Bug,  movies

Hello Toddlerhood

Baby Bug embarrassed me for the first time in the grocery store the other day. She shrieked at me while we were cruising through the frozen food aisle. All of a sudden with no warning, she let out this high pitched “eeeeeeeeee!” that completely took me by surprise. Of course, me getting startled translated to “Let’s make this a game!” to her and the more I tried to shush her, the more she shrieked. Shriek! Shriek! Shriek!

I wanted to crawl under the cart and pretend I wasn’t there. Who is this baby and why is she screeching at me?! And why am I such a bad mom that I have no idea how to get her to stop? Should I slap her leg? Should I take her out of the store and forget about all the food that I need to buy in order to make dinner? What do I do?!! I had no clue.

I tried everything I could think of. I looked her in the eye and gave her the sternest glare I’ve ever given. Usually, I could fry eggs with my death ray glare but it didn’t even phase her. Then I told her firmly, “No!” and threatened to take her out of the store if she didn’t stop. That didn’t work either. In desperation, I peeled a sticker off the bunch of bananas I had in the cart and stuck it to her knee. That worked like a charm. She spent the next several minutes trying to unstick and re-stick the sticker. What a relief. I scuttled away from all the staring people in the frozen food aisle as quickly as I could.

I was totally embarrassed even though I know it could be a LOT worse. Am I really cracked up for this parenting gig? I know I’ve read every book and I know all the things you’re not supposed to do but am I ready to be the disciplinarian? This scares the crap out of me.

I think the fun “look-at-my-cute-adorable-baby” stage is over and I have officially entered the “work” part of parenting. The part where I help her become a better person by being firm and consistent and I can’t always fix everything and make everyone happy with a cookie. Oh, woe is me. I’m so much better at being the Auntie who spoils everyone rotten.

I’ve been thinking about this for months. I’ve been secretly patting myself on the back that Baby Bug hasn’t reached the “NO! ” stage yet and thinking maybe it’s because I’m so inventive with my use of the negative command. I’m always saying things like “That’s an uh-uh” or “That’s not for babies. It will burn you and make you cry.” or “Oooh! Look at this shiny thing over here!” So far we’ve been really lucky and she’s been a very pleasant toddler to be around.

BUT…. Just like you can’t put off the inevitable flu with projectile vomit or a trip to the emergency room, I realize that I can’t avoid the fact that Baby Bug is developing a will of her own and the motivation to test me with it. Hoooo boy. I’m just so glad these things come on slowly. Or do they? So far they have.

She has started saying “no” but it’s been in a sweet “no.”. I know that sounds weird but it’s true. Sometimes she says it when she means “yes”. It seems to be a filler word for her, like how someone would say “hmmmmmm… today is a nice day, I think I’ll have a glass of lemonade.” Here’s a little clip. I know this stage will be over soon and she’ll be letting me know what “No!” really means but for now I will saver these sweet little no’s. I will cling to them and try to memorize them because soon they will be gone FOREVER! And then she’ll be a teenager and hate me.

I also have another little clip. This is of her saying “Bye! Bye!” She was yelling “Biiiiiiiiye!” to everyone in the parking lot. She was so loud, people actually turned around to see who was yelling at them. A business man talking on his cell phone three cars over even stopped his conversation to say, “Bye” back to her. She’s such a nut. On the car ride home, she yelled “Bye!” at me the whole way home. “Bye! Bye! Bye!”

I remember somebody told me that you spend the first 18 months trying to get them to talk and the next 18 years trying to get them to shut up. I haven’t gotten to the I-wish-she-would-shut-up stage yet but I can clearly imagine it. As Baby Bug says, Bye! Bye! Quiet Babyhood. Bye, bye.


  • familymclean

    Hee, hee, you can totally do this mother thing, banana stickers the whole way!! Kaitlyn had an episode like that in Walmart a few weeks ago and if I had had a shovel I would have buried myself, if only I had banana stickers!!!!

  • Kuky

    Baby bug is sooo cute with her yelling. She makes me laugh. And whoo hee she really is loud in that video.

