A Handful in Public

Posted in Toddler by

While I think it’s a silly thing to say, my son seems to fit the stereotypical phrase, “He’s all boy!”

He loves dirt, collects rocks, and climbs anything in sight.

"He's All Boy!"

(I feel the need to say here that I want my kids to be involved in what they love. If my son wants to play with dolls, so be it. If he likes to wear his sister’s hand me downs, excellent, saves me some money. Basically, he’s free to be whatever he wants to be. It’s just, for now, he wants to dig in the dirt and eat it…which may be more of a “toddler” thing, rather than a “boy” thing…)

"He's All Boy!"

The first time he had an injury that involved blood, he was between six and nine months old, my daughter was two.

When it comes to getting into things and causing a disaster in my house, he’s all over it. In short, this kid is a handful.

It doesn’t just stop at home.

He is a handful in general. Everywhere we go.

I know being a “handful” is different for everyone, but in my experience, in my world, this kid is a handful in public.

A Handful in Public

I can only compare him to his sister and she was/is so easy while we’re out.

During her “Terrible Twos” she only flipped out in the comfort of our own home. The boy, not so much. He has big emotions, anytime, anywhere.

Before R was born, I took Z to story time every week, she was a perfect angel. The other day, I took the kids to story time and my adorable little guy was all over the place running over kids. He kept trying to get into the closets, (at the front of the room, in front of a LOT of people.) I had to grab him a few times, while sporting a very red face. Each time, he would cry and squirm.

Then he tried to run out of the room so he could explore the library. Again with the crying and squirming when I grabbed him.

Lastly, he went for the gigantic tub of crayons on a table across the room from me and started pulling at it. That was my final straw. I got to leave the library in the middle of story time with two screaming children. R was crying because I was carrying him and Z was crying because she wanted to stay.

When you’re at the grocery store and you hear a kid testing out their voice by yelling and screaming for fun, that’s my kid. While he’s screaming, he’s undoubtedly trying to stand up in the shopping cart, even though he’s strapped in.

Lately, when I make plans to go somewhere with the kids, I get an knot in the pit of my stomach, and my throat seems to constrict. I don’t want to do it. Even when my husband is going with us. It makes it much easier for sure, but still, we never know what kid we’re going to get.

"He's All Boy!"

Will he be sweet today? Or will he continually try to climb out of his high chair at the restaurant?

We never once had an issue with Z while eating out. R, on the other hand, has no problem screaming his head off if he wants to do something else, (never mind all the fun activities we have to entertain him.)

For my husband’s birthday we went to his favorite restaurant. Our little guy was misbehaving so badly, my husband had to take him outside. So much for an enjoyable family dinner out…for the next few years!

I think now is the time for us to adapt. We’ll continue to take him out, but we’ll be pickier about where we go. Maybe not restaurants as often, we’ll save those mini spending sprees for date night. We’ll go to parks a lot more (thank you, nicer weather!!), and stick to places where kids are expected to be kids.

"He's All Boy!"

As for story time, I’m going to keep trying. It’s one of my daughter’s favorite activities and I don’t want to keep that from her-and I know he loves it too, we just need to work on his behavior.

Now I just have to suck it up, swallow that enormous lump in my throat, and smile really big. Maybe nobody will notice I’m on edge.

How do your little ones do in public? Have you had to adapt your outings? Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Previous Post Next Post


  • Reply Jil

    oh I hear you!!
    When friends or neighbors ask us over for dinner in their home, I get really nervous. I never know how it will go down or how many of their possessions will end up covered in milk or food 🙂
    Yes…let’s be thankful for spring and summer coming!!! Parks and back yards, here we come!!

    April 15, 2015 at 5:40 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Yes, exactly! I am so thrilled for outside weather, he can run and scream all he wants! 🙂

      April 15, 2015 at 6:25 am
  • Reply Jaya Pandey

    I can so very much relate to your story. My daughter is da same like ur boy. Especially when we go out, she is all over the place, most of the times. Its not easy but I am always glad to have my curious kid exploring the world, daring, learning and we are learning to roll along with her.

    April 15, 2015 at 7:23 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Absolutely! That is what I’m working on, learning how to roll with it. I agree, I love that my son is curious and he just wants to explore everything! It’s fun to learn new things through him!

