We took the Boy out for a toddle in the park, then lunch, then shopping. He did pretty well; he didn't have as much freedom to wander around as he wanted (two weeks ago he refused to walk unless he was holding a parental finger, but he now does his "talk to the hand" routine if we try to get him to walk hand in hand), but he was constantly entertained by other extended family members until the post-lunch shopping.
Up until now, he has been entertained by seeing things in town. But I think these days are gone.
He wants to be doing.
I dashed about the big pharmacist, a fancy accessories shop, and then we went to the Lego shop.
The Lego shop was hot, and noisy, and brightly lit, and busy. I was buying for a younger relative who had cunningly asked me for something she must have known was just a bit over budget. Given the number of extended relatives and the need to be fair, I couldn't buy her this and stay in budget, so had to dash around the shop finding acceptable.
Meantime, I suggested my husband let the Boy out to walk around and look at the play tables.
I finally found something, attempted to buy it, realised my credit card was in my coat pocket which was in the pram, retrieved the card and said to my husband we were good to go, then queued again and paid.
By the time I got back, the Boy was roaring blue murder. He didn't want to go in the pushchair and was arching his back and shouting "RAAAH! RAAAH! RAAH!"
He had apparently made a beeline for the Duplo table, then done a circuit of the shop, then returned to the Duplo. My husband had tried and failed to retrieve the Lego store Duplo from him, and I had to grab him off them and return them while my husband held him.
It did help that another, slightly older woman in the shop gave me a knowing smile when I was wrestling him for the Duplo, and then started giggling when he completely refused to go in the pram. I know this sounds like Bad Parenting and that you should somehow be able to force them to bend to your will, but really, if a boisterous toddler starts employing the sort of tactics used by peace protestors when they're being arrested (making themselves go dead, wriggling, refusing to be restrained), you've kind of had it.
I did offer to buy Duplo but by that point it would have meant a) giving in to a tantrum and b) queuing in the hot, sweaty shop while the Boy raged.
All the time, the "RAAH! RAAH! RAAH!" was going on.
I picked him up and carried him away from the shop and, seeing as he was wriggling to get off, I put him on his feet (remember, he only started walking with no adult stabiliser very recently).
He immediately started weaving a crazy path through the shopping centre, still shouting "RAAAH!" and refusing to acknowledge me. I followed him.
I know there's this worry when toddlers kick off that it is terribly stressful; but really, I thought it was more funny than anything else (is this Bad Parenting? I thought that as long as he wasn't actually hurting anyone, no-one was hurting him, and he was merely going in for public humiliation, that no harm would be done).
I did get slightly worried when he veered into a mobile phone shop full of attractive, expensive and breakable gadgets that I'd either trigger an aftershock tantrum by refusing to let him touch anything, or a sales assistant would ask what we were doing and I'd have to explain the whole Duplo/anger situation, but by that point the rage had almost petered out.
I scooped him up and, after some token resistance to being strapped in to his pushchair, he seemed happy with some milk. And has been fine for the rest of the day.
Well, lesson learned. Try to figure in more child friendly things, and let him walk more in between times. And never take him to big, shiny, noisy toy shops without buying anything.