When I write, somehow a transformation begins. Something that is difficult seems to have a little less power over me when it's written down. That's the medicine of the process. So I am attempting to write about the frustrations of this morning and why something rather simple can be so difficult and charged for me.
Just like every schoolday morning we get up at 6:30. With minor bumps, Calder eats his oatmeal and gets dressed with the bribe of getting some computer time. Playing the computer is a highly valued activity and I can usually get something out of it. "First get dressed, then you can have computer". So, as well as he ,I too "need" the computer.
Since the computer is such high interest, that is when most accidents happen. As I come over to check on him, I notice he has made an accident. It causes him much grief to tear away from his favorite activity to go finish up in the potty, and this he is very upset over. I think to myself, "this has to be a good experience, if I want him to be able to leave the computer on his own to go potty". I feel my blood pressure start to rise, but I gotta play my cards with a poker face.
The thoughts start in my mind..."he'll have to be able to get back on the computer or this whole stop-to-go-potty-thing will backfire"..."he can be late for school right?"......"wouldn't his teachers rather him make a BM at home, than have another accident at school?"..."let go, let go"...meanwhile he is not having any success. He's hugging me, almost in tears while he is sitting on the potty. Even though I haven't said it, he knows that this will make him late and he is pretty stressed out about it. He doesn't know where to begin...
We then strike a deal and he manages to have a little success. We agree that after he puts on his shoes, he can have 6 more minutes computer. At first it was only 5 minutes, but then I upped the ante with putting on the shoes, so I had to then bargain with 6 minutes. This seemed to work. I followed him to his room and reminded him that he may want to put on socks since it is getting a little cold outside (we walk to school). He chooses no, and I don't fight this one.
6 minutes of computer....check.
I use this time to get the baby ready and put her in her stroller, line up jackets and gloves, etc....
Ding, time is up. We had already discussed that when the timer dings, he does not dilly-dally and moves "moderato"...This means he doesn't go too slow. He loves to discuss speed in musical terms: adagio...moderato....allegro...presto.
Well, he doesn't move "moderato", he moves adagio, VERY adagio. If it were a symphony, it would be a dirge. Trying to hurry him up makes it worse. He does not seem able to process that hurrying will help us get there on time. Hurrying just adds another stressful element that he has trouble regulating. Now, I'm getting really sick of it. It's very hard at this point to "let it go". I still have my poker face, but I bet he can see right through it.
Now he wants his socks. Rather than lecture him on "I already asked you" I just keep it to myself. Is he stalling? Too stressed to figure that one out, I go myself to get his socks, to hasten the time. He knows how to put on his socks, but he asks me to. Again, I do not feel like this is the time to teach him a lesson. I am a Mom with a mission. GET MY KID TO SCHOOL!!! What you don't understand is that we still have to put on the jacket, scarf, hat, gloves and backpack....it hasn't even begun. Usually I allot time for all this by getting up so early...but the accident threw us all off.
He gets his jacket on, good. Gloves go on rather well, great. I help with the scarf. Pop on his hat. "I need hexagons". Munching on "hexagon" crackers while he walks to school will help calm him down. After a moment of instinctual resistance to his demand, I go get him some hexagons......Sucker you say? Well, you haven't seen how stressful walking past the crossing guard with the loud whistle can sometimes be. I'll do whatever I can to help this go smoothly. I know we are late. I'm trying not to guilt him over it, after all pottytraining is worth being late. But boy am I frustrated! I feel like I am doing this strange ritualistic dance that no one would understand if they saw me, in order to get the planets to align, so we can make it to school without a full blown meltdown.
Were finally on our way! As we walk a few feet past our house Calder stops and says "my backpack!" Oops, in all the scurrying, we had both forgot his backpack. So turning the stroller around we go back to our house and get it. I can almost laugh at this point...but not yet.
Almost to the crossing guard, I wonder if Calder will miss his earplugs. Very often Calder will choose to wear his earplugs as we walk by the crossing guard. This seems to work well for him. But this morning I notince that the earplugs are missing from their usual pocket in his backpack. I don't say anything and Calder chooses to use his hands to cover his ears. Thank GOD. That is another meltdown we diverted!
Once at school. we have to get a late pass from Louise the secretary. I need to make sure this is not fun for Calder, but not too stressful either since this morning he is rather "fragile". I make him stand in the line of late kids when he really just wants to cling to me. Then I make him walk by himself to his class. This he silently does. I wonder what may have been going through his head. I'll know next time we are running late.....