Toddlers and Spectacular Tantrums.
But no matter, it was a warm and sunny day. I don't mind standing in line, especially when I can people watch. And by golly did I get the price of a full ticket today.
At the head to the line was old woman, behind her an impatient taxi driver (he'd parked him taxi slap bang in the middle of the cycle lane and put his hazards on)
Next a well dressed man with a paper who sighed and glanced at his watch a lot.
Then a mother, with a small baby on one hip and a toddler/small boy * standing beside her.
I"m not sure how it happened really, but there is a plastic stand full of jellies near where she was standing and I'm sure that had something to do with it. I'm sure I heard her say, 'No Noel, put that back.'
Noel-said toddler countered with. 'Cannnoiii getoneodem?"
'No.' said his mom, rather mildly I thought.
Well sweet fucking chulutha. I'm not sure what the child heard, perhaps voices in his head, perhaps faeries-invisible to the grown-up eye- suddenly started pulling his hair and stinging him with wands made from bees or something, because the next thing this... SOUND came out of him.
I can't describe it really, it was a howling keening rising wailing caterwaul. It started hoarse and ratched up in seconds into an ear-splitting, eyebrow raising screech of such agonized pain and fury that I for one smooched my bread in terror.
The man with the paper jumped mid-sigh and even the taxi driver looked startled.
I shook out my bread and stepped backwards. We all backed away a little.
But it was remarkable, he kept at it. He just stood there, eye scrunched up tight, fists balled, face as red as a lobster, making that sound.
And his mother, she wiped dribble from her baby's chin with a hanky, and stood gazing at some cards on a display rack.
Was she deaf?
THe old lady finally paid for her goods and moved off. The taxi dude was next. The line moved forward, or rather some of the line did. The mother tried. I was stymied.
She held out her hand.
'Noel come on, hold Mammy's hand.'
Clearly Noel heard, 'Hey fuckface, I'm going to kick you really hard and then I'm going to rip up all your comics and melt your action men and you'll never have sweets again, EVER!'
He must have heard that, there is no other reason for him to do what he did next, which was pitch himself straight onto the floor and kick and scream with wild abandon.
I'd never seen anything like it, it was like he was simultaneously being electrocuted and racked at the same time, stiff, crazy ass wiggling, stiff, crazy ass wiggling, and all with the noise, oh the noise. I swear I can still hear it.
His mother tried lifting him, but he wouldn't have it so the poor woman let me go ahead of her while she dealt with the small explosion that was her son. So grateful was I that, with tears in my eyes, I stepped over the writhing ball of rage and then fled the shop with nary a backwards glance lest I be turned to a pillar of salt.
I could hear him for quite some time. My teeth ache, my jaws still haven't fully unclenched.
My god, is that normal? Do small children do stuff like that on a regular basis? If that was my son I"d have fled. Or threatened to end his suffering right then and there. How could she have been so calm? Maybe she was deaf too. Or on Xanax.
yes, that must be it.
* when does the toddler stage end?