I’ve often pitied mums trying to get temperamental toddlers to calm down when they suddenly have a meltdown in a busy shop.
You try to look away to not add to the poor woman’s stress – but it’s difficult not to gawk at the kid kicking and screaming as the mum desperately tries to hold her child down in the pram.
The other day it was my turn to be pitied and gawked at when William had his first temper tantrum in a well-known department store in town.
He’s done it a few times at home recently – screamed at the top of his voice and thrown himself down on the floor.
All because I’ve stopped him walking around with a drumstick in his hand in case he falls and impales himself on it.
Or because he’s eaten all of his choice of snack at the moment – cold sweetcorn.
Or maybe I’ve handed him a red car instead of a blue one – which, of course, warrants a sudden outburst.
It’s not so bad when you’re at home, ignoring him lying on the floor means the tantrum is over and forgotten about in a minute and he’s back to playing happily.
But it’s a whole different story when you’re out in public.
This particular meltdown came about purely because he wanted to walk one way – towards the ladies’ handbags, naturally – and I was trying to walk towards the lift to get to the children’s department.
I wouldn’t mind, but the shopping trip was for him – all I wanted was to buy a pair of socks for the little chap.
So as I tried to walk left, he stuck his feet firmly to the floor and pulled right, leaving us at a stand-off surrounded by glamorous ladies trying to admire beautiful handbags while muttering ‘oh dear’ and ‘he’s determined to get his own way’ as they edged away.
Feeling myself becoming a crimson shade of red from embarrassment, I picked him up and bundled him into his pram, scurrying to the lift where I could calm him down behind closed doors.
And calm he became... until I picked up a pack of socks which weren’t to his liking!