‘Tis the season to be shopping or traveling with young children who melt-down into tantrums, requiring moms and dads to dig deep into their bag of holiday tricks to find humor in the moment of parental despair.
After raising four sons, the first two born just 15 months apart, I have learned that the best way to overcome a child’s tantrum is to not have one yourself. That has always required a hefty supply of humor. Before going out shopping with kids, I recommend adding “watch funny parenting videos on YouTube” to the to-do list.
My favorite joke about tantrums was told to me by a friend after I returned home from holiday shopping with three children all under age seven.
The joke goes like this:
A woman is pushing a packed shopping cart through a store right before Christmas as her toddler daughter pitches the hissy-fit to end all hissy-fits because she wants something she can’t have.
The exhausted mom: “It’s going to be OK, Jessica.”
Child wails louder and louder all through the store.
At the checkout the toddler is kicking and thrashing, throwing items off the conveyor belt as the mom repeats soothingly over and over, “Just breathe, Jessica. It’s all going to be over soon. We’ll get a snack and it will all be just fine. Come on Jessica, you can make it.”
As she’s leaving the store a woman says, “I’m so impressed with how calm and reassuring you are with little Jessica.”
The haggard mom looks at the woman and says, “I’m Jessica.”
I have told moms that story every holiday shopping season when I am in line next to a child engaged in full-freak-out as a mom looks about to pop with frustration.
However, YouTube has some videos that allow parents to have a slightly more cathartic moment as moms and dads imitate their kids by either lip syncing or reenacting the tantrums their kids throw.
Watching these before you go out the door with young children may leave you laughing long enough to make it through any shopping trip, with or without tantrums.
One of the best is from the creators of the YouTube series “Convos with my 2-year-old” which has now aged into its fourth season of videos,“Convos with my 4-year-old” featuring Matthew Clarke as Dad and David Milchard as Coco, Mr. Clarke’s toddler daughter.
The videos are reenactments of actual conversations Clarke has with Coco, as re-enacted by him and Mr. Milchard. I recommend Season 4 Episode 7 - "Shopping." The video was posted on December 17 and has already earned more than 200,000 views.
While other parents don’t go as far as to involve actors in their re-enactment , some appreciate a good tantrum lip-sync, giving themselves, and their other kids in the background of the video, a good laugh.
In May 2011, mommy Marcy Goldberg Sacks broadcast herself lip-syncing her 5-year-old daughter's tantrum "I want to watch a show!" and posted it to YouTube.
Mike Hageman had the same idea in 2013 when he decided to lip sync his six-year-old daughter's temper tantrum outside her bedroom door.
And, to prove that throwing a tantrum is for the birds, there’s this video posted 2008 of Cisco the parrot offering his own impersonation of a 3-year-old during a temper tantrum.
And lest we still be tempted to have our own meltdown, BuzzFeed’s “What if adults threw tantrums like toddlers?” video posted in 2013 sums up pretty well what it would look like.
It’s probably best to laugh until we cry as we watch other parents share our suffering and find the funny as the gift of the moment.