Yesterday we had an almost meltdown. It was amazing, especially when I know where it had potential to go only a few weeks ago.
A sat down at the table to eat breakfast, but still had her Pull-Up on. I reminded her that the rule is "no Pull-Ups at the table" which she adamantly refused to do.
I took her bowl of cereal and put it up.
When I asked her to go to her room to put on her underwear, her reasoning went as follows:
A: "I can't."
Me: "Why not?"
A: "Because it's dark in my room."
Me: (looking down the hallway to see if her room was, in fact, dark) "Honey, the light's on in there."
A: "Well I think it's dark."
Me: "You think it's dark."
I reminded her that one reason we don't allow Pull-Ups at the table is because if she goes potty in it any more, it will leak.
Her next excuse was "I'm cold." I suggested she either put on some tights or her robe. She decided she was too cold to walk down the hallway to get anything to put on, so I offered to get her robe for her. Her solution, "You go get my robe, and I can sit on it in case my Pull-Up leaks."
Great problem solving, kid. Unfortunately, that's not what robes are for (unless, perhaps, we're out of clean towels). I reminded her of that, which she didn't take well.
Eventually she got her underwear on and we moved onto some other issue. On the way to school it was something else. After school she was a little better, but still pretty argumentative.
As I write about this, I find myself chuckling. It's just the way my life has gone for the past 3 years (once she started talking). I used to get locked into these ridiculous arguments. A few years ago I would have said "your room is Not dark--the light is on!" Naturally a response like that would just cause her to escalate until she was in a full meltdown and I was left scratching my head in confusion and frustration. Now I can acknowledge how she feels and move on (to another equally illogical "discussion"...but moving on is moving on!).
I was thinking this morning about all the things A has overcome in the past 5 years. Here are the top 4 things we've worked hard at not freaking out over.
1) Bumpy roads. At the time this was a major issue Hubby and I had no idea what was causing A to meltdown. Turns out now, at least a year after the fact, A can verbalize why she doesn't like coming home a certain way: the road is bumpy. She used to just get hysterical when we would use that particular route. Now we can talk about the bumpy road, and very rarely does it even warrant a conversation any more.
2) Slides. When we used to go to the park A only wanted to swing. If there were no swings she might go climbing around, but when it came to slides, she was probably 3 before she'd go down them consistently. She'd frequently sit at the top and cry before she backed up, turned around and refused to go down it.
3) Band-Aids. Oh. My. Since she was such a cautious kid, A very rarely needed them, but there was one time when she fell at Church and her knee was really bleeding (she was 2 1/2). She wouldn't stop looking at the blood, and that freaked her out, but when I'd ask if she wanted a princess Band-Aid she would get even more upset. Finally I just put a Band-Aid on it. You would have thought someone was killing her!! Really, words can't describe how upset she got. I finally just pulled it right back off. Oh, and we were in the van on our way home from Church (which is a 30 minute drive)--Hubby and I were about to go insane! We finally stopped at a gas station so I could get her out of her car seat and settle her down.
4) Elevators. There was no way we could step foot on an elevator without her melting down. She got hysterical, even though I was holding her. Thankfully we didn't use elevators often, but when we did it got ugly!
I am happy to say that now that A is 5 those fears and anxieties that made us all miserable are no more (and probably have been non-existent for a year). We can now go home using the bumpy-road-route without tears. When A plays at the park she can go down any slide without a second thought. She now asks for Band-Aids when there's no visible scratch (my new rule is that there has to be blood, or no Band-Aid, otherwise she'd have Band-Aids covering her body). Now she loves to push the buttons on the elevator and can stand alone, without even holding anyone's hand!
What an exhausting road we've travelled, but I must say it's incredibly rewarding to look back and see that these things are no longer issues. And, really, the issues we have even now aren't as bad as those "top 4" that plagued her when she was 2 (I could easily have made a top 10 list...but for brevity's sake, chose not to).