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Transition to Summer

Transitions have always been hard for both of my kids. When my son was small, sudden changes would send him into hysterics. It was hard to deal with, but at least I could just say, “He has trouble with transitions” and people could sort of accept that.

My daughter, on the other hand, responds to transitions in a completely different and subtle way. She seldom comments on the transition itself, and you might even think that she doesn’t notice it. My son was the kid who cried every time I left preschool; my daughter seemed to have a “Mom who?” attitude. However, whenever a small change happened in her classroom, the results could be enormous. When a big change happened, it could be devastating. The week her favorite teacher left, just before her fourth birthday, she reacted with nightmares and incontinence for weeks.

So here we are, in a week of transitions, and guess what? I am not sailing through this week as I’d planned. Typical me: I thought that I could schedule us into compliance! We had so many exciting things happening this week: Our son’s first time taking part in his school’s amazing year-end performance; our daughter’s “moving on ceremony” at her school; our son’s last day; our son’s violin recital. So hey, I thought, how about I smooth it all over by inviting Grandma to spend the week with us?

Background info: The last time Gram came to stay, our daughter was in such heaven that there was an adult who wanted to pay constant attention to her! An adult who likes to play board games! An adult who would take part in her babydolls’ imaginary lives with enjoyment and no complaining! An adult who didn’t have to do laundry, cook dinner, clean the kitchen, or work. (All of which I felt very lucky to do without interruption; I’m happy to serve and clean up after someone who relieves me of the burden of keeping my daughter content all day long!)

So I preferentially remember that visit and not the visit before, when our daughter responded to the emotional confusion of her joy at Gram’s visit with her loss of Mommy attention by lashing out at Gram and telling her to go away!

Flash forward to this week: We are in the midst of transitions — the biggest one being big brother’s huge school production, at which she sat transfixed by the spectacle, and then his subsequent return to our weekday home life, from which he is usually absent. On top of this, she has been going through an especially difficult period as far as transitions go, and has for the first time in her life gotten clingy with me.

So my imagined week of engineered freedom to get work done? Well, here I am with my laptop, watching the three of them play a board game. Every few minutes my daughter comes to get a hug and a word of encouragement from me. By this morning, she was sure I no longer loved her because I was so frustrated at how she was treating Gram. So I’m taking a new tactic and just staying with them so that she feels secure enough to be able to be express affection for Gram without feeling like she’s rejecting me in the process.

Phew. And I thought parenting would be easy once I sent her off to Kindergarten. Little did I know, the hard part had only begun.

Posted in Parenting.

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