Beyond Our Ability

I was at the zoo on Saturday.

Among the thrilled people were some people having pint sized melt downs.  One little girl was in the throes of a walking/sobbing/not having any of this melt down.  Her momma was whispering things with that urgent ‘you best be listening to me Little Miss’ mommatude that only momma’s can have.

I don’t know how long the ‘walking/sobbing/not having any of this melt down’ had been occurring before I happened upon them.  But it wasn’t long before momma picked up the little one in a pseudo-hug and I heard her whisper to her “you better pull it together…now”.

She gently set the child back on her feet.

And continued on.

I really felt for the child.  Because I cannot recall one single incident in life where someone told me to pull it together and like magic, I did.  Or stop crying, and I could.   Or it will get better, and it just did.

Sometimes things are just beyond our ability, in the moment, to do anything other than feel how we feel.

And yes, I’ve been that momma too.

Sorry I learned this lesson a little too late.

Maybe A Nap Will Help

40 thoughts on “Beyond Our Ability

  1. Mom’s have meltdowns too, shame and fear and all sorts of things and as adults there is a message that YES we can just clamp down on that stuff and keep on a happy mask of yes, i am enough so you don’t have to look this way–unless you want to heap praises onto me.


  2. So sad for the little girl to have a melt down at such a fun place – a ZOO! I can feel the frustration that the mamma has too. I wish I had had foresight when raising my children. I would have been such a better parent! 🙂


  3. There isn’t much you can do when a melt down occurs, I guess just like us older people feeling upset. It’s funny we expect the little ones to just feel better when we can’t either! nice one Colleen!


  4. Awww, such a cute scene. I have never been a mother (yet) but am certainly not a stranger to a ‘pint sized’ (LOVE how you described that!) meltdown. When my youngest brother was just a wee tot of two years old he screamed his lungs out all the way through the mall because my mother wouldn’t give him an ice-cream cone after he dropped it, she put it in a cup instead. We were in Dubai at the time and everybody stared at us and some people said ‘for goodness’ sake give him what he wants!’ and ‘poor thing, what is she doing to him!’. But my gosh those screams! Hahah, poor mums and certainly poor wee tots who don’t really understand and sometimes can’t make us understand why they are upset 🙂


    • None of us can temper ourselves to match another’s moods can we? Or even understand them sometimes. My grandson sat on the ground at one point. Everyone was frustrated. I told them to go on ahead, and I just stood there with him until he was ready to get up. 🙂


  5. My heart goes out to the little one’s who want and the Mom’s/Dad’s trying to teach them instant gratification doesn’t always happen. I don’t know what the situation was, was the child in pain physically, was she throwing a temper tantrum, how old is the child…we base our reaction on the cause. It is my experience there is far too much instant gratification these days especially with our young ones and the outcome is not looking promising. Go ahead Mom’s toss your tomatoes :)…I raised a son to be self reliant, loving, kind, caring, unspoiled, hard working…I must have done something right. Thought provoking article Chatter, made me think!


    • Thank you Heart. You’re right, none of us know that child’s thoughts and feelings and experiences for that moment. But she was in “a” mood. And that appeared to put momma in a mood, or vice versa. And momma wasn’t mean or unpleasant, just matter of fact and not going to deal with it. It still made me want to pick her up and carry her. Probably because I thought it was tiring for her.

      But the instant gratification thing? Yeah…’s too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Why was the mom in such a hurry? A zoo would be a perfect place to sit and let everybody calm down. It is embarrassing when you are on display in public and you have an upset child/dog/spouse. Been there, done that, and have the wrinkles to prove it! Hindsight being perfect, I would take the time to calm things down. My sons are happy adults, but I could have managed upsets better. That’s why grandparents are awesome. We have experience.


    • I don’t know that the mom was in a hurry, but they weren’t stopping. I don’t know any more than what I saw. And fortunately it made me pause when one of the little ones we were with had his own little melt down which ended with him sitting on the sidewalk. I let him sit until he was ready to get up. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the excellent points and reminders, Colleen! Time-outs appear to help to give many children the time to calm down and collect themselves. Taking a child out of a restaurant when they’re melting down has also seemed to work well for most kids (and the other patrons are often very grateful!)


  8. I have been that mum, Colleen.. one look, that pseudo hug 😉 and a firm whisper “get it together” on an airplane. None of it worked with my youngest, who would promptly fix me with her ‘I’m not done yet’ look and get on with the sobbing. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore, I sat her on my lap, allowed all and sundry to glare at me( small spaces aren’t good for sobbing littlies) and let her have that moment. She did. It did not happen again. We traveled a lot with my girls… long flights never help.
    I do love the bears – We went to see Jungle Book this weekend. Baloo always makes me smile and this photo reminded me of him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do feel like my Mom and Dad were “saints” and rarely told us to stop crying. I was sometimes the one who said, “Get over it,” or “Please try to relax and enjoy the birds, or point to something to distract them. . . ”
    My parents did ask us to go somewhere else to get over our grieving which is nearly impossible at a zoo. But there are green spaces, with grass, a bench to sit on or the pretty lakes to look at and relax. It is very hard to shake whatever gets us “down”, no matter what age we are, Colleen!


  10. It can be as difficult for adults to understand the reasoning behind a child’s mood/emotions as it is vice versa. Sometimes not focusing on the why, but rather on making sure children know their feelings are valid–even when it’s difficult to understand why they’re having them–the feelings are real to them, as unjustifiable as it may be for someone not in their heartplace.

    Those are often the times we all need reminding there’s a choice to find the happiness in the moment too. These ‘meltdowns’ rarely occur at opportune teaching times of course, but in the long run a little patience and compassion in the now can be of benefit in the future.

    I have never been commanded out of a bad mood, sad place, and don’t think there’s an age or type of person who responds well to such demands in those moments. I have been the impatient mother who insisted on an immediate change of attitude though. Still living and learning…

    Love your thought provoking posts Colleen 🙂

    Hugs, Melissa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Melissa. Yes, we are all capable of these feelings and meltdowns. Child or adult.

      I’ve been ‘told’ to cheer up, get over it, deal with it, etc. Sometimes we just need to ‘feel’ it and be done with it.



  11. I do not have children but I can see how that can happen. Still, maybe the bears are right and best to just chill for a day? Maybe the little girl relaxed more seeing sleeping teddy bears?


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