You know it will be a great day when, by 11am, you are ready to call it a day, pop a sleeping pill (or 10), and sleep until, I dont know, the next day sometime! (I'm kidding... I'm not popping sleeping pills or sleeping the day away, although passing out would have been nice!)
My mantra of the day: Remember- the bad days help you to gauge just how good the "good" days are, and it will get better.
In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a big deal, but I think with all the good stuff, having a morning like today's just hit me in the emotional spot (and having my period isn't helping since that makes me want to be weepier than normal anyway).
My mother-in-law has pneumonia, so the kids arent there today. We decided to do the full morning at our church playgroup, then home for some home school, lunch, nap, etc. The days is gorgeous, so I'm assuming we'll go for a walk this afternoon. Good plan. All is well. We leave the house, drop off some stuff at the library, and head to church, where we are going to walk over to the actual school to play on the playground. Woo Hoo! The kids will be thrilled! Whenever we drive by, Maya points and says "playground" and I explain how much fun they will have once they are in school and get to play on it. So this is a real treat.
We leave and start to walk over. Most of the parents/kids stop to chat with a former teacher and it's a bit tough to keep Bobby and Maya with the group so, at some point, I decide to keep walking and let them read the letters on the pavement (like "Fire Zone", "No Parking", that sort of thing), which they are enjoying. We get to the playground and all the kids have a blast. When it is time to go, we head back and, other than Bobby deciding he didnt want to cross the road, all is pretty well. Maya even made a little friend, and they held hands back into the indoor play area. Cute.
And that's about where it goes down hill for us.
We're fairly scheduled at home. (Go ahead, Mom; laugh... I know, I know... I always said no schedule and now I'm like an oiled machine.) They eat breakfast around 7/7:30 and have snack at 10am, before their 12/12:30ish lunch time. They know what "10" is on the clock, and they know it means FOOD. At this point, the kids are all washing hands, etc, and piling around the table. Bobby and Maya go sit and, I'm surprised, but are actually acting fairly well. (We're still getting the hang of "group activities").
Right up until what they thought were plates turned out to be shamrocks... For a craft. Yeah... Maya lost interest in about a minute when she realized there was no food coming. Bobby? There was no interest at all- there was screaming. I removed him from the table and explained that he needed to tell me his frustrations, not scream them out. I was able to calm him enough for him to say (and it was pitiful) "Snack???" and, even though I tried to explain that I knew he was hungry but we had to wait until craft was done, he just wasnt having it.
And I get it. I do. He was hungry. It was getting close to 10:30 and there was no food in sight. He'd had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and some water. He was hungry! Maya kept saying "Mama? Snack? Please?" It got to the point that I was rooting in my bag for something- anything- that might tide them over until the craft was done and it was snack time. I had a fairly crushed mum-mum and they were on that like flies on manure. When it was done, again, though, meltdown time for Bobby.
Finally, around 10:40, there was a call for snack, and the kids went to the table, where they had some crackers and cupcake, and all seemed well. Until Bobby realized that he wasnt getting more. By this time, I was done. I cleaned them up, cleaned up our area, and got them squared away and in the car, assuring them of bananas when we got home. I've never seen the two of them get out of the car and into the kitchen so fast as they positioned themselves by our fruit counter, chanting "banana" while I peeled and broke one in half. By the time they'd finished banana #2 (a half each, so a whole banana total), they were much happier. It was 11:15 and lunch was 45 minutes away, but I didnt even care that they'd eaten so late (and it turns out, they didnt either- they DESTROYED their lunch in less than 15 minutes). Right now, the home front is quiet and they are asleep. Probably dreaming of food!
But I am wiped out. Physically, I am so tired from dealing with Bobby's physical frustration. I know he doesnt mean to hurt, but he's a strong child and, when he is in shut down/frustration mode, it is all that I can to hold him back from hitting me without hurting him. He immediately is sorry and penitent, but that doesnt help for the moment. It has gotten better since we've started working on his speech because he now can say some things and being understood has helped with his frustration; he's working through his issues instead of trying to hit his way out of them. But, on days like today, when words arent a fix for the problem, it's back to what he knows- thrashing, crying, screaming, pulling hair. You get the picture.
I sort of know a fair amount of the moms, and they know Bobby and Maya, and understand he's working through some speech issues. But there are newer moms that I dont know because they started during the time that we werent able to make it to group. A friend of mine just posted about this, and it is oh so true. It's easy to look at a scenario and judge. While I think most of the moms there took the moment for what it was (a child with speech issues who is struggling to express himself and resorting to physical frustration), some of the looks cast in our direction were a little less than sympathetic. Hey, I get it. You dont know us from Adam. Maybe I'm just a parent who doesnt control her little monsters and then has the audacity to bring them out into public, where I deserve the meltdowns that may happen.
I'm wiped out emotionally today. From dealing with the couple of really? why cant she control her kid stares to actually trying to reason with a two and a half year old who is at the point of unreasonable to trying to calm him and explain that he's okay, he's making his point clear, I understand, but right now we are learning other things like control and working within a group (and doing this without just throwing in the towel and yelling something along the lines of HEY! I GET IT AND I CANT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT SO CAN YOU JUST RELAX, STOP SCREAMING, AND STOP HITTING AT ME FOR FIVE FREEEEAAAAKKKKING MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), to trying to ask myself what could I have done differently (and realizing, with the help of Peter and Sarah, who I vented to afterwards, that I couldnt have done anything differently, not really).... It's exhausting. I'm exhausted.
As Sarah said, Bobby is making HUGE strides and, all things equal, this month is already way better than last in terms of acting out, frustration, and verbal communication. This was a day that threw his schedule off. He was hungry and, just like kids dont learn well when they are hungry in school, kids who are struggling to communicate fall back on old ways when their basic needs arent being met. Dirty diaper that you cant change right now? Hunger? These are things that, although there isnt a quick fix in certain environments, arent simply a misbehaving child. They are a child trying to express their need and have it taken care of.
I know it will get better. Heck, I believe this afternoon will be better! But, in the moment, it's frustrating for all of us and all I want right now is a nap! Of course, the peanuts will be up by 2:30 or so, and I'm trying to get some housework done with them home, since I dont have any free days during the week if they are home on Wednesdays, which means I have a dirty house and, since I was sick last week and had to schedule something else the previous, that means my house is REALLY DIRTY. But, we're getting there and, thankfully, they are at an age where they can kind of help (or at least play well together while I'm doing something they cant help with). There are exceptions, which is what nap is for. :)
And, that being said, I'd better get back to it!