If I Were Charlize Theron when a Bystander Called the Police for Disciplining Her Tantruming Son
I read with alarm the other day that Sean Penn and Charlize Theron had their morning hike at Vasquez Rocks in Santa Clarita, CA interrupted by cops after another hiker heard Charlize’s toddler, Jackson, screaming and accused them of mistreating him.
I was biting my lip worried that poor Sean had finally flipped his lid, but then I learned the real reason little Jackson started a screaming tantrum: because he was on a time-out and was not happy about it.
The hiker started filming and moved toward the child. Charlize told the woman not to go near Jackson (or in what my words would have been – “stay the blank away from my kid with your blankin, intrusive camera, you crazy bitch.”)
The good news for Sean and Charlize (and regular parents everywhere) the cops concluded that nothing happened (besides a tantrum) and that the time-out involved no physical contact. Whew.
It got me to thinking… if I were a celebrity, how many times could someone have called the cops on me based on my now five and a half year old daughter’s many tantrums throughout the years?
1. The time at the airport when my daughter didn’t want to eat her ‘yucky’ cheerios and threw them on the ground and hit me (she was a surprisingly strong two year old) saying she wanted her daddy (he was on line buying food that hopefully wasn’t deemed ‘yucky’). I held her hands to keep her from throwing and she pulled them out of mine and pushed me away as if it were a game. A handyman from the restaurant came by and asked if there was a problem. I said, “no and please don’t get involved." He was talking to a manager when my husband came back to the table and my daughter calmed down.
2. The time when she thought it would be a good idea to pick up a random piece of chewing gum from the floor of the hotel we were staying in and pop it in her mouth and I disagreed.
3. The time she went batshit crazy for ONE HOUR AND A HALF over her overwhelming need for Goldfish Crackers in Whole Foods. Nothing else would do but This. One. Specific. Food.
4. The time she didn’t like the seams of her shirt digging into her skin and said, “It hurts me. It hurts me,” over and over in the presence of at least 50 people at Target.
5. The time she had a meltdown when she wanted a particular stuffed animal at the store and there wasn’t any more left. No other one would do, and she kept saying “you don’t love me anymore” despite the fact that I told her I was not in charge of shipping at Target.
6. The time at the restaurant when she kept climbing up on the seat and I kept telling her to get down. When she ignored me, I finally pulled her down. At that point she jumped up and fell and glared at me and said I made her fall (um, no, she got back up by herself and then fell).
7. The time we were walking and I accidently stepped on the front of her sneaker because she was walking backwards and she lost her balance and in full view of an elevator of curious bystanders accused me of tripping her.
8. The time she wanted my food at Burger King, not hers and cried for hours over the fact that mean mommy wouldn’t share, because didn’t I know that “sharing was caring.”
9. The time she made a hole in her roly poly big enough for her neck to go through and I took it away. She had twisted it tight enough for a noose. She carried on like I had told her that Chuck E. Cheese was out of business.
10. The time I tied her shoelaces too big and she had a fit all the way down to the elevator.
11. The time I tied her shoelaces too small for her taste and she told people I was a “bad mommy.”
Glad I had the good luck not to run into that hiker. Or, I might be writing this from a jail cell. But I would have lots of company: every mom (and dad) who deals with their kids’ tantrums on a daily basis.
Oh yeah! I have one more thing to tell that lady who messed with Charlize Theron’s kid. Lady, take a Hike!
Estelle Erasmus is an author and former magazine editor who writes about a journalist’s transformative journey raising a young child in midlife on her award-winning blog Musings on Motherhood & Midlife. You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.