Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

One. Last. Time.

Don't let the innocent expression fool you!


Our eldest son had a world class talent.
World class.
If it had been an event in the Olympics, he'd have taken home the gold.
But there wasn't.
And he didn't.
Maybe I should explain . . .
Mark was born with the ability to throw a tremendous, colossal, stupendous, prodigious, enormous, fantastic, howling, mind-blowing tantrum.
I know that many children do.
Even some adults.
But no one has ever done it quite at the same level.
And he saved his best performances for when we were in public.
Usually in the toy section of the local department store.
Sigh.
When he was three, he gave his most memorable performance.
Well, I certainly can't forget it . . .
He wanted a toy.
I can't remember which one, but he wasn't getting it.
The family budget was already suffering chills and fever.
Any unnecessary purchases would have surely sent it into a coma.
We started to move away from said toy.
Mark realized that his begging and pleading had come to naught.
He dropped to the ground.
And began to flop around like a landed fish.
Then the screams started.
Ear-shattering. Air raid worthy.
Now, my Husby and I had learned that that proper way to handle a tantrum was to just keep walking.
Which we did.
To this point, it had never worked.
We discovered that Mark could flop and scream AND keep up with his moving parents.
See?
Skill and talent.
But this day was a little different.
This day, we had unexpected . . . help.
As we ducked around the corner, and before Mark could start after us, an elderly gentleman walked up to our writhing boy and stood there, looking down at him.
Mark finally realized that someone was standing beside him.
He opened his eyes.
To see a perfect stranger.
“I guess you'd better come with me,” the man said.
Tantrum instantly forgotten, Mark scrambled to his feet.
“MooooOOOOMMMMM!”
His father poked his head around the corner.
Mark ran to him and grabbed him about the knees in a grip fuelled by three parts fear and one part . . . okay, four parts fear.
My Husby silently looked at the man.
Both of them smiled.
And just like that, Mark's public tantrums were finished.
Oh, he still treated us to private performances, but never again were we humiliated in public.
We often think of that man.
A father?
Grandfather?
Whoever he was, his wisdom . . .
. . . and timing . . .
Were one of the greatest blessings of our parenting years.
I wish we could tell him.

17 comments:

  1. Hilarious. Of course, today the guy would've been detained by the cops.

    ReplyDelete
  2. An insightful and understanding gentleman, I think ...

    I do believe there is quite a resemblance between that picture and the one of you a few days ago with your black eye. Just in looks, not in tantrum-throwing-capability, you understand!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's definitely my boy! I could have learned so much from him . . .

      Delete
  3. My oldest son is a stereotypical redhead - and he had tantrums that were off the charts! Where was that elderly man when I needed him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could have hunted him down and sent him your way . . .

      Delete
  4. Ah I remember those days and still have the nightmares to prove it. Now he has his 2 little bundles of toddler tantrums a year apart and it brings a tear to my eye...oh that's laughter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When the youngest girl realized her tantrums, and other strategy's were not working she confronted her older sister.....the oldest apologized, saying "they've seen it all, sorry."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahahaha! The perils of being born second.

      Delete
  6. Just an amazing story! My mother told me that when I was around 2-3 years old that I took tantrums at home and in stores. I would scream and then hold my breathe and faint. One time when we were in a store she threw a little water in my face and the tantrums ended. However, now I hate to have any water in my face. Thanks for this one and the renewal of my memory. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faint??!! You little monkey! Your mother's solution was truly elegant.
      Obviously a lesson you have carried right into adult life! ;)

      Delete
  7. Wow! Every store should have such a man on their payroll!
    I had only one tantrum to deal with in all my toddler raising years. also three years old, my daughter wanted some lollies (sweets) and I said they'd be in the mixed bag I was buying to share after dinner. Not good enough. Screaming tantrum and I carried her out of the shop to calm down. She wanted her own separate bag and if the lollies were in the mixed bag then she just wouldn't have any. And she didn't. Not one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohh, man! I wonder if she remembers the lesson . . .

      Delete
    2. Sounds like a girl of strong principles, River! (or perhaps the stubbornness of age three?)

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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