Home ยป Kids ยป Why I won’t take the toddler anywhere anymore!

Why I won’t take the toddler anywhere anymore!


We had a pretty busy Saturday, I had a Reach for a Dream event, Cam had soccer and a contact lens fitting and then we had to make a “quick” trip to the Vaal for some work stuff David needed to do.

While Cameron was busy with the optometrist I quickly ran into Dischem with Jack. He was pretty chilled and was being rather cute. While I was waiting for our meds, I looked down and saw he had managed to slip his tennis ball passed me and was now bouncing it in Dischem. CRAP! Having boys means that I have to often to a quick check to make sure we aren’t shopping with the soccer ball or eating lunch with a bouncing tennis ball, but somehow this one got passed me. I didn’t make a big deal about it and figured the quicker we could get out of there, the better. En route to the cashier we had a little “Look mom I can bounce the ball like this” moment, immediately followed by a “MOM I CAN’T FIND MY BALL ITS MISSING FIND MY BALL MOM WHERE IS IT!” moment.

This probably was the moment I should have engaged the “get out the shop as quickly as possible” mode but instead I found the ball and grabbed us all something to drink. Jack ALWAYS chooses an ice tea. ALWAYS. He orders it as we walk into restaurants, its his thing. Until Saturday when suddenly the luminous red Energade was his thing. He needed it. NEEDED it like Kim Kardashian needs a reality TV show! I stood firm though. Took the ice tea and tried to herd him through the pens that are the queues at Dischem. I hadn’t thought the whole little trip through, so had no basket and the medicine I got required a BIG medicine cage.

I was now standing in the queue with my BIG medicine cage, 5 bottles of colddrink and a screaming toddler, wondering how it all went so wrong.

Obviously at this point, the VERY irate toddler decides to rather vociferously bounce his tennis ball while we are boxed in in the junk food laden herding pens. The ball bounces, once, twice and is gone, swallowed up by the MSG free corn chips and sugar laden nougat. By now I am sweating profusely, trying very hard to maintain my composure as my child again starts screaming “MOM I CAN’T FIND MY BALL ITS MISSING FIND MY BALL MOM WHERE IS IT!”. Fortunately the stars aligned briefly and about 10 cashiers suddenly freed up, possible fueled by their need to get the screaming kid and his mother out the shop as quickly as possible, so we were able to move around to the other side of the shelves where the ball had lodged itself.Once he had the ball safely in his little hands, he resumed the “I WON’T DRINK THE ICE TEA I DON’T WANT IT MOM I DON’T DRINK THAT” wail.

Finally, after what felt like an hour, we get to the cashier, Jack still screaming. I drop the drinks and medicine onto the counter and pick up the child, he starts kicking his legs, so I put him down. Now Jack has perfected this move, it is very similar to that moment in an action movie where the good guys catch the bad guy and he falls to the floor onto his knees, all very dramatic. So he drops to his knees, head on the floor and wails and wails.

By this point the entire Dischem has come to a dramatic stop. All eyes are on the mother of the clearly out of control toddler. What will she do?

I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I paid, with my head held high, took my stuff and walked out of the shop, with the screaming toddler trailing behind me.

Because really? WHAT are the options?

Leave my shopping? Wasn’t an option.
Smack him? How would that stop him crying?
Buy him the juice? I did consider it but for obvious reasons it would be wrong.
Yell at him? Again, probably not going to stop him crying.
Tell him “I hear you Jack, I understand you want the red juice but you can’t get that juice right now. Mom got you the ice tea instead”? Ja that has never and will never work on my kids because it wouldn’t work on me.

We did sort of talk about it afterwards but I suspect it had no effect because on Sunday Mr Price Sport banned us!

David left for the DRC early on Sunday morning so I knew I would have to get the kids out of the house for all of our safety. Stupidly I decide to take them ALL shopping. The quick Sportsmans Warehouse trip went well. The second Mr Price Sport visit, not so much. Cameron found a costume but wanted goggles, I said nope he needs to find one of the many pairs we have at home, I am not paying R100 for ANOTHER pair of goggles. Cameron, thankfully over the tantrum stage, was ok with that. Jack not so much. He grabbed a pair off the shelf and told me Cameron NEEDS these. I said “Nope he doesn’t” and put them back on the shelf.

Do I even need to tell you what happened?

There was wailing, Jonty Rhodes style dives across the floor of Mr Price, screaming and general brat behaviour! It was so much fun.

I have actually left out the incident at Spur on Saturday where he waved his knife, like some crazy ninja at his dad and then at a lady who was trying to introduce her son to him. I suspect you may all judge me too harshly if I put it all out there.

So I have decided that for now, it is safer for us, and the general population for me to not take him to any shop (or restaurant) for now.

Did your toddler throw tantrums in the shops? What did you do?



  1. 12 August, 2014 / 8:09 am

    Funny if it is not your own child!
    Yes, mine are still doing it! I think you handled it correctly!
    Not give in to the demands, and try to carry off the screaming and kicking toddler/preschooler while looking as stoic as possible. I have perfected it! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Good luck!

  2. 12 August, 2014 / 8:21 am

    I act exactly like you do. Ignore, while just wishing they would stop. And if they lie on the floor, and I want to leave, but they’re not following I pick them up, but not in a cuddling way, more in a ‘I’ll just carry you sideways while you are kicking and screaming’ way

    Hidings make it worse, trying to reason with them is pointless, because they won’t hear you and giving in to what they want would mean a tantrum at every shopping for the rest of your life.

