On Monday, both kids spent their first few minutes, faces in pillows, saying “I don’t want to [do the thing they are supposed to do that day]!” I gently told them it was a brand new week, yes indeed Amelia had to go to school and Henry had therapy. There was another minute or two of resistance from both of them, then I made some bacon and toast and before long they were both at the table as if none of that happened.
I do often marvel at kids’ ability to pull off fast mood 180s. It’s like they just had to get that little moan out of their system, and then it was on with the day. Maybe it’s something I should try if I ever have a day I’m not especially looking forward to. Just stick my face into a pillow, whine loudly for a minute, and then have some bacon.
Feels like good coping advice. Look for my book, The Pillow-Whine Bacon Formula, at your local bookstore this fall.
The rest of the day was pretty regular stuff. I got a pretty good amount of work done, and later in the afternoon, Erin had to go off to meet with client, and I took Amelia to piano lessons, with Henry in tow.
I will say, while he mostly perked up after that morning outburst, Henry was definitely a little touch and go throughout the day. I’ve written a good deal in this blog about the amazing progress Henry has made, and it has been stellar. He seems much more comfortable in his own skin, and not as readily overwhelmed by huge emotions or frustrations. That is, however, not to say that he doesn’t still have moments of difficulty in that area.
Henry can be rigid and struggle with changes in schedule, and we saw that happen at lunchtime. We had to delay lunch a little, and that happened to hit right in the nexus of schedule adherence and food, two things Henry loves best. So he got pretty upset about that and we had to take a little break. He did come through, though, and finished up his therapy. But he was a little on edge the rest of the day.
Things went smoothly taking Amelia to piano lessons. When we got home, the kids were playing outside and I was putting a few things away in the kitchen. When I walked into the living room, I saw trails of dirt all over our recently cleansed floors. I looked outside and saw that Henry was in our garden box, literally chucking big chunks of dirt all over the place. That mystery was solved. Our back patio looked like…well, I can’t really think of anything to compare it to. It looked like this.
Lest anyone think from reading this blog that I am some calm and collected, always even-keel Ward Cleaver of a dad, let me assure you that is not true whatsoever and I do definitely lose my patience with the kids. This was one of those times, particularly since I had just told Henry a couple hours before to not throw that very dirt that was now scattered our house, inside and out.
“HENRY!!!” I shouted.
“What?” he responded, in that innocent tone that says “what could possibly be wrong with this?” While actually holding a bucketful of dirt. Filthy, damp dirt.
“I told you not to throw the dirt! Get in the house!” I let my own temper rise, and next thing I knew, so had Henry’s. Not an optimal situation. I realized what I was doing and took a step back, took a breath and calmed down. ut now Henry was elevated and on his way to a meltdown. We worked to calm him, and also told him that he needed to help me clean up the dirt because he had made the mess. As you might imagine, that wasn’t something he was really keen on, especially in the state he was in.
We went up to his room with him for a few minutes, and Erin helped him find his way back to a calmer place. He finally agreed to help clean up the dirt, and when we were doing it, he actually was having fun with it. He does like playing with brooms.
On the one hand, I was kicking myself wishing I’d handled that better. I mean come on. Little kids playing in dirt is as old as it gets. It wasn’t like some shocking new outrage, here. But on the other hand, I know I am also human and, like Henry, there are times I have to battle and navigate my own emotions and triggers in a given moment.
But after the dust settled (pardon the pun) he and I were both in pretty good spirits the rest of the night. I was glad he played in ways that didn’t involve projectile soil dispersal.
As with so many moments in parenting, I try to take a breath, learn something and move onto the next thing. That next thing, in this case, being cleaning up the ruins of our back patio tomorrow. But I thought of the perfect song to go along with that activity.