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Jenna Bush Hager recalls daughter's 'humiliating' meltdown during shopping trip

Little Mila turns 4 today, but the celebration got off to a rocky start during a shopping trip with former first lady Laura Bush and the Secret Service yesterday.
/ Source: TODAY

We’re sending out special birthday wishes to Jenna Bush Hager’s daughter Mila, who turns 4 today! It’s time to celebrate a new year of her life, and a fresh start. It’s exactly what she and her mom need after what they both went through yesterday.

It seems Mila had very public meltdown during a shopping trip. Jenna shared the “humiliating” but hilarious story with Kathie Lee Gifford on TODAY this morning.

Jenna explained that she brought Mila with her to a shoe store, where she was picking up new footwear for her other daughter, 1-year-old Poppy. Also along for the trip: former first lady Laura Bush, in town for Mila’s birthday, and the Secret Service.

At the store, Mila — on a “sugar high” after a birthday party at school, according to Jenna — spotted a pink watch that she really, really liked. “Oh, I always wanted this,” she declared to her mom.

When Jenna told Mila she wouldn’t buy the watch for her, Mila “threw a huge fit.”

“It was so humiliating,” Jenna said.

Surely there was some temptation to give in to Mila to calm her down, but that wouldn’t jibe with Jenna’s approach to parenting.

“Had she not thrown the fit, she probably would’ve gotten it. But you throw a fit, you don’t reward,” Jenna reasoned.

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Of course, when you don’t reward, you have an unhappy child on your hands.

“We’re walking down the street, I’m carrying her scooter, she’s kicking, ‘I wanted that watch forever, you’re so mean,’” Jenna said. “And then the Secret Service are trailing, people are saying, ‘Oh, Laura Bush.’”

Not something the Secret Service has to deal with every day, we imagine. Still, Jenna doesn’t regret the way she handled things: “You can’t give in.”

“I think it’s lousy parenting, personally,” Kathie Lee teased in response.

The whole episode landed Mila in a timeout. Let’s hope today goes more smoothly for her. Enjoy the day, Mila!

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