Disclaimer: the title of this post uses the word "funny" loosely.
I've had a lot on my plate recently, and have been so annoyed with A's behavior. She's melting down over things we've dealt with in the past. Things that we haven't had issues with in months!
The issue with the tags I mentioned in my last post is one of the many battles I've been having with her. She now insists that her shoes (ALL of them, except her Crocs) hurt her feet. There are a few pairs that are getting too small, but she also has at least 2 pairs that fit her just fine.
She was crying about one of the pairs that actually fit her the other day and I suggested putting socks on with them. She did. Then she complained about the seam in the sock hurting her. These are socks she's had no trouble with in the past and has been wearing for months!
She'll be dressed and ready and fine for 45 minutes and then all of a sudden something starts hurting her and she spazzes out!
So what gives? Today I had one of those fabulous parenting light bulb moments--school.
A started preschool at the end of August. She goes from 8:30-12 Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I anticipated some issues at the beginning of the school year. It was quite a change for A. She's the kind of kid to whom different = pain/discomfort/bad/etc.
I even expected any trouble she had with school (internally, because externally she'll be the best student: quiet, sweet, listens to the rules) to manifest itself here at home and I expected to have more power struggles with her.
However, September came and went and half of October has passed and we didn't have any problems. She seems to like school. She never cries before going off to school and has only mentioned in passing a few times that she doesn't want to go. By now, I expected her to be used to the new routine. So, a month and a half later, her outbursts have caught me off guard.
I have learned so much about A over the past year and I have been so thankful for the books I have read for many reasons (they're listed on the main page under "Great Parenting Reads"). For one they help A learn how to take responsibility for her choices but they also help me develop a healthy (read "not co-dependent") relationship with her. I understand how to relate to her, whereas before I was lost. I had a 3 year old who had meltdowns over people calling her nicknames. She couldn't even handle it when her friend (who is 8 months younger) was learning how to say her name and couldn't get it just right!
So in this great epiphany I just had, I was reminded how much A likes to be in control. Again, changes and the unexpected make her uncomfortable. I am going to make a conscious effort to go back to what worked.
What worked? you might ask...I give her a "choice" even if there's not really a choice. For instance: "A do you want to fix your hair now or in 5 minutes?" Her hair will get fixed, but she gets some say as to when that happens. In her small, 4 year old world, she has very little control and it's very unsettling for her.
I also try to have as much routine as possible. I would think that the routine of school would be great for her, but if school is what's making her uncomfortable (for reasons I may never know) then no matter how expected and predictable it may be, she's not going to like it.
She's also the kind of kid who is fine around almost everyone else, but she feels most comfortable around me and as a result her behaviors are always between me and her. A compliment, sure. A challenge, definitely.
A has always been private, and I realize that a lot of things that happen in her life I will never know about.
Communication is key, though. If we can't talk about the uncomfortable things in life when she's 4, then when puberty hits I might just go insane!
One thing I've started doing to open those lines of communication is to ask her (during some mellow time in our day) what were two things she like about school and one thing that happened that she didn't like. We also have problem-solving sessions together. She and I take our notebooks while Bug and the hubby do something else and we talk about possible solutions to the problems we have been having (for instance: the problem of the tags in the clothes or the problem of the toys not getting picked up). A loves to write and really likes the one-on-one time so she has yet to balk at the idea!
Here's to hoping things calm down a bit in the next few days!