And like that, it was over.
Tropical Storm Saoirse, the Toddler Tornado, a Letmehaveit Landslide–whatever you want to call the terrible, gut-wrenching, hair-pulling vortex of awfullness that was these past two weeks, it seems to have passed. Yes, we still have some minor screaming (SK’s, not mine this time), and the occasional time-out (we don’t do formal time-outs around here, because sitting in a special chair so doesn’t work–SK usually ends up in her room to calm down, or in our room with me so we can talk it out, 3-year-old style. Supernanny would not be pleased, but it’s what works for us. And what I mean by “works for us” is that it’s the only thing that’s sort of worked because we have no idea what we’re doing. Don’t tell the kids), but all of a sudden Saoirse is all happy conversation and hugs and “I love you”s.
Is that what hostages feel like when their captors take heart enough to pass them a small piece of stale bread? Because all of a sudden, the memories of the tantrums, and Quinn crying because her sister’s just swiped her toy again and me curling up in fetal position in the corner of the kitchen whimpering a silent prayer into the crumbs because honestly, I just can’t take it any more, are all fuzzy little scenes that play in the back corners of my mind, somewhere along with the school portraits of me in those awful red-framed glasses and that one horrible date I went on with some guy who lived in the apartment building beside mine and insisted on playing Dave Matthews Band all night even though almost every song from Dave Matthews Band makes me want to tear out my ear drums with a fork and he knew that already but thought playing “Crash Into Me” over and over would be really, really romantic.
I don’t know if we did something good, or SK just worked it out for herself, but something’s changed. I basically established a two-pronged rule that if toys are in the main living areas of the house, they’re fair game for play for each party. I also said that if Quinn’s playing with something, SK can’t play with it at the moment, and vice versa. David’s not so sure about the soundness of this arrangement, nor the lessons it’s teaching the children in turn-taking, but you know what? Most of the blow-ups were because Quinn was playing with one of Saoirse’s toys and SK would melt down into a puddle of tears and flailing about, so this quells the storm for now. Taking turns is the next step. We’ll get there. Right now I just want to get through the day without somebody crying. Including me.
But as I type this, Quinn is napping after a very content morning, which only partly involved climbing all over me like I’m some obstacle course on a dirt bike track and clinging to my legs while I was washing the dishes (Told you, didn’t I? All. the. time). And Saoirse is just, well, happy. So happy. She’s playing with her trains and talking a mile a minute and overjoyed when she finds out she gets to go to Target with her parent.
I don’t know what it is, or why this shift has happened, but I’ll take it. Do you know that period of time after a rainstorm’s washed through your neighborhood, and the air smells all fresh and clean? There’s usually a small, cool breeze blowing through, too, as if the heat of the summer just needed a little break for a moment. It’s kind of like that around here right now, and it is awesome.
See, I told you this post would be a happier one.