    Isabelle is so quiet usually. She hasn’t embarrassed me yet. The rare times she has screamed I just say, who’s so loud. And it’s only like one yell and that’s it. Guess I’ve been lucky so far! But I had a friend who had a little boy who would throw awful tantrums occasionally at the grocery store. The way she would handle it was to leave her full cart and bring him outside. She would then go shopping another time.

  • DeeJay

    I really like the bye bye one.

    Saw an “expert” on Surviving Motherhood (TLC) say that you shouldn’t be embarrassed by her screams or feel that they are disturbing other patrons in the store. Usually they are just glad that it’s not them with the child and find it more humorous than anything else.

    Did I ever tell you about my hjp stealing the hunk of cheese from the grocery store? Yep she was 4 years old and insisted on pushing her baby in her stroller instead of sitting in the cart this time. I thought “what could it hurt?” So we get home and hjp brings me a hunk of cheese that she had stuck in the little diaper bag thing on the stroller. She wasn’t meaning to steal it…she was just shopping like Mom.

  • BeachMama

    Don’t be embarassed, it could be so much worse. A few little screams in the grocery store are nothing. But, good work with the banana sticker. I try hard to keep him occupied all the time, it makes things so much easier.

    And her “no’s” are cute, just wait until she uses her angry voice at you and you want to cry. It happens to all of us.

  • OMSH

    And then when they are 10, 7 and 4 they wake up FIGHTING. Not “Good morning Momma, it is so wonderful to see you!” Oh no, it is “EMELIE! Emelie GET OFF my SHIRT!” “I’m not ON your shirt … I’m on your BLOUSE!” “THAT IS A SHIRT!” “MOMMA, Meredith HIT me!”

    There are days that shrieking in a grocery store would certainly be much, much, much better.

    Not to belittle your first uncontrollable shrieking experience.
    Mine happened in a movie theater. THAT was fun.

  • Annie

    I bring along some healthy(ish) snack in a baggy and some stickers, and when I’ve forgotten those I’ll swing by the produce section and let my 2-year-old pick off organic grapes to munch on. That takes us through half the market and then it’s time to stop by the cracker aisle and pick up a bag of low-sodium fish crackers, for the other half (if I can make it through that before high-tailing it to the check out). I open them right up and let him snack on those. I never feel embarrassed to give the check-out person (first thing) a ripped open bag of fishies. They always smile and promptly give them back to my kid. Lately our grocery store also has these ridiculously huge carts in the shape of fire engines or school buses. Sometimes that works for novelty. He’ll sit in the bus and pretend he’s driving it. But as with all novelties they soon loose their sizzle (that, and you’ll soon get shouts for “faster” or “go, go, go” when you even so much as stop for cheddar cheese and tortillas.) So snacks and lots of conversing about everything we’re doing from turning the aisles, names of aisles, letting him actually pull things off the shelves for me, frozen items always serve as a momentary distraction, etc. seems to keep the shrieking or loud declarations at a minimum (they never totally disappear though). It also helps to have a list of what you need (the most important stuff at the top), so you can beeline to those as soon as you’re in.

  • Annie

    p.s. Ignore the looks by strangers and just focus on BB. It’s either they (the strangers) get it or they’re not worth your worries. Most people who have (or have had) young children understand this phase. Some even probably look over because it brings them back to their own memories of child rearing. They most likely feel more sympathetic for the nervous mommy than anything else. It’s hard not to feel embarrassed (I know!) just hang in there and remember that she’s just beginning to learn how to handle her voice and these situations. Go in stride as much as possible and talk to her in a normal speaking voice. We were all there at one point and except for the occasional odd ball you don’t see too many grown-ups shrieking in public places. It must lose it’s appeal somewhere along the line.

  • andrea from the fishbowl

    You really shouldn’t worry about grocery-store shrieks. It’s not worth being embarrassed about it … you did the right thing with the sticker. This phase will be over before you know it. :)

  • comfortablycrazy

    I have to agree that the other parents usually feel bad for the mom with the screamer. We’ve all been there. I can remember Rapunzel throwing a tantrum and so I threw a bigger one. She stopped looked at me and said, “Mommy, stop that’s barissing me.” Luckily SuperChic hasn’t ever done it since the infant stage. But I used to embarrass Shawn by singing songs from The Wiggles through the stores to keep SuperChic from crying. Other people would look over and stare but I didn’t care at least she wasn’t crying anymore.

