When we picked you up last Friday, you had a tantrum so massive, people at school are still talking about it. While we wrestled you into your car seat, there were at least three aids frantically sending text messages as they watched from the window.
It all started when we walked into the playroom and you wouldn't get up from your toy. You started yelling, and then slapping at whatever was around (a couple of friends were accidental targets). Finally, you plastered yourself to the floor. Dad attempted to peel you up, but it was me who finally hefted you up and carried you -- horizontally -- to the car. You were so angry. I had to hold you down to buckle you in as you screamed. We are not proud of our behavior as we drove home. There were raised voices and many, many tears as you wet your pants and cried yourself to the edge of sleep.
The past couple of weeks, there have been issues getting you out of school. You wanted to show us (or just Dad) all the work you were doing, and you would use the excuse of using the bathroom (not a bad idea) to get us in there for 30-45 minutes of teetering-on-the-edge-of-a-meltdown-so-let's-just-wait-it-out adventures. Your accidents at school had also taken a dramatic rise; some days we would pick up two or three soggy bags of pants, and even shoes.
So when you had the big meltdown, we realized that something had to change, quickly. We decided that we needed to alter our schedules to pick you up earlier. Although staying at school until nearly 5:30 was O.K. in the early Fall, in this dark, Winter time, it wasn't working. When we come that late, you spend almost two hours of unstructured time stewing in your own juices, so to speak. Yesterday was the first day Dad picked you up right at the end of the contract day, 4:15, and he transported an entirely different Lucy home. There were no arguments, no accidents, no freak outs. Around the usual 'grumpy time' -- 5:30 -- you were safely at home. Today was the same, happy Lucy when Dad ferried you to me; we made it home without incident.
In this long and rambling entry, I realize there could be no end. Or I could wax poetic about the wonderful simplicities of small changes. What about the reflection and connection to parenting as a whole? All I will say is this: I enjoy my life with you. In the moments of difficulty, I sometimes wonder 1- what I was thinking becoming a parent, or 2- how do I do this differently? But then you apologize and we all change our ways. You say a mealtime blessing and sing, "Keep on the sunny side of life" from memory. And that's it -- you are you, and we are the extremely lucky witnesses of the whole, beautiful mess.