So, during a game miniature golf on our vacation, Jena had a meltdown. A major, gigantic, uncharacteristic-of-her meltdown.
It all surrounded a hole where you had to get your ball up a steep (miniature golf steep) hill. Jena, using her one-handed technique, tried 5 times and never came close. Nor did she want help. She loudly did not want help.
Proceed to meltdown.
At first, we were concerned. Jason & I looked at each other, and I mouthed "is she sick?". Because, that my friends, is about the only time you get a completely unwarranted tantrum out of Jena (well, now. When she was younger... Lord help us all)
So I sat on the ground, invited her into my lap, and talked to her for a bit. She calmed down, and was ready to try again. Giving up is not something that I want to encourage, and not something she does naturally. She's persistant, that one.
While we were talking, the others had gone ahead, and Grandpa had moved her ball to the top of the hill. She frowned, picked up her ball, and announced that she was going to the next hole. As I was opening my mouth to encourage her to try again, her announcement was met by a chorus of encouragement from all three of her grandparents:
"That's a great idea, let's move on!"
"Sometimes it's okay to skip hard things!"
and my personal favorite
"Giving up is a great idea! You can just do the next one!"
I kid you not. Her grandparents encouraged her to give up. I shook my head, and moved on. She already had, and seemed happy, as did everyone else. Maybe not every moment has to be about a life lesson.
So we moved on. Did I mention this hole was around hole 5? Of an 18-hole course?
Original meltdown aside, she made it thru the rest of the course, but not without some resistance, some back-talk, and just a generally bad attitude. We'd correct her behavior, only to have her repeat it again.
And then... we were done. We were on the last hole. She was so excited that she was the first one whose ball disappeared down the hole. We're almost done, we're happy... until she announces that she wants to play again and doesn't want to turn her club in. We inform her that we're done and moving on to more super-fun stuff on our vacation.
She runs off, about 10 feet away from us, still in our view, and curls herself into the side of a hedge, and cries. And I mean sobs.
At this point, I'm still concerned that she might be sick, and am perfectly willing to let her cry it out until we're all ready to leave.
Jason was not. He had had enough of her attitude, and was especially not happy with her running off, even if it weren't that far.
He went to get her, and when she saw him coming... she ran.
He finally caught her, and what ensued was not pretty. Lots of screaming. The kind that draws the attention of the other people on the course, no matter which hole they were at. Necks craned to see what the fuss is about.
To be honest, this whole scene was difficult for me. Very, very hard.
You've gotta remember, with his firefighter schedule, plus running a side business, I do 99% of the parenting in our household. And we have very different methods for dealing with her.
The grandparents found a couple of benches about 50 feet away, out of sight, in the shade, and retired there. I stayed at first, listening.
It was very, very hard for me to not intervene. But I didn't. I let my husband be her dad and parent her.
I stayed until she caught sight of me. Because at that point she started struggling against him even harder, reaching out her arms, and screaming for me.
And so, when she wasn't looking, I disappeared behind a building and joined my parents on the benches.
But before I left, I snapped this picture:
Can you see them? He's wearing a green shirt, back facing us, in the middle of the flowers. She's on his lap, but not happy about it.
Something inside me said this was a moment. As painful as it was, it was something to be remembered. And so I pulled out my camera, and clicked.
Eventually (hours, it must have been, or so it seemed) they rejoined us, and we finally left that attraction. Finally.
We finished the day tantrum-free. And I think we all learned a lesson that day.
Mine was a reminder that he is her dad. Oh sure, we know it, but with him being gone so much, and me consequently handling the vast majority of parenting items, it's good to have little reminders now and again.
My husband, is her dad.