We're still on vacation, so after dropping Daddy off at the bus stop this morning, we ran some errands before heading up to Nana and Apu's house for some furniture rearrangement. Whew! After that, we hung out at home. I proposed going out to a park and encountered meltdown. Belay that outing.
So we took it easy some more, calmed down, and had lunch. I actually got most of the decorations down and the dangerously dessicated tree out of the house. It's the earliest I've ever taken down Christmas and I realized that I didn't get out a third of my things in the first place because things were so stressful and sad. It was kind of a blank feeling, like "well, that was pretty much a wash-out this year." We all did all make it through -- that's the main thing.
We worked on our thank you cards from Christmas and then took advantage of the warm afternoon and went swimming. While James and his sister had a blast, I worked the kinks out of my knees and blissed out in the outdoor jacuzzi while keeping an eye on the kids. James was excited to see one of his teachers from school and talked to her whenever he got near her.
Then it was time for out of the pool. James started crying, he was so cold once he the chilly afternoon air hit him. Luckily I changed him in less than a minute. It took longer to calm him down though. And lately, when he gets upset, he cries and starts shouting things like "You SHUSH!" and "And I said NO!!!" and "You go away now, Mommy!"
I don't get mad at him, but I do let him know that last one is really rude and he needs to say sorry. Then I get him to talk about what's bothering him (like this afternoon -- "Sounds like you're pretty cold, is that right?") and show him there's a solution that will make things a bit better ("Let's get on our dry clothes and go home. We can visit the helicopters on our way. Won't that be fun?")
Unfortunately, our gym's only family bathroom and shower are outdoors, which is really inconvenient in winter. I strategized the bathing scenarios on the way home. Myself first, and then a bath for James while I dried my hair. Then wash James' hair (cringing as I think about this, but it's necessary) and dry him off while my daughter cut up potatoes for baked fries for dinner. Then clean up tree needles and get ready for dinner while daughter showers. Have James watch a video while I help her rinse, apply conditioner, and comb out/blow dry her long hair. All that took over an hour, but we all enjoyed our dinners with clean (dry) hair in our jammies. Thank the heavens that James has stopped screaming and crying if I turn on the hair dryer.
I cringe just thinking about washing James' hair. because it requires nerves of steel. He howls, screams, cries, and thrashes so. Plus his cries of "No, Mommy, NOOOOOOOOOO!" make me feel like I am scarring him for life. Usually it takes him a LONG time to calm down after ... or he passes out into an early bedtime.
This time, however, he was merely unhappy. No crying. I hardly breathed through the whole operation. Another new thing - he talked out the steps in advance; we agreed on how many scoops of water we'd use to wet and then rinse his hair, as well as how long we'd do the actual shampooing.
Part of me want to light a candle, or something, in hopes that the water torture of bathing is behind us. Both my children hated having their heads get wet like. They howled and cried and screamed like possessed monkeys. After struggling for years with my daughter, I was sapped for dealing with James when he started rebelling. My husband does not help bathe the children, so I put off kid bathing and hair washing for ridiculously long periods of time. This past month I've finally nerved myself to do more often, and I think it's now becoming part of The Routine.
Last new thing: James, sitting on the sofa, reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to himself. He can memorize books like this, but I watched him and he was prompting himself by reading the words. What a warm glow that was! He also likes this book now because he identifies with Max. I think he needs some Wild Things in his room ...