    Oh, you forgot to mention her scowling. I think that’s her “no” that means no. If she doesn’t want something or you do something she doesn’t like, like tell her no, you get “the scowl.” It’s really cute. You’ve got to get it on film.

  • Carrie

    Grocery delivery became our best friend this past month. He just became so unruly that I couldn’t take it any more. I am enjoying toddlerhood so much more than babyhood, but it is also so much more frustrating at times.

  • Rachel

    Hi SAJ, I found you though Dutch Blitz. I love your storytelling! You’re right, the easy part is over. I just realized the other day that my baby is nearly a toddler. And the toddler is pretty much a preschooler now. Ooh goody. I’m told that having kids in the ages of 1 & 3 and 2 & 4 are entirely mind-numbing. Can’t wait. Your Baby Bug is adorable. We have a Bug here too. Cute nic-name.

  • Christine

    Similar to Annie above, I make my first stop the bakery aisle and grab a few bagels. I tear off part of a plain one and that keeps my little guy (13 months tomorrow) happy almost all the way to the checkouts (if I’m quick). Otherwise, he’s trying to grab all the food off the shelves and out of the cart behind him. (I’d do grapes, but he’s not really into fruit and veg. I wish he loved brocolli like Baby Bug.)

  • Dan Jones

    When grocery shopping with my wife and youngest years ago (she was about Bug’s age) – my daughter started to scream in the store – and throw a complete fit. I took my daughter out of the store, and her tantrum got worse. I actually had a woman approach me in the parking lot to see if I was kidnapping my daughter – the tantrum was that bad.
    I guess what I am trying to say – at some point a couple screeches in the grocery store will seem like no big deal at all…

  • ~aj~

    You did great with the sticker. I have found that distraction is the best way to head off any tantrum (or even crying from ouchies or sadness).

    I have a very easy going toddler, but even he has pulled out the big guns to completely embarass me in public. Once at WalMart, he was actually writhing on the ground, screaming bloody murder over a toy I wouldn’t let him get. My sweetheart 1 year old literally looked possessed by the devil. I have no idea what the people that walked around us thought. I just wanted to die.

  • Kathryn

    Heehee. Just imagine, there WILL come a day when YOU are embarassing HER in the market, or in the mall, or at school, or lets say, everywhere you go with her. File this post away for posterity and when the teenage BB starts rolling her eyes, you can break it out just to let her know that its all a two way street!

    Nice save with the bannana sticker!

  • carrien

    First, don’t be embarrased. Kids will scream, if they know it makes you uncomfortable they will use it to try and get their way more often. If it doesn’t work on you, they will abandon it eventually. Second and this is very important. ONLY THREATEN SOMETHING IF YOU ARE WILLING TO FOLLOW THROUGH! Saying be quiet or we will leave the store right now only works the second time after you have followed through with what you say the first time. If you say be quiet or we will leave, and then don’t leave when she continues to scream you are teaching her to ignore you, and that you don’t mean it. Once you threaten, follow through. Next time is when it pays off as she realizes you mean it. I learned this the hard way so I’m passing it on in hopes that it saves you some time.

  • bethany

    Aw, I’m sorry you were embarrassed in the frozen food aisle! I agree with many others, though, that most people are probably either thinking, “Glad that’s not me,” and moving on, or thinking, “Oh, that poor mom–boy, I remember when my kids did that to me!” and looking at you with kindness and sympathy. Especially since you were actively trying to calm her down, not just ignoring her.

    I don’t know if this would work for BB or not, but my daughter wasn’t much older than her when I started giving her a “grocery list” and a crayon, and I’d chatter away to her about what we needed to get, and then when we picked it up (often after letting her pick exactly which box of Cheerios looked right), I’d say, “OK, cross it off the list!” and she’d scribble importantly with her crayon. Grocery shopping was sooo much easier once I started doing that. And it totally extended the “look-at-my-adorable-baby” stage. too! People would see her trotting along, list and crayon in her little fists, and smile and comment on what a good helper she was.