The day started out well enough. Sure, I endured the regular morning bickering and getting out the door obstacles but I was completely unprepared for what would happen at school.
Today Beau was supposed to bring something green to school. Everything he wanted to bring was blue. I am beginning to suspect that he might be color blind. He seems to know red, yellow, pink, brown, white, black and blue but he seems not to believe me that anything is the color green. Everything green is also blue. I held up green dragon or green volcano--pick one I said. No, he said and held up blue blanket or blue dinosaur. I tried to explain that we needed GREEN not blue. Finally, he insisted on the volcano, dragon and BLUE dinosaur. After already having the argument about his outfit and negotiating with Carmella about fixing her hair I decided his teacher could be the one to tell him the subtle differences between green and blue.
But Beau continued to complain all the way to school. My general course of action for behavior I don't like is to first ignore it and if it doesn't go away and I can't put him in time out because we are in public or I am driving I threaten a spanking or taking away something--toy, school, etc. For the most part this works pretty well.
Nothing worked today.
We got to the school and Beau refused to get out of the car. I thought he was trying to find the Blue dinosaur (which I had ever so stealthily hidden). I pulled him out of the car and he threw the biggest fit. Ignoring him and thinking it would stop as soon as we got to the school I dragged him kicking and screaming while carrying 2 school bags, 2 lunch boxes, a volcano, and dragon into the church. I lost my grip on him and everything I was carrying as soon as we walked through the doors. Carmella, wisely, was walking about 10 steps ahead of us and stopped to gawk incredulously at Beau and I as all the other mommies and kids were. I am pretty sure she was pretending she wasn't with us. At this moment Beau took the opportunity to bolt to the parking lot. He was slowed by 3 other mommies attempting to block his sprint but he is quite the tight-end and navigated easily past them. I left our stuff and Carmella and raced after him. Once again I drug him back in screaming and crying.
I managed to make it to Carmella's classroom. Her teacher, upon seeing my distress, takes her things and tells me to go on. Not wanting to give his tantrum any more platform than it has already taken: I turn my back on him and quickly kiss Carmella and say goodbye. I lingered too long because Beau was halfway down the hall before I turned around. Again, several Moms tried to stop him but couldn't. I caught him and took him back to pick up our things and try to reason with him. All this is happening in the middle of a busy hall where moms are trying to get their well-behaved children off to their classrooms.
You can always tell between the people who have experienced such a situation as the public tantrum and those that have not just by the looks and comments you get while your child is in the throes of one. Those that have experienced it first hand generally don't even bother to try to help and definitely don't comment. They either ignore him and speak only to me or they smile and pat me on the shoulder and say "you today, me tommorrow" or something sympathetically similar.
While Beau is having his fit one Mom comments to me that I have my hands full today and wants to know if I plan on running and also can Carmella come for a playdate later this week. "Yes. I hope so. And that sounds great!" I answer her and she is gone. Another Mom comments that she remembers those days and that Beau reminds her of her son. I was tempted to ask if he was still alive but thought better of it. Another woman comments to me that he is so cute that she can't believe he is making so much racket. As if only ugly children have fits? Both a man and friend whose child was in Carmella's class last year got down on Beau's level to try and talk to him. For the first time EVER Beau actually stopped crying and got embarrassed and hid behind me. I have to say I was speechless. He wouldn't even look at them. In the past when Beau has had a public tantrum and strangers try to talk to him it generally makes it worse. He never stops crying and usually in response screams even louder to let them know just how pissed off he is. At the very least, today we made some progress since I think what I saw was the first inklings of remorse in Beau. Could just be a fluke though.
Finally I managed to get Beau to his classroom. His teachers were shocked to see him in this state as Beau is ALWAYS happy and very excited about school. I had thought if I could just get him to his classroom then he would be fine. But he kept crying. I gave him a choice: home with Mommy or stay at school. All he wanted was whatever was in the car and kept trying to tell me what it was but it didn't matter because that was not one of his options. I told him whatever it was that he wanted--as I could not understand what he was saying--that it would be there when he was done with school. At this moment he saw his friend come in and he decided to stay. I handed the bags over and left. But then he came running down the hall after me. I went and got his bag and we started to leave but he struggled away from me and ran back to the classroom. We repeated this scenario twice before his teacher said "just go. We'll call you if he doesn't settle down." So I left him screaming. I went to use the restroom and when I walked back by he had calmed down. I went to my car to get something I had forgotten to leave for Carmella. When I walked back past his classroom he was crying again. I decided whatever was so upsetting he was past the point of getting over it so I just took him home.
His teacher suggested maybe separation anxiety was the problem but it wasn't me that he didn't want to be separated from. Neither Beau nor Carmella has ever even had a hint of separation anxiety and it just seems way too late for it to just be starting.
Beau was pretty calm until he realized that he was going home. I think he thought we would go to the car and he would get whatever it was he wanted and get to go back to school. All the way home Beau cried "I want my school! I want my school!" As soon as we got home I sent him to his room and he took a nap. I had to wake him to pick up Carmella. When we got in the car he said "I want my blue bord."
His blue sword.
That is what he wanted the whole time. Not that it would have mattered as he can't take his sword to school anyway but I think he probably would have been less hysterical if someone would have understood him. This has been the hardest part of his speech delay. He knows he is not being understood but is trying to communicate and just gets beyond pissed off when people can't understand him. It really makes the terrible twos that much more terrible for us both.