Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Toddler taming...


That is the only way to accurately describe Child Number Three's second colossal, screaming fit of the week, which occurred between 6.45 and 9 am on Monday, and then again this morning.

And WHAT has been the cause of this sudden and violent change of behavior?

Why, NURSERY SCHOOL, of course.

To say that Child Number Three does not WANT to go to Nursery School this year would not be an entirely accurate statement, however.

True, each horror-filled early-morning has begun with the tremulous screech from the crib, "ME NO WANNA GO A-SCHOOOOL!!!"

The resounding cry has continued, and indeed, ESCALATED, from that point onwards.

Through the trek downstairs to the kitchen, where she stands plaintively at my feet whilst I am blearily preparing the coffee. Through the pouring of Cheerios into a bowl, which is promptly refused and overturned, followed by her glass of juice (I'm threatening to just puree it all and stick it in a juice box for her, I'm getting so fed-up with the clean-up).

She even follows me into the bathroom and bangs on my shower door during my wild attempts to make myself presentable to the outside world... After I'm dressed, she howls and pulls on my sleeve when we're standing next to one another in front of the bathroom mirror, USUALLY at the exact time when I am trying to apply lipstick, or an accurate track of eyeliner.

Oh, she's been a treat, all right.

But the WORST part is trying to get HER dressed.

Because THAT, people, is when the words fail her, and the TRUE, boneless, screaming fit begins.

Now, before I get going on this "getting dressed" thing, allow me to explain something first. I am a theatrical costumer by trade, and have ALWAYS encouraged my children to dress creatively whenever the urge strikes them. For example, I LOVE IT when they decide they want to try wearing their snowsuit pants, combined with a sparkly tank top, and a voluminous ballerina tutu, inverted, and placed squarely on their heads. (This, by the way, is apparently the costume for "Magical Trees" in one of their many productions they have put on in our basement).

I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with allowing my children to dress themselves when we are here at home, or going somewhere relatively unimportant, like the grocery store. "Mis-match" away, kiddos, just keep in mind that you might run the risk of either sweltering or freezing to death if you choose clothing combinations that are inappropriate for the season.

However, I have made it clear to my children that there ARE a few exceptions to the "clothing-free-for-all". And they are: School, Church, and Grandma's House (when Grandma is in residence, and hosting an "event").

This morning, the "School" clause was in effect.

And my usually calm, collected, agreeable third child completely took leave of her senses, collapsed her entire skeletal system, and mutinied on me.

It was chilly outside this morning, people, and it took nearly an hour to wrestle Wee Three into a tiny pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt with a bunny on it, and a sweater. And this was an outfit that she herself had CHOSEN just the other day at Old Navy. It was one of her "FAVE-WIT!!" back-to-school outfits. She actually BEGGED me to purchase it, and of course, I caved.

But, today?! You'd have thought I was trying to drag her to the electric chair, not to her closet to put on her clothes. I gave up completely at the point of socks and running shoes, and jammed her feet into her little pink crocs, instead. Mainly because crocs don't leave bruise-marks on my shins when she kicks.

Spawn of Satan, she was, people. I half expected her head to start spinning 360's.

It was BRUTAL.

Her father watched us, speechless, as we marched out to the driveway. The first two children, beautifully turned-out, hair brushed and faces shining, pulling their brand new backpacks-on-wheels, and The Goddess following up the rear, with a still-screaming toddler tucked not-so-neatly under her right arm, and a Strawberry Shortcake rucksack dangling from her left.

We must have been quite a sight for the neighbours to behold. Especially when the squirmy, I'm-not-gonna-be-buckled-into-THIS-carseat battle began.

It was a LOUD car ride, to put it nicely, and the two older children tore off down the street to their school playground as soon as I had parked the loser cruiser and opened the automatic escape-hatch... presumably to avoid been seen with their apoplectic, sweaty, cross-eyed mother and their way-WAY-gone baby sister.

One and Two: (not even attempting to hide their relief) 'BYE, MUM!!!!!

Little traitors.

Wee Three and I continued on our way to the Nursery, tears still flowing copiously from the back seat.

