To the mother at the store who stared as my toddler was crying on the ground.

All I needed was milk..

okay I lied, I was actually here to do my grocery shopping but I only left with milk.

You see, I have a 10 year old son and a 2 year old daughter. My son was easy and still is easy. At my daughters aged my son listened, in-fact, he has never had a tantrum in his life. I fall pregnant with him when I was 18 years old. I was a young mum – but he was easy.

I had my daughter at the “average age” that most women have children. But this time having a baby was different. I am with a man who doesn’t abuse me, I am loved, I am stable, I am secure, I am married, I am safe and I am happy.

My life is totally different compared to ten years ago when I had my super easy son.

But my daughter is far from easy, she has been slow with most of her developmental milestones, she has never been a good sleeper, she is everything but easy. She wasn’t talking by age of two and it turned out that she was not able to hear as well as she should be. So she had ear and nose surgery around four months ago to help her hear better. I believe that this has helped, and her tantrums of frustration due to lack of communication are less of a 24/7 occurrence and more of a five times a day occurrence now.

But she is still a little psycho

The day before I needed to do my grocery shopping she hit me. And when I say she hit me, I don’t mean that she hit me in a general toddler temper tantrum way. I mean, her face turned green and her body grew large just like the hulk in the avengers movies.

I still don’t know why she turned into the hulk that day but she is two, she can only say a few words now. She isn’t able to verbally communicate yet, she also doesn’t understand me when I talk. Trying to communicate with her is just as useless to as me trying to talk my son whilst his plying his ps4.

So, she got upset about something,.. I tried to console her, and then the hulk come out.

She may as well have horns on her head at this point. She started to cry and then unexpectedly hit me in the face with a hard bottle of water. My lip was instantly swollen, with blood dripping down my shirt I was stunned. My two year old literally gave me a fat lip!

She’s grumpy, she’s tired, she’s unable to understand me and she is unable to communicate what she wants or what is wrong.

I cleaned myself up and the day continues on with my now numb and swollen lip. (Who needs lip fillers when you have a psycho toddler anyway?!)

The day moves on until finally it’s the best part of the day! she’s in bed and I can finally relax!

That night was one of the hottest nights we have had in history. Maybe she didn’t sleep well? I’m not sure , but the next day arrives.

We are in the middle of a heat wave and my husband is at work. I desperately need to do grocery shopping, I am also out of milk.

So before the days weather reaches 44 degrees (111.2 Fahrenheit) I decided to go and do my shopping early. I arrive at the store, my son is sitting in the car with my daughter while I am setting up the shopping cart making sure that she has a few toys and snacks to occupy her whilst we are on our grocery shopping adventure. But the second I unbuckled her the shit storm began.

She was screaming, I don’t know why! I’m getting flustered. It’s only 9:30 in the morning and the sun is scorching hot, I’m not even in the store yet. God damnit I don’t need this shit right now !

I pushed the cart from the car whilst I hold her on one side of my hip, we reach the automatic sliding doors and I try to put her in the cart, but lord help me, she’s not interested. I can see her horns slowly appear out of her head. I can tell that the hulk is coming. Quick! Clam the hulk down before she comes out and gives an innocent by-stander a fat lip!

I assume that she is screaming and crying because she doesn’t want to sit in the cart, so I stand her up besides me to see if maybe, just maybe, her tantrum is due to simply wanting to walk.

I have never been more wrong in my life, putting her down to stand was the biggest fuck-up of my day.

The hulk is here, evacuate the grocery store!

The second I stood her on the ground next to me to “walk” she dropped down quicker than Mc-hammers music career.

She threw herself on the ground, right in front of the automatic opening doors, of course she did! Of all locations to throw a fit on the ground, it just HAD to be in an inconvenient place for others!

She was kicking and screaming. I tried to pick her up and hug her but she was throwing herself around, her head was moving in all sorts of ways, this kid is going to get whiplash! She’s behaving and moving like the fucking exorcist at this point. I have no idea what the hell she wants or why she is crying. Not even Oprah could even save me at this point.

My poor son is trying with all he has to help me, his trying to console her too but she’s just getting worse. The sound of her screaming whilst my son’s silly noises in attempt to calm her is making my anxiety worse. I’m debating just going home, fuck the milk. I can’t do this. I’m hot and I’m tired and I just can’t handle the anxiety. I can feel my body temperature rise, she does this every time I come here!

And then you walk passed with a little boy, who looks only a little older than my hulk daughter who is back on the ground throwing her arms and legs around like the tube/air dancer.

I try not to look at you because there have been many times that I have seen other mums stare in disgust and judgement at other parents going through the very same thing that I am right now.

I’m already feeling defeated, I don’t need another judgmental mum dissecting me with a mean stare whilst judging everything they think that I am doing wrong as a parent.

I’m sorry Sheryl, coconut oil and a kale diet won’t help this situation. K? Thanks.

So when I notice you’re approaching I avoid eye contact, but you need to walk into the store and my asshole child is making this hard for you. But you are not phased. Your little boy looks upset by my daughters outburst but you held his hand and long paused a smiled at me, and not in a judgmental smirky way but a smile in a way that I knew meant that you have been through similar, a smile that said

“ I feel sorry for you “

You smiled in an empathic

“I understand, I have been there, it’s okay Mumma…. just breath “

type of way .

That smile of acknowledgement and empathy was all I needed. It gave me the fuel to move forward. I picked my daughter up off the ground again, (she’s still behaving like the fucking exorcist) but I NEED do to my shopping! So after a little encouragement from the mother with the encouraging smile, I pick my daughter up and walked into the store.

My son is pushing the cart for me, but he was easily distracted. As we stopped in one isle he started doing the “floss” (if you don’t know what the floss is, google it, I have no idea how to explain this epidemic that is taking over our children)

So I’m on my own now, I’m pushing a cart with my left hand whilst holding the hulk/exorcist in my right hand. I’m getting extremely anxious at this point.

I quickly realise that I am not going to be able to do my grocery shopping. I have tried everything to tame the beast but nothing is working.

The hulk has defeated me.

Abort mission son, lets go!

I grab the milk, I place it in the cart whilst trying not to drop my daughter who is still throwing herself around. I again, push the cart with one hand whilst holding her in the other hand. I’m feeling quite embarrassed too.

Trying to get my purse out and pay for the milk whilst she’s throwing herself around in my arms was hard, putting her in the car seat was even harder! She head-butted me in the process. Now I have a swollen lip and a pounding headache. Great!!

I was meant to go grocery shopping that day, but I came home with milk, milk and nothing more….

I was almost about to come home with nothing at all, but your simple smile that was empathetic and supportive helped me fight my anxiety to at least get the milk that I needed to try and put the hulk down for a nap.

We finally got into the car and my son said

“Mum, I understand why you like shopping on your own now, I’m so stressed out! And everyone was staring at us, but at least that mum at the front of the shop wasn’t staring”

He even noticed you, he noticed that sympathetic, empathetic, and supportive long smile you gave. So thank you.

Something as simple as a smile can change a persons day, and I know that your simple smile was the difference between taming the beast for a nap that day or simply not putting her down for a nap and dealing with the consequences of it.

So thank you to the mum who stared and smiled at me at the store .

Thank you for being different to the others who get upset or judge when you have a child who is losing their shit in a public place.

I appreciate you more than you know ..

And on a positive side note: we had take out for dinner that night 😉


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