After School Meltdown Syndrome is in full effect here in the NYAM household.
Actually, the older kids are adjusting fairly well.
But, as expected, Number 7, who just started kindergarten, is having some issues.
Number 7 is like a mini Number 4.
Life is always a crapshoot, and predicting what the day will bring is pretty much impossible. You never know which Number 7 is going to show up when she wakes up in the morning or when she gets off the bus or when it’s bedtime or basically, um, ever.
Number 7 was super excited to go to kindergarten.
She basically sprinted onto the bus on that first day of school.
But she came off the bus crying and saying she didn’t want to go back to school.
Nothing bad happened. I think she just expected kindergarten to be exactly the same thing as preschool except now she finally got to take the bus to get there.
So what she had envisioned in her head didn’t happen, and that pissed her off.
The morning of the second day of school she woke up and immediately went into hysterics saying she hated school and she wasn’t going.
This lasted for a good 30 minutes until I got scared I was never going to get her out of the house, so when I finally got completely desperate, I bribed her with the promise of getting a pack of gum after school, and that was enough to get her butt out the door and onto the bus.
That day she came off the bus happy because she knew she was getting gum.
The next morning she had another meltdown, and this time she asked if she could take her blankie to school. I told her she could.
When she got home she told me she cried at school because she missed me, and her teacher let her get her blankie when she was sad and that made her feel better.
Just about every day she came home the second week, even though she told me she was making friends and having fun and she loved her teacher and she really loved gym class, she came off the bus with a smile, took about three steps down the driveway, and then went into crying mode.
She hated school. She wasn’t going the next day. The days were too long.
And the long days hadn’t even started yet.
We were both fucked.
Her first long day was this past Tuesday.
I prepared for the worst on Tuesday afternoon.
But she came off the bus super happy. (As she was exiting, the bus driver did stop her and talk to her about rules on the bus and that she had to stay in her seat, but I decided I’d leave that up to the bus driver for now).
Number 7 loved the long day. She got to have two recesses on long days. She got to play in her classroom.
Everything was awesome! She didn’t cry at all at school or in the driveway! YES!!!
My parents came to babysit after school because I had an open house to go to after swim practice. I told Number 7 she could skip practice and take the night off and just chill out after her first long day.
But she really wanted to go to swim practice. And she wasn’t freaking out about anything.
So I let her go.
She did great at practice. She dove off the blocks for the first time and had lot of fun. When I got home from open house that night around 8:00, she was passed out cold in bed.
The first long day was a success.
But I knew better. The other shoe was gonna drop soon.
And it dropped yesterday.
When Number 7 came off the bus, she was happy. We walked inside. I went into the kitchen and started to get a snack for her. As I did that, she hung up her backpack and started to empty it.
She came up behind me, walked around me to face me, and with a big smile on her face, she showed me a library book. This is one of those kindergarten things she’s been looking forward to for years.
Every time the other kids would come home from school with a library book she’d get upset and say it wasn’t fair.
Her time had finally come!
“DID YOU GET TO CHECK OUT YOUR OWN BOOK? YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!” I said to her excitedly.
And immediately, her expression went from a smile, to full on hysterics.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“I DON’T LIKE THIS BOOK! WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! I WANNA CHECK OUT A DIFFERENT ONE!!!!! WWWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”
Oh boy. Hello other shoe.
“I HATE SCHOOL!!! I’M NOT GOING BACK TOMORROW!!!!!”
I didn’t try to convince her of anything. I just let her vent.
She put her head down and proceeded to cry her eyes out.
Then she started kicking the shit out of the wall under the counter.
I told her I understood she was upset, and she could cry it out, but she couldn’t keep kicking the wall.
She gave me the death glare, got up off her stool, and walked into the bathroom in the mudroom.
I thought maybe she was going to blow her nose or pee or something.
Number 6 was also home, and I was talking to him while Number 7 gave us a slight break from her AM the afternoon meltdown.
She came back to her stool.
And she started banging on the wall underneath the counter with a fucking hammer.
(There is a toolbox in the mudroom bathroom that the kids use as a stepstool to wash their hands. Apparently Number 7 wasn’t blowing her nose when she went in there ).
” WHOAH!” I said to her.
“WHAT???” she yelled at me. “YOU SAID I COULDN’T KICK! YOU DIDN’T SAY I COULDN’T USE A HAMMER!!!”
Holy shit. This kid is going to kill me.
I took the hammer away.
We had another open house last night, and my parents were coming up to babysit again. I told Number 7 she was not going to swim practice with me. She needed to stay home and chill out.
“NO! I’M GOING WITH YOU!!!!”she screamed.
I didn’t get into it with her. There was no point engaging. She was so far gone by this point.
I just tried to change the subject and hoped that when I had to leave in 15 minutes, she’d have moved onto the next thing.
I tried to sneak out the door, but she was onto me, and she followed me right outside.
My mom came out after her, followed by Number 6 who was just wondering how this whole thing was going to play out.
I got in the car and locked all the doors while I watched my mom chase Number 7 in circles around the car, until Number 7, finally, in one last desperate attempt, lay down on the ground in the driveway in front of one of my tires.
Where the hell she learned that, I have no idea.
But at least she had slowed down enough for my mom to catch her.
And as I happily pulled out of the driveway, I saw my mom in the rear view mirror, holding a thrashing Number 7 upside down by her ankles, and all I could think was, Better her than me.
By the time I got home, she had regained control of herself.
But yesterday was definitely a doozy.
Who knows which Number 7 is gonna show up today when she gets off the bus. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the happy one. But I’m not holding my breath. I’m hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.
And I guess I’m sharing this just so you know that if your kids are losing their shit when they get home from school, well, they aren’t the only ones. You are not alone.
Your kids will adjust. Bit by bit, your afternoons will run more smoothly.
Until you reach that point, hang in there, Mamas!
(Just hopefully not while someone is holding you upside down by the ankles).
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