Grandfather knew best

It was a sweltering August day, and I was an overtired, cranky 4-year-old. My mom had left me with my grandfather, Jake, and I wasn't a bit happy about it.

So I threw a hissy fit. I flung myself down and began to wail. I beat my little fists on the floor and kicked my feet up and down as fast as they would go.

Jake remained unperturbed.

In a quiet voice, he said, "You don't know how to throw a tantrum." The he completely surprised me by adding, "Let me show you how it's supposed to be done. If you're going to throw a temper tantrum, I want you to throw a really good one."

He got down on the living room floor and began to kick and scream. At the same time, he made his fists into balls that he rubbed into his eyes as he "cried."

Jake made a complete circle on the floor, kicking and twisting his body. He looked vaguely the way I imagine a gnome would look if he were really angry.

It was so funny to see him rolling around on the floor that I just had to laugh!

Jake continued his antics for a good three minutes as I laughed and laughed, and, in the process, calmed down.

Finally he stopped. "Unless you can throw a tantrum as good as that, please don't do it in front if me," he said.

Then he gave me a hug, and everything was OK. After getting something to eat and drink, I took a nap. I was fine when I woke up. When my mom came to pick me up, I was my usual smiley self.

Mom asked Jake what had happened and wanted to know how he had gotten me to calm down after a tantrum, when she usually could not.

Jake just smiled. "It's a grandfather trick," he said. Then he looked at me and winked.

That was the last tantrum I ever threw. Every time I got angry after that I would think about Jake rolling around on the floor, and I'd start to laugh all over again. It still works to this day!

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