Day 15: Ballet friends

A note on the meltdowns: Take a deep breath, say how you’re feeling

We started off today a little rough, actually, when I let the kids turn TV on so I could stay in bed until 8 since I wasn’t feeling well. They got in a fight about who would choose a show, Girl started screaming at him, and Boy chucked a remote at her. It’s really dawning on me how overwhelmed Boy is feeling, and how much of a hard time he’s having with feelings of anger. We had a short, but good, talk about what’s been going on.

And the kid tried so hard the rest of the day.

On two occasions I saw him successfully using the little strategies he and I have started to lay out. None of this is new; for example, I’ve been asking him to take deep breaths for years. But today when I saw him starting to lose control of a situation, his eyes went right to me; the look said, ‘Help me make this not happen.’ I just said his name and took a deep breath. He took a deep breath. He stayed quiet while I talked to Girl. He calmed down.

And then later when I was giving him a bath I told him I was thinking about having us stay home from co-op tomorrow. He immediately started to look agitated, but instead of going off the rails, he said in his little voice, “I’m feeling really angry! I’m feeling like hitting!” And that allowed me to just say that if it was important for him that we go, we would go. And then we talked about how words are really the most powerful thing. Nothing is better for getting what you want than words. When you hit, does that work very well for getting what you want? I asked him. “No, most of the time you get the opposite of what you want,” he answered. “Yeah, buddy,” I said, “That’s really true.”

So, again, tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes. I feel like right now every good thing that happens for him matters.

Mondays are ballet and soccer days, but we have the earlier part of the day free.

Today we used that time to play outside, to go to the library (Boy took out his OWN books with his OWN card for the very first time), and to go to the plant store to buy 10 daffodil bulbs to plant in the kids’ all-season flower garden. That’s one of our fall projects. Hopefully I can write more about that this week. Boy read several books today, before and after our library trip, and was reading for a while in my back yard lounger. Which was cute. It was a beautiful day.

Girl asked me to make a count-down-to-Halloween calendar for her.
Girl asked me to make a count-down-to-Halloween calendar for her.

Then we came inside, I gave them baths, and snacks, and off to activities we went. Boy and Girl have ballet at the same time, then I have to dress Boy for soccer in the car. Girl plays with other kids at the soccer field while I sit on a blanket and talk to another mom or two, and then we drive home in the dark.

We don’t get home until 7:30. Tonight I make some quick noodles for them, and after they eat, Boy starts dancing ballet (in a constrained fashion) in the kitchen. This is astonishing because he does not generally bring dance home. We watch him. We don’t want to say a word for fear it will stop. Girl also shows us things that she can do. Then Papa says to Boy, ‘Show Mumma your tendu, like Miss Lisa told you to show me.’ (Evidently, one of his teachers told Papa after Wednesday’s class that Boy has a ‘beautiful’ tendu.)

Girl looks astonished. Recognition.

“I do tendu! You made a mistake! I do tendu in my class.”

“No, baby, you both do. You both dance ballet. You guys are ballet friends.”

Girl’s face brightens to the point of a sunlight explosion, overcome, overjoyed, hugging Boy around the waist. “We’re ballet friends!” It is the first moment that Girl really gets it. That she knows stuff. That she and Boy do things. Together. The glory of being a big kid.

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