We're two-and-a-half weeks into preschool this year and dropoffs have greatly improved. There is no leg-clinging now. No abundance of tears.
It's easier this week, but I'm not sure Fruit Bat's stoicism at the preschool door is worth the price we have to pay.
Because when we get home...it is a freaking apocalyptic meltdown. To be fair, it hasn't been everyday that he's fallen apart as soon as we've crossed the dusty, pine-needlely threshold of our house. This day just happened to be bad.
Once last week we ate lunch in the basement which, considering there is no table or chairs down there, only a big couch and lots of floor, was a treat. And since we mixed it up that one time, changed things around like the crazy people we are, we now have to do it the same way EVERY DAY from now on.
That was his big request when he got home (and the impetus for his wrathful vent that left us all gasping and teary): that we eat lunch in the basement. I said yes. At first. Until he tormented Kitty Cat to the point where I withdrew the privilege of cellar dining.
Fruit Bat let loose with a bray like a plains Zebra warning his herd of approaching lions (I know what a plains Zebra might sound like because of the Zootles magazine, all about, yes, Zebras, that Fruit Bat and I have been reading).
Kitty Cat vaulted into my arms and buried her face in my chest. Fruit Bat refused all offers of hugs and validation until I had to shove my fingers in my ears waiting for him to drop a few decibels.
He howled like that for a while, then, because he's four-and-a-half and has figured out some nifty new negotiating tricks, proceeding to haggle. He wailed, "Eating in the basement would really cheer me up! That is what would really, really cheer me up!" Over and over.
When this tactic failed to impress me (though it did amuse me a little), he tried the dinner angle. Couldn't we eat dinner in the basement then?
No, we're having soup for dinner. Same as last night. Soup is not a table-free meal. How about a snack, later today, in the basement?
FB: A snack right after lunch? Right. After. Lunch.
No, I said. After your rest. Later. LATER today.
He was trying to save face. Trying to preserve his dignity by getting his way, in some shape or form. How much dignity, though, can a little boy have with snot and tears darkening his sleeves, still coursing down his red cheeks?
I felt sorry for him. I know he's going through a lot with readjusting to preschool and a new class (in which there are no little boys his age. The other boys in his class for four and five year olds are three-and-a-half. I don't get this.)
But I felt sorry for me too. It was all so unreasonable. So uncivilized. So chaotic. And I hate unreasonable, uncivilized and chaotic. I have to remind myself 500 times a day what it is like to be a kid: the confusion, the fears, the lack of social skills. If I don't, I will end up hurling that dinosaur lunchbox of his off our second-story balcony (which almost happened today), then regretting it forever.
So, I sucked it up. I tried to be calm. I gritted my teeth. I prayed an agent would quickly take me on and sell my novel for big money so I could justify hiring a nanny and writing every morning away, emerging in the afternoon, refreshed and easily charmed by my children.
I really just tried to make it through, banking on the fact that better times were just the other side of his collapse.
All that and no Cadbury in the house.