      April 15, 2015 at 7:26 am
  • Reply Christine

    my 2 year old girl sounds just like your boy! It is so hard to take her anywhere. And now I am pregnant with a boy and at this moment can’t fathom taking both of them somewhere together! Good luck to you!

    April 15, 2015 at 7:28 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Oh my goodness! My daughter was two when my son was born. Luckily us mamas are made tough, so you’ll do great! Congrats on your little one!

      April 15, 2015 at 12:35 pm
  • Reply Theresa (Capri + 3)

    We have four 4 year-old children with a range of personalities and capacities to have public meltdowns. We have left restaurants with all four of them twice due to behavior and have gone out dozens of times successfully. They have learned that when we threaten a consequence such as leaving, we will follow through. We don’t give in to the behavior as painful as it is for all of us! The leaving the restaurant incidents after quickly paying the check and getting ‘to go’ boxes can still put knots in our stomachs when we think about them. Not fun! But…well worth it. They are angels for the next dozen times after that.

    April 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      You’re pretty much a superhero. Four 4 year olds can take a toll, I imagine. Thanks for the great tip, we’ll just have to be consistent and stick to our guns. Eventually, he’ll figure it out.

      April 15, 2015 at 12:37 pm
  • Reply Rachael Boley

    Your sweet pea and my youngest would be best best crazy friends I think haha. The twins are much more mild mannered than him…although they have their moments and have begun entering the threenager phase. But Luke is wild and wooly all the time! Story time would give me a pit in my stomach with him too… He typically does ok in the grocery store actually! Hallelujah for that! At least there’s never a dull moment! ☺

    April 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Oh man! Wouldn’t that be fun? Introducing our boys and just let them go? See what they would do? Haha! I’m glad the twins are more mild-that threenager phase can be pretty fun though…Absolutely never a dull moment!

      April 15, 2015 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    Oh man! I dread taking my daughter to school in the morning because my son is often crying and won’t get in his carseat. The other day he cried and screamed as I walked her into school and then for a half hour after. Everyone was staring at me. I can’t wait until summer. =) I usually get to my daughter’s school a half an hour early so I can get the closest spot possible. The best thing I can do is be really prepared and make sure he gets a lot of sleep and has a snack on the way to pick her up.

    April 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      That sounds about right! The screaming and the stares. So frustrating! I usually bring snacks wherever we go, but maybe I need to bring more.

      April 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply CourtneyLynne

    I am so thankful my daughter is pretty well behaved in public! That’s why I’m scared to ever have another kid… All kids can be a pain, but she’s pretty well behaved for the most part compared to other kiddos & even sleeps well, eats well etc… I know that my next kid would be the total opposite and I would probably go insane not knowing what to do lol….

    April 16, 2015 at 7:41 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Yep, our kids are total opposites! I never thought I would get uptight about having to run errands. Hopefully it won’t last long…

      April 16, 2015 at 7:49 am
  • Reply Tessa

    I hadn’t reached the age where this was a problem until lately. My daughter, now 2 1/2, is super well-behaved, but just recently, she’s started pushing her limits. And by pushing her limits, I mean not listening to see if she gets disciplined or we follow through.–which we do, each time–but it’s started to bleed into going out in public. She’ll walk ahead of me or act out and won’t stop when ask until I have to confront her, in public. Which I DESPISE doing. I’m hoping it ends soon!

    April 16, 2015 at 9:02 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Same thing with us. It’s so frustrating! I hate having to discipline in public because everyone is so judgmental! I’m either too hard on him or not hard enough. I can definitely do without the ‘looks’.

      April 16, 2015 at 9:07 am
  • Reply MrsMuffinTop ™ (@TheMrsMuffinTop)

    I don’t have “tips” but I’ve managed by turning down invitations where I know it will be difficult: either for me to regulate my lil guy, or for him to sit still and be quiet. Some friends won’t understand…but then again, are they the friends you want??

    April 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Very good point! I may be using that in the near future. If I don’t think it’s a place for him, we just won’t go!

      April 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply Natalie

    My kids rarely go out in public, for said reasons above, haha. Ain’t no body got time for that!

    April 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Oh, no! Not just one kid?! Bummer!

      April 16, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Leave a Reply

    You may also like