I have diagnosed Lance with post-traumatic non-swimming disorder. Either that or he has multiple personalities. It's hard to watch Lance come unglued. It seems to happen fairly easily, which worries me a bit. I know he's 4 and wild emotions come and go, but I worry that he has my temper and Pat's temper all rolled into one.
Our latest turmoil has been swim lessons, more specifically SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS for swim lessons. But after my last post about substitute teachers for gym and swim lessons, I vowed that I would act more like a kind, compassionate person (i.e. a MOTHER!!!) in situations like these.
So Friday 3/23, I was prepared with all the Zen I could muster. We had talked about it in advance, he still said no swimming for a sub. Since we only had 2 lessons left, I gave in and called the pool to see if the teacher was there. They couldn't confirm, hadn't seen her since the day before. We got all ready, hopeful that she'd be there. No luck, but at least he didn't shower. I handled it better this time - much calmer and focused on him, determined to be empathetic and more neutral. We had already discussed the fact that he didn't have to go in if there was a sub, but I asked if he wanted to think about it before going back to get dressed. He did, we sat for a few minutes, and then left. But it was on good terms, no arguing, and everyone seemed happy. (cue foreshadowy music). We made a trip to Target and had a good afternoon.
I convinced Lance to take a bath before Pat got home. (mistake #1) but it was fine until the end. Audrey was playing in the hall, happily throwing washcloths in and out of her inflatable bathtub. Lance purposely tried to get out before soap and shampoo, then got mad when I wouldn't put Audrey back in the tub in the hallway so he could play with her. (From Audrey's side, she was already done - she had been patient, gotten kicked out of the bathroom when Lance didn't want her throwing toys into his tub, played by herself, and was ready to go downstairs with Daddy).
So he got soaped and shampooed by an impatient Mommy--clueless Mommy who obviously didn't see the wave building. He asks to watch a movie and I said no, but maybe if he made helping choices until bedtime.
HE. CAME. UNGLUED.
Here's a sample of the 10 minute screaming tirade he unleashed on me. "Bad stinky Mommy! Go be someone else's Mommy! You are the worst Mommy - I don't like you! I AM going to watch a movie" I went downstairs for most of this, so he was screaming after me. And then when he came down to yell directly at me and Pat followed him, "Daddy. STOP. Stay there -do NOT follow me!"
He was still yelling at me, but he let me stop him, doing this weird "sit in my lap and half hit me, half snuggle" thing. He calmed down, we talked about feeling mad vs. yelling and hitting, and then the storm passed and he was fine for the rest of the evening. He was hungry too - ate a ton before bed. Again, what is my deal? I know I get grouchy if I don't eat, and he's the same way. I should have seen that coming.
I think it's all fallout from swimming, so we're done - we're skipping the last lesson and not signing up for more. Lance and I discussed this and he agreed. But what happens when he wants to play soccer?
As we were lying in his bed, we talked quietly. I told him that we love him no matter what, but that it's not ok to yell at me like that. I said we need to work on strategies for dealing with the mad feelings, like counting, breathing, punching a pillow, etc. I said, "What if you get mad at school? You can't yell at someone like that."
Lance said, "I don't get that mad at school."
Me: "Why not?
Lance: "Because they do everything that I like."
There you have it. Distilled down to its 4 year old logical essence: My way or the highway, and hold your ears...