That Parent…The Public Tantrum

IMG_1852There is one day a week, 45 minutes a day, when I get either that sympathetic smile, a condescending glance or the desperate attempt to avert their gaze towards my direction.  I have been that person too, on the other side, watching some poor parent, thinking “bless them.”  But now is my turn, I have avoided it for over 2 years, however, each week, on Wednesday mornings it is me who is the recipient of the looks.  Wednesdays is gymnastics day.

Tantrums don’t discriminate

I signed the boys up for gymnastics because they love jumping and climbing and I thought I was being a genius parent finding them something fun to do while simultaneously giving myself a little break in having to entertain them.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I honestly don’t know what the F- happens when we walk through that door but all hell breaks loose.  I am not sure if it is the little spring on the floor mat that equals anarchy but the moment they step on the floor they lose all sense of social decorum and go insane.

Our first class they spent the first 15 minutes clinging to me, super shy, not wanting to participate in anything.  They actually wanted to leave.  Then all of the sudden, as if a small breeze of freedom wafted under their nose, they went nuts.  I mean, certifiable.  They started running around, waving arms in the air, screaming, all with wild abandon.  Not listening to any instruction, never waiting their turn, running into other classes and cutting their lines.  

I was mortified, trying to chase both of them, each running in opposite directions. Nightmare.   However, after that first class, I shook it off, even laughing about how I was “that parent” today, which I had never have been before.  I even did a reverse judgement on any parent that had looked upon us with distain, thinking “you think you’re so superior with 1 child, I am bloody superwoman because I have twins!”  Honestly, these two are pretty great in public.  They listen seriously well for toddlers and are not assholes to other kids.  So I chalked it up to a one-off.  Mercury in retro-grade. 


Again, couldn’t have been more wrong.  It has only been three weeks of class and I have come to almost dread Wednesday mornings.  While Atlas has started to simmer down and even waits his turn, Kellan has turned up the crazy.  He is a maniac.  He doesn’t care if there is an obstacle in his way as he runs rampant through the gym.  He will either plow through it or fall over it.  His teacher literally said he is like one of those worst fail videos where you laugh and cringe at the same time.  

It looks like this – me chasing a tiny 2 year old around a gym who is screaming with delight as I say over and over “Watch out for the balance beam,” “Watch out for the other children,” “There is a step there” “Go sit with Coach John,” “Watch out for the wall.”  I am exhausted by the time class ends.  

I have thought about dropping the class, even losing out on the money we paid, but Atlas loves it.  Every day he wakes up and asks if we are going to “nastics.”  I can’t take that away from him and I certainly can’t go and think for a moment that his brother is going to sit on the sideline patiently watching while Atlas takes class.  So we continue.

This week Kellan topped it off with a full on screaming tantrum at the end of class because he didn’t get to do a roll over on the orange mat, which he would have been able to, had he not been trying to climb the adult balance beam then running over to the trampoline.  Time had run out, we had to go and he was pissed.  

So as I tried to hold on to his flailing body, put on Atlas’s shoes, put on my shoes, squeeze Kellan’s shoes on to his kicking legs, grab our bag and get both kids out the door, I just kept a smile on my face and received the looks from all the parents and accepted that on Wednesday mornings for 45 minutes I will be known as “That Parent.”

A Failure to Communicate


toddler having a tantrum-failing as a parent

Today I feel like I failed as a parent.  Tears were had by all today, even the dog, who was desperate for someone to play with him but knew shit was hitting the fan.  A perfect storm hit our home and it has not been pretty.  Sickness – √.  Teething – √.  Separation Anxiety – √.  And some apparent sleep transgression that can happen leading up to age two – √√√√.

Failing As A Parent

We are going on almost 2 weeks of intense crying at naps and bedtime.  Wakings in the middle of the night with the only resolve being sleeping beside me or me on their floor.  My perfect little sleepers seem to have vanished overnight. I was someone who felt immense pride that I had TWO babies who, upon being laid in their cribs, would roll over and go to sleep with a peaceful grace.  Those days are a foggy memory.  

Considering I am alone 5 out of 7 days/nights a week, having 2 screaming toddlers, desperate for me to hold them until they fall asleep is a depressing form of torture.  For them and for me.  Even when my husband is here they don’t want him right now.  Only their mum.  I spend a great deal of time holding one baby while the other screams.  Putting him down to hold the other with the first one screaming angry I put him down.  Repeat on loop.  

Every night someone has ended up in bed with me, which means limited sleep because they clearly have to sleep across my face as being next to me is just not enough.  Some nights they will sleep if I sleep on their floor.  It’s not a soft surface, even with the concoction I have made in bedding, my hips are killing me.

Toddlerhood is Coming

Now the tantrums have started.  I knew this was coming, they are almost two.  I have talked about it, joked about it but no amount of anticipation can prepare you for TWO screaming toddlers. Throwing themselves on the floor, rolling around hysterically crying.  It is like anything with parenthood, you know it’s coming, have heard people talk about it, seen others go through it but not until it happens to you, do you fully realize I have no fucking idea what to do.  

It is hard enough to console one screaming child, two is beyond difficult.  You simply can’t help both and that is crushing.  Try as you might, going back and forth. Trying to hold both on your lap, trying to talk soothingly to each one. Them trying to push the other off my lap, knowing they can’t get across what they are feeling in words. Knowing they need their mom and you literally cannot be everything they need because you are divided in two.


Tonight it came to a head.  After an hour and half of tears, body throwing, 5 bites, 100 hits, screaming, sad desperate eyes looking at you mixed with hurt and anger, I had to limp away (due to the bite to my leg) hide, count and cry.  I was pissed that another human just bit me, again.  Frustrated that I was supposedly bigger and more intelligent and yet I could not communicate in the right way to my 22 month old.  Angry I was stuck in this prison called twin toddlers.

Feeling worried they might have mental problems because humans should not be able to contort their body in such violent manners and then feeling like shit because I am supposed to be their mother, the port in the storm and yet I seem to be the constant reason for meltdowns and all I want to do right now is escape.

Sometimes Wine is The Answer

Eventually, everyone calmed down, or got distracted by a truck and tears turned into laughter.  The boys hugged me and kissed me right up until they went to bed, as if nothing happened.   Kris got home with wine for me, I took the dog out hoping a walk and some air would help. But I couldn’t shake the day or the growing feeling of dread that I somehow had unintentionally hurt the feelings of this little being.

 I don’t know how two tiny people can rip the rug right out from under me time and time again in so many varying ways.  But they do and mostly in a fashion that is filled with immense love, but sometimes, like these past 2 weeks, like tonight, when it completely leaves me questioning my capabilities as a parent.

Crying into my Malbec, I said to my husband “I just felt so frustrated with him and now I am angry at myself for not having more patience.”  Kris –  “well, he bit you 3 times, that isn’t very cool.”  And then I finally laughed.

 I know he will wake up in the morning, as happy to see me as ever.  And I will wake up, hopefully rested with an extra set of patience, love empathy and wearing 3 layers of pants so his Dracula teeth can’t get through.


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