And during the drive, although I had to shout to make myself heard, I assured Child Number Three that Senior Nursery is JUST THE SAME as Junior was last year. Same nice teachers! Same friends!! Same fun crafts and toys and activities!!! Same damn ROOM, for crying out loud!!!! NOTHING has changed since last year, except that a little bit of time has passed.

It was a red-faced, sniveling child I pulled out of the back seat of my car in the nursery school parking lot. Swollen-eyed and hiccuping, she asked me to carry her into the building.

Child Number Three: (snuggling her damp little face into my neck and sighing a BIG sigh) ... I wanna be a BABY 'gain...


I ALMOST CRACKED at that point. I confess. Because this is my last child; this IS my baby. And there's nothing in this world that I want more than to hang onto my children, for as long as they will let me.

But instead, I took a deep breath, strode through the school doors, and set Child Number Three down on her own two feet.

And she took one look at the delightful surroundings, smiled an ENORMOUS smile, let go of my hand, and skipped off to join her friends at the cutting-and-pasting table.

Little brat.

At THAT moment, dear readers... there was nothing in this world that I wanted more than a couple of Valium and a shot of Jack Daniels.

We get to do it ALLLL over again on Friday morning.

I think I'd better make a liquor store run before I go to pick her up at lunchtime.


shawn said...

Your number three child sounds remarkably like my number three child ... your posting resonated with me deeply ...

TOO MANY SIMILARITIES ... been there - done that - got the tee-shirt.

But take solace in the simple fact that when the boneless hissies pass, you will be left with a delightful well adjusted child ... Beetle could throw a hissy like no one's business (though Ms. H. still has an edge on even HER), but now at 8 she is a delightful, smiley, happy ray of sunshine.

May your path, in spite of the JD and Valium, lead you to a place where you look back and are able give thanks for these moments !!

For now I can smile and be relieved THOSE days are behind me ...

lol !!!

painted maypole said...

wow. Mornings here are cranky and slow, but nothing like that. I wish I could mix you up a drink!

And a theatrical costumer. Excellent. No wonder I like you so much.

Candygirlflies said...

Oh, I'd love to hang out and have a drink with you, Maypole, you sound like my kind of pal, too. Let me know if you're planning to venture up into my corner of The Great White North!!

And yes, theatre is deeply in my blood, too. Needless to say, Hallowe'en gets way, WAY out of hand at our house every year...

mrinz said...

Oh dear!!

Up until the part where you were walking her into the school I was thinking that maybe there is something drastically wrong with the school atmosphere. Or she was feeling unwell and like small kids, unable to express it.

But to walk off happily and play with her friends??? Hmm you will have to be firm with this one!

Just keep in mind that a strong will and determined personality is ultimately a good trait for a child to have.

But Mum and Dad need the strength to cope with the battles and decide which ones are worth winning!

I love your family tales, they sure do bring back memories. The one consolation is that they grow up into well adjusted delightful adults at the end of it all.

mrinz said...

PS I saw this saying the other day:-

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. ~Jonathan Kozel

shauna said...

Oh, how I LOVE this post! I was right there with you the whole time.

Now I'm having a completely different experience at my house. Little Boy is completely pathetic wandering through our home while his big bro and sis are at school. He begs me to take him to school. Pre-seperation the plan was for me to spend some quality time with him, but now that I'm trying to pay the bills with freelance work (so I can stay home with my kids) I've been trying to find ways to keep him entertained while I write (McWireless was a great idea at first--but no kids have been to the playland during any of our breakfast runs to McDonalds). So just today I decided to start my search (very late) for a preschool where he can make some friends and I can have a couple hours of writing time. Wish me luck!

And good luck to you (because it looks like you need it too). Oh to share a valium in your garden--now that sounds dreamy. :)

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Bring on the booze, baby! That's all I have to say. It's so tough when we need/want our child to do something that we know will be good for them in the end.

Karly said...

Dude. Good luck tomorrow with your little drama queen!

ewe are here said...

I hope they had a special - two bottles of wine for one, perhaps?

Wow. Toddlers can be soooo stubborn and loud sometimes....

canape said...

Oh, ouch.

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