I lovingly finish this sentence, make a big deal of looking for a disc on which to save…and ponder the new memories I’m about to make as I follow my daughter out to the car, wearing my fluffy pink slippers. Brou-ha-ha…I think I’ll have a relaxing, yet impudent cup of Earl Grey Mat-teas to go with those memories.
By: Joyce Costanza aka writemom