  3. Elize Hartzenberg
    12 August, 2014 / 8:36 am

    Oh how I remember those toddler tantrums…. Ruaan chose a very busy very full PicknPay to do the dramatic whaling…. yip I remember only too well.

  4. Pandora
    12 August, 2014 / 8:40 am

    So funny when it happens to someone else! We only laugh because we have been there. I think you did the right thing. Leaving everything and going is not always an option, sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and ignore the stares. They are probably either remembering when it happened to them or thinking their children will NEVER behave like that. Let’s not spoil their illusions just yet…
    My daughter’s most spectacular tantrum was when we tried to get her out of a swing at a fleamarket playground. Dad decided he urgently needed to go buy something else, so I carried her to the car, she screamed, kicked, hit and pulled my hair, then collapsed into her car seat and promptly fell asleep. No other tantrum ever came close to that again luckily.

  5. MeeA Parkins
    12 August, 2014 / 8:53 am

    WAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Megan used to have the most spectacular meltdowns from ages 2 to 5. Once, in Carrefour (like Pick n Pay in Dubai), she threw herself screaming onto the floor over some sweets we refused to buy her. It was so bad, the shop staff and other shoppers came to see what the problem was. She had perfected the art of making a scene by then and David just reached the end of his patience with her. He picked her up off the floor and smacked her bum right then and there. And the ENTIRE shop came to a standstill – it is UNHEARD of for people to smack their kids over there. But she shut up and pulled herself together and we carried on shopping in peace. We tried to weather the storms for a few months after that, still. If she started throwing a tantrum in a restaurant, David would take her to the car and start driving home. It worked for a while but we eventually just stopped taking them to restaurants because she would spoil it every time.
    At least we all know that they grow out of the tantrum stage…

  6. 12 August, 2014 / 9:16 am

    The other day Tori threw a colossal tantrum over getting dressed for school. I was running late, so I picked her up – naked backside and all ( potato sack style) and school bag, Josh grabbed her clothing and I bundled her in the car. THIS is where it got worse….so I kicked her out the car in my driveway and started driving away….. the 3’s are going to kill me

  7. 12 August, 2014 / 9:44 am

    AI Laura, we have all been there, done that, got a crappy Tshirt…. L was the worst – totally above anything I have ever seen. In fact we still get pretty ugly things from him on the odd occasion. But you are doing the right thing and standing your ground.

  8. 12 August, 2014 / 10:01 am

    The comments are scaring me, hehehehe. My 15month old is at the run away and hide in shops stage now, oh and just the other day I turned to him in Spar and he was chewing…i asked him what he had in his mouth and he gleefully replied, chippies, I let him spit it out and jip he found chips somewhere in the shop…. I shudder to think

  9. Heather
    12 August, 2014 / 10:11 am

    You gave me a good laugh this morning when I really needed it. (Ok i’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time)

  10. 12 August, 2014 / 10:58 am

    Not in shops, no. I point out suitable time-out spots to them if I feel they’re getting niggly. We have had the start of it but then I actually leave. D has sat with one in time-out in the parking lot at PnP once, and I did the same once.

    However ONCE at Nino’s we ordered pizza for them (this was probably when they were about 18 – 24 months) and they proceeded to TOSS the pizza off the high chairs onto the ground. We stopped, got everything else packed up and went to finish at home.

    And we didn’t take them to a restaurant for about 6 months (saved lots of money mind you!). We were talking about it the other day because we drove past the Mugg and Bean in Woodmead which was then the time of testing to see whether they could eat nicely again. They passed, we were happy and we started eating out again.

  11. 12 August, 2014 / 11:19 am

    Oh my. It gets better, one day. So I’m told. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hang in there!

  12. 12 August, 2014 / 1:23 pm

    I laugh because I understand. Lil Mister is at that point as well. Somehow we manage to keep it slightly in check (which means there is crying and frustration from mommy but no screaming!). I pray it gets better like everyone says but until then I just grin and bear it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. 12 August, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    Kade threw a tantrum once in Woolies in the queue, I got out of the queue walked into the washing powder isle and gave him a time out. Longest 3 minutes of my life cos he is not a quiet time out toddler. BUT (fingers crossed) he has never done that again!

  14. 12 August, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    Hahaha! I just walk away and leave them to trail behind me. I feel no “skaam” as other shoppers stare on, wondering why this horrible mother has left her child to cry in the shop. I am also known for a quick swipe across the bottom which usually stops a tantrum fast. Thankfully we seem to be over the worst!

  15. Stephanie
    12 August, 2014 / 9:30 pm

    Iam not looking forward to those my baba is now 16 months and i can see it happening soon

  16. 13 August, 2014 / 4:51 am

    Oh yes, been there!
    Well, you might remember that we once had to leave your party rather abruptly for the same reason…and on one occasion at Milky Lane someone got taken outside for a solid smack on the bum, and then had to settle for crying in her ice cream instead of screaming blue murder at her mother.

    This too shall pass…hang in there!

  17. 13 August, 2014 / 8:04 am

    Reading your post makes me feel like crying because we have it so often. I try to never shop alone with my three year old and if I have to, I almost run through the store. I DO NOT shop alone in stores with sweet hoarding pens.
    If there is an all out tantrum, I pick him up and leave. I do not care what I needed, I just leave.

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