Kids can be a real mystery to me. When reading books about how important it is to validate a child’s feelings, in the situation used as an example the parent always seems to know what exactly the child is feeling so they can validate it. Well, a whole lot of the time I really don’t get DD. I don’t know what she is feeling, or why, and she is too young to know herself. I feel really helpless in those situations, like if I were a good mother I would know.
This evening, DD had a total emotional meltdown. One minute she was playing, the next minute she was sobbing hysterically. It was her 4th birthday yesterday, and she had asked for a “big, squishy, green Tyrannosaurus”. Thank goodness there is a huge Toys ‘R Us in this city and I felt confident that we could find something close to that description. We found exactly what she wanted and for only $7. She seemed so happy with it. But after playing with it for a couple of hours, she started this meltdown announcing that, in fact, this was not what she wanted. It was too big, the wrong colour, and then she said what she really wanted was an Apatosaurus (she called it a “longneck” b/c she is totally into the Land Before Time movies right now). She just completely lost it and I think it was almost 30 minutes of wailing and sobbing in my arms and insisting that we go back right now and exchange it.
I honestly don’t know what happened, or what brought this on, other than I was 99.9% sure that it had nothing to do with her dinosaur. Something in her just needed to get out, and this was the wave it was riding on. I’m not sure she actually understood why she felt that way, either, and using the dinosaur as an excuse gave her something to focus in on I guess. I felt bad that I didn’t know anything more than that. I felt like I should know, y’know?
She has been moody the last couple of days, and perhaps just having a birthday is stressful. I tried to keep it as lowkey as possible, because I honestly hate kids’ birthday parties – they are really stressful. We had a picnic in the park with only my mother, MIL, SIL and her DH, and our neice (yes, they showed up, i guess they don’t totally hate us). Mind you, turns out that traffic was insane and I guess there was a lot of stress involved after all. From my perspective, she spent the afternoon playing with her cousin and brother but maybe she picked up on my stress. Then at Mum’s today, while I was at my La Leche League meeting, DD apparently started tossing things around her house to the point where Mum took them out for a walk. Mum was not impressed, and all day I could see DD was in that “shit disturber” mood. She was also a bit mean to her brother at times. I guess all I can hope is that the big cry she had this evening got whatever-it-was out of her system. I do at least feel good that she stayed in my arms the whole time and felt comfortable “letting it all out” with me. And afterwards she seemed happy and at peace. We’ll see how she is tomorrow.