It happened on a Sunday afternoon. A sunny, warm, end of summer kind of day in the mountains lulled us. We were visiting the Grandparents and lots of relatives were around to play with. Our 3 year old had spent the entire morning trying to keep up with his older cousins.
It was all good fun involving hikes to the bear cave, throwing pinecones off the deck, waiting until Gigi wasn’t looking and then climbing over the couch and playing ‘store’ with all the cabin’s stuffed bears.
And then something set him off. Expressing himself in the way 3 year olds do best, there was screaming, tears and flailing limbs. What set him off, we’ll never know, nor does it really matter. Tantrums just happen.
I quickly picked him up and tried to talk to him calmly in between his screams knowing that the only time he can hear me is when he stops blaring for a moment to breathe. It usually takes a few minutes to get him calmed down. And before I knew it, at the next breathing break, Gigi was leaning over him saying, “Do you want a popsicle?”
What? Who offers a crying, fit throwing, exploding, drooling and exhausted 3 year old a popsicle?
Grandmothers. That. Is. Who.
In shock, I yelled, “Gigi! No popsicle right now.”
And finally after a few more minutes of rocking, hugging and talking, he calmed down. He ate some cheese and crackers to refuel his get-up-and-go body, started to play again.
And then I slunk over to talk to Gigi. “Sorry I yelled at you,” I started with.
I am lucky because Gigi is remarkably the Wonder Woman of mother-in-laws. She is supportive, caring and encouraging to our marriage and our parenting journey.
“Oh, I know,” Gigi said, “I just didn’t like seeing him so sad and I thought a popsicle would help.”
We both laughed. In our own ways, we both had the same goal: to end the tantrum, but different methods.
As a parent, I have to hold the time out, eat your vegetables, wash your hands and don’t you dare kick your brother position. As a grandmother, she doesn’t. But commonly, we both love the 3 year old chatter ball to the moon and want the best for him.
And the truth is, I freaking can’t wait to offer my future tantruming grandchildren a popsicles.