This morning, for the first time in a long time, Littleman had meltdown on the way to daycare. I asked him to stay inside the front door with his brother (who has a tendency to try to crawl up the stairs as soon as I turn my back) while I set up the stroller out front. When I went back inside to get the kids, Littleman started crying because he had wanted to help set up the stroller. I reminded him that he had helped me by watching his brother and I asked that he help me clip the baby into the stroller. But, alas, it was too late. He was wound up and wasn’t going to be distracted from his anger.
He cried the whole way to the daycare. Then, through his tears, he said, “I’m crying because I wanted to help you with the stroller!” I couldn’t help but smile. A year ago, when he was an angst-filled three-nager, his meltdowns were intense. He’d get super mad and cry really hard and, in the end, I sometimes wondered if he even remembered what the whole fuss was about. Now (at the ripe old age of four) he knows exactly why he is upset and articulates it very clearly.
He calmed himself down by the time we reached the daycare. He helped me collapse and store the stroller, which somewhat made up for the earlier injustice of not being allowed to help set it up in the first place.
Watching all this go down made me realize how much easier parenting Littleman is now that he’s four. He’s always been a pretty well-behaved kid who is a good listener and likes to help. But, he is still a kid and we’ve certainly had our ups and down. Age three was probably the hardest so far – I wrote about it here and here – but we seem to have turned a corner. Sure, there are still moments like this morning where he gets upset when he doesn’t get what he wants. But, like today, he gets over it pretty quickly now and he seems to be starting to understand that he can’t always get what he wants (his dad and I have amused ourselves by singing that to him which could have pissed him off but seems to have entertained him instead).
It will be interesting to see what Bo is like as he gets older and starts to show his frustration more. Will he continue to be an easy-going kid, like he’s been an easy-going baby? Or will he be stubborn and get easily worked up when he doesn’t get his way? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.