Thursday, October 23, 2008

A journey of 1,000 miles starts with one stick

We set off today for a walk with Aunt D, Barky and Barky's cousin, Aunt D's dog.

Despite appearances, the walk was more of a carry for those in the two-year-old demographic, however, there were brief spells of walking, primarily to retrieve appropriate sticks.

A good day for a walk

And to contemplate.

A good day for a stick

At our destination, we took a snack break, during which we added one layer to 3B's ensemble, in a vain effort to keep him warm. It really was cold down there in the forest, but it was also beautiful with the fall colors having somehow hung on through the rain, snow and wind.

It was cold in the forest

OK, it was a cuddle break too.

Snacking on the steps

And then it was time to depart our destination.

Our destination

The funny thing about this trip was that even though it was downhill, the walk back seemed much longer than the walk up. I've done this to myself on bike rides too--going out too far, too fast, then dragging all the way home. I think that this time around, I was expecting that 3B would walk at some point, so carrying him up didn't seem that bad.

But no matter what I was expecting, I still had to carry him all the way down. Isn't that the way, some days?

Recently, Mama and I have been trying to figure out how to cope with the recent spate of meltdowns that 3B has been going through. I figure that part of the cause is the recent stresses of my being gone for a week, the trip here to Grammy's, being out of his house and routine for two weeks, and knowing that when we get home, he'll have a new bathroom--if they were able to cut down the toilet drainpipe, level the floor, replumb the sink, and fit the tub out of our place and into the elevator.

Perhaps I'm projecting that last one from myself onto 3B.

Part of the cause might also be that 3B has figured out that meltdowns are a good way to stop the world for a little bit. Even if he doesn't get what he wants, he sometimes can get out of what he doesn't want, or put it off for a bit. Unfortunately for him, we're not on much of a schedule here, so we have plenty of time to let him do his thing, then carry on as before. Which of course, sets off another meltdown.

Regardless of the cause of the meltdowns, and our inability to resolve them, we still have to carry on. Isn't that the way some days?

Besides, the meltdowns, which involve plenty of civil-disobedience-body-goes-totally-limp-and-melts-to-the-floor maneuvers, have led 3B to discover that he can crawl under the beds here, and play cave in them with all of his friends, just like he does under his crib at home.

For every step backward, there's another step forward. That's just the way.

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  1. #1 cousin says "nice stick"

    Just remember all that he is doing now is teaching you how to handle him as a teenager. Meltdowns to the point of relaxing so much he would melt out of your arms... yeah, been there. I learned to let go and they will handle the situation, or at least gravity will take over.

    Carry on....

  2. The only difference between now and when he's a teenager is that I don't think it's safe to lock him outside at this age.

  3. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Sorry to break this to you, but meltdowns are a recurring phenomenon. Our 4-year-old will completely collapse into a heap upon being asked to go brush her teeth, and the 6-year-old will scream and cry if things go slightly off plan.

    Luckily, they only do these things when they're coming down with something, or overtired, or whatnot. Not constantly.

    At 3B's age, it's all about testing the old boundaries, I think. Starting to feel a bit more independent, and trying to see where the thresholds are. I've found that firmly expressing said boundary (You may not eat the dog food. We use our words. et cetera) without amping up my own emotions works wonders.

    But then there are the mega-meltdowns, where I just let them go for a while, making sure no grievous bodily harm happens, but otherwise just letting them work it out of their systems. Then lots of cuddling and affirmations of love, mixed with a gentle soupcon of reminder about what behavior is not OK.

  4. I'm going to try that meltdown trick at work the next time I get assigned a project I don't like. I'll report back to you on its effectiveness.

  5. Remeber that I was the mother of the kids who when having meltdowns and screaming fits had to deal with breath holding.... then passing out.... then the convulsions. Yes he made it to 21 years old somehow. The most memorable one was over the "No, you are not having candy for breakfast" comment.

    I agree with anthromama and let him have a melt down and walk away, watching him carefully (and secretly) from afar, making sure he is not going to get hurt. Eventually he will learn that this behavior does not get him what he wants.

  6. PS you can also send him out here and we will see what we can do with him. He will have at least 3 mothers and one loving caring 13 year old father.

  7. Amama: It is all about testing boundaries, and all about being tired or hungry or sick of being in the car. Firmness seems to work well, as does some empathy--figuring out how to structure the transition in a way that's palatable to him.

    LB: I'd love to hear how that goes. I just hope you don't post your next comment while standing in the unemployment line.

    KMoo: I do remember those days. Such kids were mentioned in the book I just read, so it wasn't just you dealing with that.