Mommy Confession: My toddler embarrasses me in public

I mentioned in my last weekly re-cap that I’ve been having some rough times with the toddler. And, wow, yeah, I have. It sucks.

I don’t know if it’s an early onset of the Terrible Twos, or if he’s cranky because he’s not feeling well, or if I’m just overreacting, but I feel like it’s so hard to control him in public lately. And I don’t know how to handle the situation when he does act up — if we leave, he wins! Arggggh!

Let me back up a little. He’s great at playgroup — where he can run like mad for the whole 90 minutes — and he’s good at other people’s houses — providing he can run around and explore. But taking him to a place where he really needs to behave — like a restaurant or the library or a store — and it can be baaaaaad.

All he wants to do, really, is run around. Lightning-fast, on his little sneakered or booted feet. When he stops running, he wants to touch things. And when he’s not allowed to do one of those two things, he squawks. Lately he’s been hating bibs, so he protests (loudly) when you try to put one on him. If he doesn’t want to be in the shopping cart, he kicks his feet and fusses.

And I’m e-m-b-a-r-r-a-s-s-e-d.

I don’t know how much is beyond his abilities, and how much I can realistically expect from him. He turned 19 months one week ago (on January 6), and I’m not sure what kind of behaviour he “should” be exhibiting in public. We only ever see other kids at playgroup, really — when they’re all turned loose — and when we do see other kids out (like at the mall or in a restaurant), I see lots of meltdowns.

When it’s MY child that is being fussy, I’m really embarrassed. I don’t want people to think he’s out of control, or that I’m a bad parent.

But when it’s someone else’s child, I don’t mind. I don’t even think those things! I just feel sympathetic. So why do I assume people are thinking that about me? I have no idea. I just … do. I want to have a child who people consider well-behaved (in public, at least).

When he kicks his feet in the shopping cart so hard that his boots come off, and I’m squatting down to pick them up off the floor of the department store — all big and pregnant-like — and he’s crying because he wants out of the cart, and I still have a list of things to pick up, and people are turning to stare, it’s kind of awful and I just DO NOT want to be there.

Over the last few weeks, I feel like it’s been worse. I have said to Darling Husband on more than one occassion that I feel like it’s too hard to take him anywhere by myself.

I’m getting pregnant-er by the day, and it’s HARD to pick him up mid-tantrum because he wants to try on a pair of mens’ sneakers in the shoe department. It’s HARD to hustle through a store carrying a 26-pound toddler, just so that he doesn’t cry in ther cart. It’s HARD to chase him through the library — with “No Running” signs everywhere — and keep him off the computers.

It’s tiring to take him places lately.
And often embarrassing.
And I don’t know if it’s him or me who is to blame.

5 Comments on “Mommy Confession: My toddler embarrasses me in public

  1. As a junior high teacher I can tell you that this may only get worse ;). Here for you for moral support through the terrible twos , and before you know it, the terrible teens 🙂


  2. Just wait until he can talk and tell everyone he passes in the grocery store about your most recent bowel movement.


  3. I'm going through this with a 2 1/2 year old. I understand. Today was the worse experience I've had yet. I cried when I got back to my car 😦


  4. Awww, my thoughts are with you! It's rough when they act up in public.

    Just re-read this post, and realized D still does some of this, but he HAS gotten a lot better. He's almost 2 1/2 now, and I would say he's really good in public most of the time. Thank God!

    It gets easier once they understand bribery 🙂


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