My beloved little ghost and fun-loving Ninjette had a major meltdown this morning and tonight before bedtime. I would expect such meltdown on a Monday since we’re usually coming back from a full weekend, but today is Tuesday! It threw me off my game. We barely made it to school on time.
Meltdowns always throw me off – to the point that I sometimes want to laugh as I see my kid screaming like a banshee and running back and forth in our small condo from the kitchen to her room. It’s not a ha-ha laugh, but it’s more of a nervous laugh.
My parents and grandmother don’t recall a time I flipped out, had a tantrum, or melted down. They remember me sneaking ice cream when I was supposed to be taking a nap. They remember me “making up stories” – basically lying for nearly one elementary school year. They remember me being a compliant, obedient child. My brother – he was the “wild” one. He was the kid who broke his harm and then was going around hitting everyone with his hard cast of an arm. He was the clinger.
It makes me wonder what I will remember of Ninjette’s childhood and what she will remember of her own childhood. Will she remember those times where she felt so frustrated that she just had to scream? Will she remember that I scolded her harshly for not going potty before we left for school and waiting til the last minute so that we had to change clothes? Will I remember the foot stomping and hot tears along with the out of control limbs flinging everywhere while we tried to hold her and get her to calm down?
After 15 minutes of hulking out, she was able to regain enough composure to talk to me. She wanted to talk about it before going to bed, so we sat down and talked it out. I told her that I feel frustrated when she doesn’t use her words to express to me what’s going on in her heart. I told her I was sorry for feeling so frustrated. Then, I asked her what was going on in her heart. What she said to me just broke my heart. She said, “I just had a really long day and I had to do so many new things today. I had so much trouble sleeping last night and it was really hard today.”
I get that. I totally get that. I could not believe that she was able to articulate that to me tonight. I was reminded again that my Ninjette is just five. She just started this kindergarten gig in a brand new school with brand new friends and a brand new teacher. Everything is new and different. She had been sick for the past week and yesterday, she had to stay home because of a fever. Today, she jumped back in 110% and I expected her to be more than just a tired out five year old from a long day.
After lots of hugs, a prayer for good rest, extra cuddles and kisses, she drifted off to sleep without any tears. And today, I realized that every now and then, we all need a good scream and a cry. Then, some hugs, cuddles, and a good night’s rest.
What tips do you have for settling meltdowns and also for giving your kids space to regroup after a hard day?