I had this happy, inspiring post percolating in my head. I wanted to tell you about this awesome new thing Ryan has started doing: while having a crying fit, writhing on the floor, he will choke out the words, "I'm so sad!" It's heartbreaking, but totally exciting: he's labeling an emotion, and using words to tell us how he feels. Last night at bedtime, he launched into Standard Meltdown #6 (the I-want-to-play-Curious-George-computer-games tantrum). Usually during this type of fit he will just chant "Play a game of George" ad nauseum while crying, but last night, in the midst of it, he said, "I'm so sad! I miss my George!" Booyah! He used words to both label an emotion AND tell us why he felt that way. AND he added the idea of possession to it: it's his George.
So I was thinking about what a big deal this is, and how much I freaking love the new speech therapist, and about how far Ryan has come, and I was going to launch into the blog equivalent of the heavens opening and the Israelis and Palestinians joining hands to sing Kumbaya.
But then I got sulky.
After a rocky morning at home, I brought Ryan to the playground today, where I encountered a tiny little girl, maybe 2 1/2 years old, joyously playing on her own, initiating full-sentence, totally-intelligible conversations with her parents, out of diapers, showing no signs of resistance when told it was time to leave, and her utter normality slapped me across the face. She was no different than any of the other neurotypical children in the neighborhood, so I'm not sure what triggered my reaction. Maybe it was her size: seeing someone so tiny who is able to outperform my 42" tall four-year-old in so many ways was jarring. Maybe she was just the proverbial straw. My chest suddenly felt heavy.
When we got home, there were assorted tantrums, chewed up bits of dinner spit all over the living room, and more than a few child-inflicted maulings. Eventually we got up to Standard Meltdown #6. He ran to his room, wailing. I lay down on the floor in our office, breathed deeply, and let my eyes leak into the carpet. Then from down the hall, I heard:
"I'm so sad."
I went to Ryan's room and lay down on the floor with him. I hugged him tightly, and he stopped crying. "I get sad, too," I told him, sobbing into his hair. "Sometimes you can't get what you want. It's ok to feel sad sometimes."
I wiped his eyes. He kissed my nose.