Monday, March 17, 2014

Epic Meltdown

I got my kids back this morning; it was their weekend with their dad.  I try not to talk much about the specifics of what goes on in my kids' lives here because frankly their dad probably reads it.  But throwing caution to the wind here a little let me tell you what every other Monday looks like for us.  

Usually on the Fridays they go to see him, they're excited.  Who wouldn't be?  They have unlimited access to video games and no bedtime or limits seemingly anywhere in their little lives when they're with their dad.  That coupled with the sheer insane amount of spending he does on frivolities such as new toys, going to the movies, out to eat, passes to the amusement parks (but he's still unable to pay child support) makes it party land for them.  In some ways I'm very happy for them.  He's fun.  They like him.  That's great.  I really don't want them to hate their dad, that's not a burden any child should have to bear.

But Mondays when they come home suck ass.  Usually one of the two boys comes home sick and their dad deems that he can't go to school.  This happens so often the school has noticed a pattern.  So I pick up whichever boy is sick and Eowyn, and they come home and they head straight to bed and sleep for hours.  Today Harvey slept for FIVE HOURS before I finally woke him up to make sure he'd sleep tonight.  

They always come home in pjs despite my continual sending of them in clothes and the clothes never come back.  It's gotten ridiculous.  They come home dirty.  It's annoying but I have solutions to all of these things, so other then an eye roll and drawing a bath there's not much to be said about it.  

But as the day ticks by the baby's mood deteriorates, which is a polite way of saying after all of this 'fun' she becomes a moody mini tyrant.   My kids thrive on routine, normal bedtimes, mealtimes, rules and schedule it works for them, they function better.  They don't like the routine, but that's why I'm the parent and they're the children because I know it's good for them even if they don't like it.  About the time I have to go pick up whoever's at school Eowyn's done.  It's a bummer for me, I'm so excited to have them back it's hard to have them in such bad shape when they return, but I am their mother and it's not about me it's about them.  If they come back needing baths and bed, then I'll give that to them.  If they come back excited to be home and do fun stuff (even if it's play dough) we'll do that instead.  

So tonight, we made it through dinner, homework, baths with relatively few incidents but I could see the exhaustion wearing on my littlest.  By the time I said she needed a bath it was less than pleasant but with extra momma love I coaxed her in the tub.  She played and happily splashed and then it was time to get out.  You would have thought the world was on fire.  This child fought me about getting out of the tub like nothing I had ever seen from her.  She's naturally spunky so it was quite the display of anger.  

We both ended up soaked with her screaming for no less than 30 minutes.  She's loud.  Do you have any idea how loud a screaming four year old girl is?  Happy St. Paddy's Day to me!  Lord have mercy is she ever loud.  

So I walked with her, holding her wrapped in a towel, not letting her hit me, but also not letting her down to jump back in the tub, for thirty minutes while she screamed.  Getting pajamas on her was a joke, there was no doing anything with my mini tyrant until she calmed down.  So we walked and she screamed.  And we walked and she yelled some more.  And I held her and she yelled.

Then as if a switch had flipped she calmed down.  

In her now hoarse voice she told me that she didn't want to wear the pjs I was holding.  I offered to let her choose a different pair and we walked in her room together calmly as if nothing had happened.  I set out some pjs for her to choose from and she told me she needed to fix the little princesses because the weren't in her toy car.  

"I'm cold mommy, hold me tight." She told me.  I held her and felt her calming more.  I sent her all the love I had in me and the understanding I had that this behavior, though totally unacceptable was not her fault.  She's four and missed her mommy.  She hadn't slept and needed some extra love but all she knew how to say was that she didn't want to get out of the tub.  

She fixed her princesses and proceeded to pick the exact same jammies that I had been holding earlier. 

"Mommy I didn't get a snack, I'm hungry." She said.  
"Ok, baby girl, but you need to say you're sorry," I told her.  
"I'm sorry Mommy, all that made me tired." she responded as she snuggled in again.  
"I know baby I'm sure it did, I know." 

Epic meltdowns are a part of life.  They suck when you're four, seven, eight or thirty three.  Sometimes all of the experiences of the day or week or month make us want to throw things and hit and scream.  It helps when we have someone there to hold us as we storm and rage, keep us safe and then afterwards tell us, "I know, I love you, I know." 

I've had my own moments of epic meltdowns over the last few days. I've sent a few ranting texts to some friends.  I've screamed and cried at the injustice of life.  I've hurt.  I've been tired and sleep deprived.  But I'm not four.  I don't get a pass and chocolate milk at bedtime to make the pain go away.  Because life is more complicated at 33 than it is at four.  But while I held my daughter tonight and walked her out of her pain I praised God for the opportunity to do that, because maybe when the time comes for a 33 year old meltdown for her, she'll be able to see her way out. 

I love you baby girl, and I know.

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