do I look like a kidnapper?

My stressed out and run down body pleaded this morning to stay in bed. I ignored its cries and hit the gym. Mentally, I felt triumphant. Physically, I felt dreadful.

That was four hours ago. And now I feel suicidal.

I exaggerate. Crawling under the nearest rock will do.

It's the last weekend of summer so I thought maybe some fresh air would help get my blood pumping. And Dad2Amara was stopping at the bookstore so I seized the opportunity to perhaps indulge in a few good reads.

Amara loves the bookstore. Bedtime stories are a ritual. Books are stuffed in every nook and cranny in her playroom. As parents, we wanted to foster a love for words.

So imagine my surprise when I caught up with Dad2Amara and our daughter. Amara had a pile of books she wanted to buy. And Dad2Amara was in no mood to purchase the entire children's section. We explained to Amara she could buy one book. And that's when it happened.

Amara threw her body to the ground. She sobbed. She pulled at her hair. She kicked. She screamed. She bit (me).

My daughter has never acted this extreme. Embarrassed, I couldn't imagine her behavior any worse.

I was wrong.

Amara proceeded to yell. So I lifted her, attempting to carry her out to the car. Her shrieks became audible to every shopper.

"Let go of me! I don't want to go with you!"

Strangers began to stare at the shady Asian woman with the large sunglasses who was trying to cart a four-year-old girl out of the store. One book lover rounded the corner, checking on the preschooler's well being. An employee readily arrived in our section, "reshelving" some items. But her watchful eye remained heavy. On me.

"You can't take me! Let me go!"

Amara squirmed out of my hands and darted across the store. Dad2Amara and I found her hiding underneath a table.

We surrounded her and were finally able to drag her from beneath the display. Coincidentally, the same alert employee was back, dusting a shelf near periodicals.

Dad2Amara literally tossed Amara over his shoulder, and we raced out of the store. Amara was still screaming as we forced her into her car seat. Passersby were pointing and whispering, obviously aware of my daughter's pleas to be freed. And as we drove past the bookstore's entrance, a security guard was carefully watching us depart.

Amara caused a scene. I get that. But please show me a four-year-old child that hasn't thrown a tantrum. Must parents be subjected to harsh judgement when all they want is to make a quick getaway before a bad dream becomes a nightmare? Once a child howls bloody murder, don't they think a child abductor would dash for the nearest exit? Do I look like a kidnapper?

Amara's in her bedroom, banished for the rest of the evening. And I left the store without my books. Not a good day at all.


  1. OMG! I have had this experience more times than I can tell you. I have 4 kids, but only 1 gives me this kind of drama. Give me a lowly terrorist anyday rather than a headstrong 5 year old. Margeaux has gotten better since she turned 5 last February, but every now and again she presses me to snap her in two. I am a fan of Laurie of not just about cancer blog and I saw she tagged you and me, so I thought I come check you out. Hang in there Sister-mom, your no kidnapper.

  2. Ethan's starting a little now too. He's happy and huggy and playful, then in an instant is burrying his fat face in the carpet, gushing tears and slobber, and screaming like a banshee...
    Fun times.
    Can't wait for more.

  3. LOL... well, I'm glad you all survived that!!!
    My sister's friend's daughter used to throw tantrums in the store and she'd actually yell, "Somebody help me! Somebody help me!" Complicating this situation was the fact that my sister's friend is white, and her daughter's father is black, and some people didn't even make the connection that the child was her daughter!
    I guess as long as someone doesn't run up to you yelling, "Oh my God, let go of my baby!" everyone will figure out that the kid is supposed to be with you!

  4. Lovebabz - Amen, sista! I can handle a terrorist but a preschooler? At least the terrorist would have pretended to negotiate!

    Nicki - I thought for sure everyone in the store saw Amara as a "white" girl and thought the shady Asian was out to abduct her!

    Kate - Just you wait, my friend!

  5. OMG! I think we've all been there! When it happened to me not too long ago, I sat down with my Sweetie (although at the time, I considered her anything but sweet) and had a heart to heart. "Do you want the police to take you and give you to another family? That is what they are going to do if you yell like that again. If you let people believe that I'm hurting you or kidnapping you..." The conversation was more elaborate than described here but I think she got the point.

  6. Hey, remember when Maya told the daycare that I slap and punch her in the face? (the child has never even been spanked in the bum and had not one sign of evidence of this little tidbit that she shared in circle time)I literally went home with tears running down my face!

  7. To make you feel a smidge better, here's a story: a friend whose 4-year old threw a tantrum in the mall and was rolling on the floor crying actually *dislocated* his elbow when my friend attempted to drag him to his feet by the arm. She had to take him to the ER. She thought Child Protective Services was on its way to arrest her in the hospital waiting room. Luckily, all the doctors were like, "Oh, we see this thing all the time! Tantrum on the floor and you tried to get him to stand up by tugging on his arm, right?"

  8. PS: And I so know what you mean about the Shady Asian Woman-White Child thing. I feel it too -- all the time! I have a friend who lives in Singapore where all the yayas are Pinay. Whenever she goes out with her kids, even just to the grocery store, she decks out in all her jewelry so they won't mistake her for the nanny and call the cops on her when she's trying to discipline her kids in public.

  9. Karmela - OMG, dislocating an elbow? I guess I'm lucky Amara was elusive because I would bet this would happen to us!

  10. My older son, S., has never had a temper tantrum. This made me quite smug, as part of me chalked this up to my superior parenting.
    Then, along came D. to set me right.
    At least it makes good blog fodder. ;-)

  11. this story reminds me of my experience at disney world last year with my then 3yr old. as she had her 1hr meltdown at the entrance of the ladies room at animal kingdom, women were bringing me cold wet paper towels. not for her but for me.

    some children are easier than others. my second child is waayy easier (temperament) than the first. thank god.

  12. My youngest son has started throwing fits!! At first I was not sure what he was doing ( his 2 much older brothers never did this)..The worst for me happens when we are out in town( We are Americans living in Japan) I feel like all the Japanese people are watching me wondering what on earth I am doing to upset my son. I hope he outgrowns this phase soon..

  13. I'll put the 4 year old meltdown up against a 2 year old meltdown any day!


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