This morning started put normal, but went downhill quickly. Grace was in a mood, and I was in no mood for whining. It started with tights. She threw a fit as soon as she saw them, even when I begged, pleaded, cajoled and offered to turn them inside out (she hates the seam). Finally, in frustration, I threw her pretty dress on her and told her she could wear leggings. She immediately started screaming, saying her dress was “too itchy.” I threw up my hands and went to take my shower.
By the time I got out, Gracie was completely naked, having taken off the offending dress. I took a deep breath and told her to pick out her own clothes. I had to do the 3 count to get her to put undies on (they were itchy, too, apparently!) I then got her into her chosen leggings and shirt, but we reached another impasse and argued over socks for another ten minutes. I put them aside and went to get snacks ready. I packed up Christopher’s backpack, but again Grace started to scream that she didn’t want a snack for school today. I packed it anyway, and went to retrieve the socks she had thrown. After wrestling with those those another minute, I grabbed her sandals and carried her kicking and screaming to the car. Getting her buckled into her harness carseat was super fun! (Sarcasm).
By now she was crying and yelling that she didn’t want to go to school. Chris was plugging his ears as we waited for his bus, and I was beyond frustrated, raising my voice over her to tell her to knock it off. Chris got on the bus, I pulled off of our street, and her screams intensified.
After about a quarter mile, something hit me. I work from home, so preschool is not for childcare, it’s supposed to be fun. Today I could drop her off screaming as the teacher pulled her from my arms, or I could give in and let her take a day off. I need mental health days sometimes, so why shouldn’t she?
I took a deep breath, pulled the car over, and got into the back seat.
“Grace, look at mommy so I can talk to you. You’re having a tough day today, and so is mama. Do you need to take a day off?”
She nodded, sniffling. I told her that she needs to go to school in Thursday, but that it was okay if she was feeling off and needed to take a break today. She immediately brightened.
As I got back into the driver’s seat, I realized that in all the chaos, I had never even gotten her to eat breakfast. We headed to Panera, where I pointed out all of the muffins. She wanted a cookie decorated like a pumpkin. Sometimes you just need a cookie for breakfast, so I agreed. As she ate her cookie, my girl became herself again and made her typical three year old observations about the world around her.
I’m so glad I took that breath and pulled the car over. I tell my adult friends to practice self care, and yet when I comes to myself and my kids I tend to lack that ability. Take a day. Sometimes you’re not physically sick, but you’re tired, worn out, stressed, etc. And sometimes, you just need a cookie.