Meltdown in 3…2…1…

For an entire week RR’s behavior has been spinning into chaos. She’s screaming at things that haven’t bothered her before (bugs), she’s screaming even when we tell her to stop (at the dog), she’s ignoring us when we ask her to do something (help, walk, shoes, stop screaming already for pete’s sake), she’s throwing an almost tantrum at bedtime when we stop reading (and physically grabbing at the book), she’s kicking and pouting and generally being an asshole.

As she says about anyone else behaving this way, she’s “mist-understood”.

Whereas on Friday I was wondering what got into her and how illegal it is to lock her out, I think the reasons are starting to surface. She went to visit her new camp yesterday, the first time she won’t be staying at her regular school for camp. On Tuesday, she is headed to her new school for a day-long visit, part of what they do with all incoming students. On Friday, her school holds an international luncheon which is a big event for the kids. They rehearse songs in many languages and have a family feast afterward. It’s the traditional indicator that school is almost over and it’s downhill from here.

Whether it’s  a symptom or is part of the cause, she had several accidents last week. On the bright side, I’ve noticed she’s actually dancing around and crossing her legs when she has to go. She’s never shown any signs like this before so I’m hoping we’re turning a corner. It’s stressful for me knowing that she’s going into a new environment with this issue and I worry that she won’t fit in or will be asked to leave. I know that’s unlikely (at least at the new school) but it’s keeping me up at night. Still, we remain neutral when an accident happens, ask her to change, and let her take responsibility for clean-up. It’s just the norm.

Last night she burst into tears at bedtime and wept about how she will miss her current teachers. My heart breaks for her (and for Debra and me too – this isn’t easy!). I think it’s a testament to our parenting that she was looking for solutions even as she cried, wondering if we might invite her teachers over for dinner.

I don’t know how to make this easier. We are giving her time to warm up to new situations before they happen since we’ve long since learned that she needs that attention to transitions. She’s visiting the new places she will be and she’s doing it with optimistic anticipation, if not outright enthusiasm. We let her take the lead and try not to push when it comes to meeting new people. Yesterday at camp, she tried things she hadn’t mastered before, like a short rock wall and a seated scooter. She also sunk down to draw with chalk at the first opportunity, relief practically oozing out of her. I don’t know what the new school will hold tomorrow since we won’t be by her side. That’s a good thing. At least until she comes home transformed into a terror.

I hadn’t even noticed how overwhelming it all must be. And now I feel bad for wanting to lock her out. A little. Let’s hope this isn’t a pattern until school starts in September and that there’s at least a little reprieve after camp gets into full swing.






9 Responses

  1. Change is hard. It is really, really hard.

    I may have locked my child out once or twice. Like the time she colored my white kitchen counter tops in marker and then went to play quietly in her room,where she was making soup with the contents of her bathroom cabinets. I had gone to the bathroom and swear to god, was gone 3 minutes. It was in her best interest to banish her.

    • I love white marker on white things…actually, any thing. It’s one of RR’s finest talents and what defines our entire third year of (lucky for her) life.

      • It was not white marker, it was blue marker on white counters. Permanent marker. Thank goodness for bleach. and bourbon. And backyard sandboxes that I ordered her to until her father came home.

      • And yes, Edie was three! Such a magical year. It’s a wonder we lived through it.

  2. Growing up is hard work. She a champ for sure. And she probably needs a bunny…or two.

    • Growing up is super hard work. Last night I apparently, in some way, at some point, laughed like a witch, pulling the entire bedtime ritual to a screaming (literally) halt. It was fun times.

  3. Have you tried essential oils?

    (Kidding. Really.)

    I hope she adapts before she drives you all up the wall! Normal kid reaction but still frustrating for the parents!

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