Does anyone remember last summer? When I seriously considered an exorcist for Daniel?
Yeah. The demon has returned.
The details are a little different, of course. For instance, he no longer protests time-outs by intentionally pissing himself. So, you know, that’s a bonus. In fact, this year there is less physical resistance to the time-out, and overall a bit less yelling. What we have now is a lot of whining and crying, a lot of fighting with Becca, and a lot of attempts to negotiate in totally non-negotiable settings. A lot of climbing on, hanging from, and jumping off of very unsafe places that we have specifically and repeatedly told him not to.
Just like last year, there is a lot of last-minute changes of heart (suddenly insisting that he ALWAYS wanted oatmeal for breakfast, when I’ve already made the waffles he asked for that morning and the 800 previous mornings), and mood swings so fast they’ll give you whiplash. A lot of tears and foot-stomping over important things like who took the first bite of lunch, or what color cup he gets for his milk.
And lest you think I’m focusing too much on Daniel, I assure you that Rebecca is far from exempt this time around. She is being extra pouty and rude. She completely flips her lid if Daniel does not immediately respond to her latest demand. She has got Attitude with a Capital A.
In fact, one of the biggest additions to this year’s Wake-Me-When-It’s-Over Behavioral Phase, is the degree to which they are fighting with each other, not just with me or M. It’s not as though they’ve never fought before, and thankfully they do still play well together for quite a lot of the time. But it can turn on a dime, and a game will suddenly become Preschool Deathmatch 2011. They scream, they shove, they hit. But mostly, they push each other’s buttons. They boss each other around, they ignore the one doing the bossing. They stage sit-ins in each other’s rooms. They hoard the coveted toy/play-doh/pencil that the other suddenly wants (which, 10 seconds ago, neither could have given a crap about). It’s mental and social warfare out here.
Both kids are, literally and figuratively, bouncing off the damn walls. It’s a bit better when we get out of the house, which I try to do as much as we can. But that’s obviously trickier to balance with Ellie’s needs (and her hatred of the carseat, the stroller, and the heat and humidity) thrown into the mix. How many days until school starts again?
Whatever the specifics, it seems this is a repeat of last year’s pre-birthday insanity. Some kids flip out at the half-year mark, some are hideous around x.75. My kids seem to really lose it in the month or so leading up to their birthday. On the bright side (if there is one), last year Daniel snapped out of it right on their birthday. Literally overnight, a behavioral switch flipped, and the tail end of the summer was actually quite nice. I can only hope we see the same thing this year. Four more weeks…