Toddlers are funny people. They can go from laughing to crying in 30 seconds. Toddlers are inquisitive, funny, intense, and lovable. They are truly a gift from God. They can, however, cause a lot of embarrassment in public. It seems that, when out and about with a toddler, things that they've never tried before seem fun and interesting to them. And, we, as parents are caught off guard.
You can't plan for everything- I certainly couldn't predict it when one of my kids (then 3 years old) decided to pull his pants down in Wal-mart. I didn't see it coming when one of my kids licked the glass (at least 4 feet of it) on the deli case at Wegmans. And, I certainly had no inkling that one of my kids would take a dirty sock, dip it in muddy water - and proceed to suck the water out of the sock and drink it. Yes, all of these things happened to us. The more kids you have, the more opportunity for embarrassment. The things I mention are all "unplanables". You can't plan on them happening and you have no idea when it's going to happen to you.
But, life with Toddlers has lots of "planables". You can plan on them happening to you, at least once, if your child is breathing. Planables are things like, running in the store, telling someone you won't be their friend, pushing, begging for things in the store, and many others.
Prepping your child before you enter a new situation can make or break your time- where you are going. So, before we get out of the van, we will tell our kids what is expected of them. Really, when you think about it, you wouldn't want to be on a new job without knowing what's expected of you. Yet, we get frustrated with our kids when they don't exhibit the expected behavior. Right before we get out of the van, I can say, "you are expected to keep your hands to yourself, speak quietly, and stay with me." I then tell them the positive things that they can do. For example, "you can help mommy weigh the produce, get items that mommy asks you to get, and if you're a really good listener, we can get a free cookie from the bakery." Obviously, different rules are used for different locations/tasks.
It is so crucial that when these rules are broken that there is a consequence. I will not tell you what that consequence should be because each child is different. Sometimes we used a consequence for a child that did not work and we had to find one that did. But, the point is, it must be consistent.
At one point, we had a child who would be good throughout the store and then be grumpy with the bakery lady because the cookie wasn't big enough. Guess what, no cookie until you can be thankful. Of course, we had to remind them that was expected before the next trip to the store.
So hang in there, and remember that they are a new person on the job who needs their instructions, confirmation, consistency, and LOVE.