As I mentioned yesterday, we’re all adjusting to being home after a lovely week of vacation last week. I’m still crying over the state of my inbox, but I’ve surrendered to the idea that I just have to power through and work a little harder to make up for lost time. Oh, and get off Twitter and Facebook and FOCUS, woman!
Owen, on the other hand, is not doing so well with the transition.
Umm, let me rephrase that.
He’s acting like a different child since we got home. And NOT in a good way.
I’m trying to see it from his perspective. For almost an entire week he got to wake up whenever he wanted and spend THE ENTIRE DAY playing with awesome new friends (aka cousins). He got to dictate what he did and when he did it (for the most part… we only left the house for two outings, one for ice cream and one to go the Children’s Museum, so our days were very much dictated by what the kidlets wanted to do and how long they wanted to do it). He got to eat a few less vegetables than normal and no matter what was going on, there were no less than 3 people ready and waiting to entertain him. He spent some portion of every day in the pool, which he loves. In short, he was in heaven. And now, he’s just… home.
Don’t get me wrong. Home is awesome. We generally love our weekends spent taking walks and going to the playground and even going to Target and the grocery story. But this past weekend was filled with a few more necessary errands than normal and, most importantly, NO COUSINS and no one other than good ol’ mom and dad to play with him.
Oh, and he also got an hour or two less of sleep every night last week (and some shorter naps), which perhaps has caught up with him as well.
Letdown after vacation + sleep deficit = a side of Owen I’ve never seen before.
The whining. Oh, the whining. Prior to our trip he whined only occasionally, when it really mattered. You know, for animal crackers instead of pretzels… the truly important battles to fight. He had little outbursts of fussing, sure, but they didn’t happen very often and rarely lasted very long. Since we’ve been back it seems that any little thing sets him off. Instead of even waiting to hear the end of my sentence, he’s wailing and crying his head off. NOT like him. I don’t even know how to react.
He told me yesterday that he learned it from his cousins. To be fair, there were a lot of kids and a lot of different parenting techniques and an undeniable elevated level of craziness last week, but I can’t believe that it’s the first time he’s ever heard whining. Or seen tears used as a mechanism to get what you want.
I’m doing my best to react the same way I’ve reacted in the past. Together we calm his body. I ignore the outburst and let him know how he could ask nicely and model the good behavior. I stay calm and talk softly. Acknowledge his emotions and help him find an appropriate way to let them out. Act like it’s not bothering me.
But you know what? It does bother me. It’s HARD to stay calm and talk softly when I want to scream right back at him. It’s HARD to ignore the way his tone and volume escalates and the tears and the wriggling, squirming, thrashing body. It’s even harder when other people are around and I want to scream, “He doesn’t usually act like this!” (not that it matters that they know that, of course). It’s HARD, people.
Yesterday I kept feeling his forehead almost (almost!) praying for a fever so I could blame this irrational and out-of-character behavior on something other than my sweet little child. Unfortunately I think “being 2 years old” is the only thing I can blame it on at the moment.
Does your kid act like a total pill after a long vacation or other fun activity? Puhlease tell me this ‘tude will come in waves, and it won’t be like this forever from now on? Where did my easygoing kid go?
P.S. Alison, one of my favorite bloggers and internet girl-crushes (and now email pen pal), just wrote an awesome post about the “publish or perish” blog-writing philosophy I touched on a few weeks ago. Go read it! She will crack you up.
Just for the record, though, I am nowhere near as famous as she thinks I am. Shhhh! Don’t tell her.