Friday, August 04, 2017

The Fournado is Real

About a month back I thought... Willa is vacillating between having an amazing time and struggling to adjust. It's hot, there are lots of bugs, and so much is different than she's used to. That said she's had huge breakthroughs in the pool in early July, and that is her happy place. We're getting fruit smoothies everywhere we go, and we're trying to be sure and address her needs constructively; although, sometimes we've just needed to put our foot down and tell her she's being a diva and suck it up. It's been a very interesting chapter in the process.

Today, along with a parent friend, I went to school and sunk some lemongrass plants in the play yard. There are tons of mosquitos, and Willa, nearly as much the target as I am, is still coming home with bites regularly. One potential remedy is to plant lemongrass, which mosquitos apparently don't like so much, and try to keep them at bay. 

Willa has been my planting helper all along back in Brooklyn and wherever the occasion arises. I'm at school and helping get this planting underway, and she has glommed onto my leg, and there is no letting go. We're moving from spot to spot, and Willa is constantly underfoot. "I want to help you with [this]... I want to help you with [that]" 

We sink one plant, and then we're working on the next plant, and I explain one of her classmates is to have a turn putting a plant in the ground, and at the risk of destroying the plant Willa will not let go of it. I do let go impressing a big mud stain across the front of her dress. It's hot, she's muddy, she's a crying mess, and I cannot get the plant out of her clutching hands. Prying the plant away from her we have to step aside to talk and calm down. Now we're both out of sorts, and I punish her by taking away pool time this afternoon. We have had to lose pool time or TV show time on a few occasions because of run-ins like these. 

Trying to leave school after the planting successfully completed she was a hot mess and would not let go. She explained she was tired and had to go home; well, this is an often refrain should either Marla or I see her at a school function anytime between drop off and pick up: "I'm tired", "I'm sick", "I don't want to be here." The teachers are super cool and helpful, and they often step in to lure Willa away bringing her attention elsewhere.

This is probably just four more than I am being a bad parent. I am not as quiet as feel like I should be. The heat doesn't help keep my temper down. My A-type and things needing to be repeated time and again and resulting in snotty bubbling emotional messes is not an easy place for either of us to end up. It's not nice once you arrive there; it's not easy to diffuse, and it's not so easy to just stand up and carry on. Willa's former teacher shared an excellent list of  32 Tantrum-Tamer Phrases to Use With 3 and 4 Year-Olds in Meltdown Mode. Marla and I talk about these situations when we've calmed toward the end of the day and gird ourselves for another eventful encounter in the near future. It's constant, and I want to help Willa grow, understand and appreciate along the way. She's teaching me when I see myself losing my cool (in more way than one), and that's forcing me to redouble my efforts to be my best self for both of us.

How do I know it's all going to turn out alright? I wasn't there, but the other day Marla and Willa are walking to school in the morning. Willa points out a bird to Marla and asks, "You know which one that is?" Marla says no and asks whether Willa does. Without skipping a beat Willa explains, "That's the Red Hawker-Nawker, and it's habitat is..." She apparently goes on for several extensive descriptive and imaginary educational vignettes about this fictitiously identified bird. Willa is smart, she's imaginative, and she's creative.

Some days Willa embodies the perfect pura vida, and other days she is mired in her fourness, and some days she rapidly vacillates. So she lost the pool today, and we'll spend some time talking about it while doing other things. Am I doing it right? I certainly hope so. The fournado is real, and she's the sweetest little monster I know. People say they miss this time -- I think they have memory loss. The Red Hawker-Nawker is a keeper for all times.

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