It was a really hard morning.
We were running late because it was my telecommute day, and I like to keep the kids home a little bit longer on those days. We have a nice breakfast together, watch some “Dinosaur Train” or “Sesame Street” and play before we get in the car and go to day care.
A new rule at day care is no toys from home. (We were having sharing/meltdown issues.) It makes for an overall easier day at day care, but has been a major issue when we’re trying to leave. It was part of his routine to pick a “friend”, usually a stuffed animal, to take with him. He still wants to do that every morning. And I have to tell him “no.”
This does not go over well.
Sometimes I can distract him and get to day care without incident. Other times, like today, I imagine the Fates are standing behind me — laughing hysterically. He would not be distracted. He cried all the way to the car. He screamed and flailed around, arching his back and trying to get down when I was buckling him into his car seat. He had just started to calm down when I got him out of the car seat at day care when he saw a toy on the floor of the backseat. Naturally, he wanted to take it with him. And I had to say “no.”
And he lost his little mind again.
I put him in the front seat of the car for a time out, hoping he would calm down. (Sometimes all he needs is a minute to himself.) No such luck. By this time, I had about 10 minutes to get home and signed onto my computer to “get” to work on time. I hadn’t had any coffee.
And I was out of patience.
While profanities were running through my mind, I think the only part that made it out of my mouth was “Oh for the love of …” before I hauled him up, felt an eardrum shatter from his screaming, put him on one hip, grabbed the lunch bag and my daughter (in her car seat) in the other, and trudged up the walkway to day care.
She opened the door before I was able to knock — she heard him from inside — grabbed my daughter and the lunch bag and set them gently on the floor, before taking the squirming, screaming boy from my arms and saying: “Just go, Sweetie. He calms down quicker if you’re not here.”
I called out a “love you guys, be good,” as she shooed me out the door. When I reached the car, I couldn’t hear him crying anymore. He had already stopped.
It wasn’t until I had been working for an hour that the guilt hit. I had lost patience with him because I was breaking his routine and not letting him take a toy to day care. A toy that gave him comfort while he was there and for nap time. Even though our day care provider has a special stuffed animal for him at nap time, its not the same as having his toy there — usually elephant — for comfort.
And then I thought about it a little more: How often during my life will I get frustrated with him or his sister? How many times — if I really think about it — will the cause of the frustration ultimately be my fault?