My friend Michelle recently blogged about when her son first learned the f-word and 19 things that are worse than your child hearing you utter this profanity. Check out that post here. The story was around being home with her 2 kiddos, like mine who were super close in age, over winter break and trying to keep them entertained without going crazy.
The pressed penny story that led to her son learning the f-word reminded me of my pressed penny story for my girl, and my first movie experience for my boy. Here you go. I can laugh now, but definitely not in those parenting moments.
The pressed penny story.
Wrightsville Beach, Father’s Day week. It is the husband’s happy place, so we have gone every single year since the kiddos were toddlers. There is always at least one rainy day in a beach week which we used as an opportunity for the toddlers to run around the NC Aquarium. On this trip, we set a record for the fastest trip through Aquarium. See, when you visit the Aquarium with toddlers, you don’t read all the information for each exhibit. It is more of a ping pong ball experience. One toddler goes left, an adult goes left. The other toddler runs forward, the other adult runs forward. They might stop and glance at an exhibit for a few seconds, or like my son, stop and point out when animals are pooping.
The designers of the Aquarium weren’t stupid either. You have to pass the gift shop in order to exit the building, and in front of that shop was a pressed penny machine. You know the kind where you insert a regular penny and crank it and it presses into the shape of a dolphin, fish, etc. My toddler girl asked if she could make a pressed penny, and I did not think twice before saying I didn’t have a penny. I really did not have a penny, folks. I guess not totally understanding that not having a penny means you cannot make a pressed penny, she kept whining and asking to make a pressed penny like the boy over there did. I will add that it was also getting close to nap time and every parent of a toddler knows what that means (even in the best of circumstances). I tried once again to explain why we couldn’t do the pressed penny game, but the toddler girl would not have it and went into full fledged tantrum mode.
Now, at this time I was working as a behavioral consultant for the local school district. So imagine my embarrassment when I was carrying my screaming toddler out of the Aquarium and pass a family of a student on my caseload. He was walking quietly along the boardwalk with his parents looking at the flowers and birds, while the behavior expert was carrying her screaming and kicking toddler back to the car.
Now for the best part of the story. As we passed the well placed ice cream stand right before you are back in the parking lot, the toddler girl stopped her tantrum, and in the most normal of voices asked for ice cream. I am guessing you know the answer and the rest of the trip to the car. We jokingly told her she was banned from ever going back to the Aquarium.
The first movie experience story.
The toddler boy was a hot mess as a toddler. We used to joke that he had 2 speeds – high and off. Nothing in between. It was a lofty goal to try and take two toddlers to a movie, but we did. The movie was Horton Hears a Who. In hindsight, not the best choice. Lots of talking and not a lot of action that would appeal to a toddler boy (i.e., no cars, trucks or trains).
It went downhill pretty fast. The toddler boy wouldn’t stay in his seat, kept asking questions about the movie, and the more we shushed him, the louder he got. The husband gave me “the look” that meant we had to abort the first movie mission, and he carried the toddler boy (who now wanted to stay for the movie) out of the theater. And just like his sister in the pressed penny story, as they passed the concession stand, he calmly asked for some candy.
We came home, put in a DVD, plopped both kiddos on the couch, and headed for the deck to enjoy a nice cold adult beverage. Parenting toddlers was physically exhausting!
I know my toddlers were not the only tantrum throwers (at least, I hope not). Share a good one with me, and hopefully it even includes pausing said tantrum to ask for a special treat 🙂