Thursday, October 23, 2014

To the Dad with the Screaming Toddler

To the Dad with the screaming toddler on the bus this morning:

You're doing a good job.

I sat next to you on the damp, crowded, stinky city bus while your little boy thrashed and screeched at the top of his lungs. You were juggling a diaper bag, a stroller, and a writhing toddler with disheveled hair, face red from wailing, snot running down his face.

As he howled "Nooooooo Daddy!" you continued to speak to him calmly and lovingly. In between back arches, you cuddled him close to you, brushed back his hair and rocked him.

When he threw himself onto the floor of the bus again and again, you diligently scooped him up, straightened his coat, retrieved his shoe, and expertly snatched the stroller before it went rolling down the aisle.

Other commuters glared at you in annoyance, not even attempting to conceal eye rolls and exasperated sighs. Because god forbid the silence of their morning coffee and daily news be interrupted by a child's tantrum.

A year ago, I might have been one of them...

But today, I smiled in encouragement and said, sincerely, "You're doing a good job."

You looked up in surprise and began trying to explain that your son is usually very calm and well behaved. You trailed off as he once again flopped onto the floor of the bus, sobbing and squirming.

"It's okay. You're doing a good job."

You didn't need to explain. I know enough now to realize that simply getting out of the house and onto the bus with that little boy was probably a small miracle.

Maybe you're going through a divorce and it's your first time dropping him off at daycare. Maybe he has an earache and you're taking him to the doctor. Maybe your car broke down and you don't have another option this morning. Maybe your wife is desperate for a break, so you've left the house for a few hours so she can get some relief.

It's none of my business.

All I know is that you're clearly doing the best you can, and that you love your son. He loves you too (and will show it when he eventually stops screaming). Don't let these assholes on the bus get you down.

You're doing a good job.

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  1. Love, Love, Love this post!!!!!!!!! Seriously - well said!! I'm a soon to be first time mom and this post put a whole different light on situations like that. Thank you! Thank you!
    Renee @

  2. <3 This post is wonderful! I'm sure you just made his day!

  3. Damn hormones !!! This post made me cry. I've been there before and man it can be so hard for a parent. I guarantee your kind words made that man feel just a little bit better :)

  4. i'm glad you said something! even if he was dumbfounded, and obv had a lot going on, it will hit him later. just the smallest words of encouragement is all we need sometimes/

  5. This made me tear up-- you are so sweet and I bet that dad needed to hear those words today :)

  6. Yep, I'm crying too...awesome post once again my friend!!

    1. Aw, thanks Sadie! I just hope that if Stewart is ever in that position someone will be just as kind to him. :-)

  7. I'm so glad you said something to this Dad. I agree, now that I have a child of my own, I completely understand. These littles can be so unpredictable and it can be extremely frustrating and defeating when none of the soothing methods work...I'm sure you made this Dad's day and lifted his spirits!

  8. It was so wonderful of you to actually say those words out loud to him. I'm 100% certain that he appreciated it! Definitely when I was pre-kid, I would have been one of those judgmental people too.

  9. This is such a sweet post! Totally made my frustrating Monday morning a little more bearable and not as frustrating. You are a sweetheart!

  10. I absolutely love this post! You never know the reason behind why the child is so upset, so I don't feel like it is okay to judge because of that. That is so wonderful that you were so kind to him!

  11. Poor guy! I don't have kids, but I have friends that have kids and I know that sometimes they just need to scream it out. No matter what you do or how hard you try. It just makes things worse when people are staring and you can feel how judgmental they are being. I'm sure your smile and kind words meant so much to him.


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