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Dealing With My Child’s First Public Meltdown

In one word: humiliating!

Last week I went on my first “mommy date” at a local coffee shop. There really isn’t anywhere decent to meet up with kids around here. (I’ve come up with a business idea, but it likely will never see the light of day.)

Seeing as how we haven’t ventured out in public just to hang out somewhere, I had no idea what to expect from sweet babygirl…

Upon arrival, I realized we were a little early. I brought the stroller along, which opened and closed one-handed as advertised. Rissa slept on the way since it was during naptime. She stared, wide eyed, as we went across the street and into the coffee shop. A woman was coming up to the door from the opposite direction. I paused to let her go in first. Instead, she just stood there.

Thanks, I’ll get the door and stroller by myself. (I am capable, yes, but I find it rude when people stand and watch like that.)

As I get inside I hold the door open for her to come in too. (Tried to set an example.)  She’s getting all huffy about the hold up. This is when I started feeling really nervous. I swear all eyes were on me. No one else had a child with them.

I order a hot cocoa and a cookie. The lady at the counter comments on how quiet Rissa is… It was true, she hadn’t let out a peep since I took her out of the carseat. I picked a table away from everyone else. Rissa was quiet and content. Soon our new friends arrived to meet us.

It was adorable seeing how the girls reacted to each other. Rissa’s new friend is almost 9 months old. I moved Rissa to my lap and then sat her on the tabletop so the girls could sorta play together.

Things went pretty well for about a half hour or so until Rissa started crying. She escalated quickly, making me all flustered. I tried patting her back while reassuring her, I tried to nurse her… I tried bouncing and swaying her.

Nothing worked. Or, at least, nothing worked longer than a few seconds.

She wailed – face red and tears. My face was red and I was near tears. I packed us up to go, my ears burning. Our new friend reassured me it was ok, but I still felt awful. Rissa kept crying. I sat in the backseat of my car for who knows how long, rocking and nursing her. She quieted and fell asleep. I let her snooze for a bit before transferring her to the carseat.

I think she was caught in the perfect storm of tired, hungry, and overstimulated. It also seems like her fussy time is in the afternoon. I felt exhausted. All thoughts of doing some errands on the way home went right out the window.

How I felt while I couldn’t calm her:

  • Like all eyes were on me
  • Like everyone was judging me
  • Like her cry was the loudest sound in the world – it filled my ears! I could hear little else.
  • Vulnerable

Being a parent is a constant challenge. Being a first time parent can make you doubt yourself like you’ve never doubted yourself before!

Do you remember your child’s first public meltdown?


Tuesday 8th of March 2011

I felt bad for those other people! lol

Things That Keep me Sane

Sunday 6th of March 2011

This is just one of many! You'll get so used to it and most likely, the people felt bad for you! Heather


Saturday 5th of March 2011

I'm glad I'm not alone! I definitely have a newfound empathy when I see other parents out with crying kids.


Friday 4th of March 2011

Ahhh, sorry the both of you had such a bad experience. I remember lots of new mom feelings that I couldn't do anything right for the people around me. At the end of your post you proved to yourself, that you knew why things didn't go quite as you had hoped & I am sure next time your outing will be much smoother when you avoid the triggers you identified. My baby is 15 & my oldest is 23, so been there done that, long ago. Have a great weekend, I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for following me from hop.


Xenia @ Thanks, Mail Carrier

Friday 4th of March 2011

Thankfully I can't remember my daughter's first public meltdown, but I'm sure I felt exactly the same way. Even though it has happened to everyone, it's still just so horrible when it's happening to you.

Also, I completely agree on being annoyed when people don't hold the door for strollers. Common sense!

Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great weekend!