I was one of those horrible mothers who let her child scream in a shopping centre today. It wasn't for very long, but long enough. It was embarrassing but there wasn't much I could do. She wasn't hungry, she didn't need changing, she wasn't in pain, she was just chucking a wobbly. It was a very good wobbly too! She screamed and she arched her back and she wriggled to the floor.
What did I do to cause such an outburst? After we'd run the errands we had to do I'd decided to be nice and give her a turn in one of those brightly coloured merry-go-round rides that they have in shops that kids love and parents hate. The ones that cost $2 to last all of 30 seconds. This was a wiggles one and she loved it. She stood up smiling as it spun around. She loved it. I realised how grown up she's getting, and not even a year old yet. When the ride finished I lifted her out of the ride and tried to put her back in the pram so I could put her in the car and take her home for a sleep. What a monster! :p. She was not impressed. The display she put on would rival the best of the best of tantrum throwers.
It must be hard to be a baby and be at the mercy of mean old parents who just don't understand you want to play in the big red car all day. Babies don't understand that mummy doesn't have any more $ 2 coins or that the parking limit is up soon or that there's washing on the line at home or that mummy left her phone in the car and is expecting a call. Babies don't think "thanks for giving me a turn" they just say "oi, meany, give my toy back".
I knew she was tired, so after saying "sorry but it's time to go home now" I coerced her into the pram and then blatantly ignored her hissy fit the whole way to the car, as I put her in the car, and until she fell asleep on the way home.
What else could I have done?
To all the parents with screaming children I've given judgemental glances to in the past, I'm terribly sorry. Please forgive me, and know that I am now getting opportunities to empathise with you.