My mom and Michael had a very nice day yesterday. They played, they watered the plants, they went swimming. It was all good. It all went wrong the moment I showed up to pick him up. He wouldn't get his shoes on. Once his shoes were on, he wouldn't get into his car seat. Once we got home he freaked out because I was standing on the sidewalk.
Yes, I just said he was angry because I was standing on the sidewalk. I don't have a rational way to handle that one so I was lucky the "Let's race" approach worked.
There were a number of other bizarre, irrational reactions throughout the evening which eventually resulted in a time out held in Andy's office. Things settled down after that, but I wouldn't call it the perfect evening.
As frustrating as Michael can be when he gets like this, I typically find myself confused and a little sad about what's going on. As I was putting Michael to bed last night, while he was falling asleep on my shoulder, he whispered, "I need to go downstairs to poopy." We both know that when he says that, what he really means is that he wants to stay with me. He wants it so badly that even as he's drifting off to sleep, it's still the primary thought in his head.
I see this battle between independence and attachment and I know it must be hard on him. I also know that he just has to go through it. It's part of growing up. I just wish I could find a good balance between being supportive without being too permissive. It's easy to think about, but putting it into practice is a lot harder.
I finally broke down today and ordered Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy. I'm not really expecting it to help me manage Michael's moods, but I am hoping it will help me come to terms with the fact that three-year-olds are crazy, that they all go through it, and that they eventually grow out of it. If you have read the book, and it didn't help, don't tell me. I need what little hope I have at the moment.