My 5 year old enjoys having a strict schedule and routine. I am aware of this and try to make as many accomodations to help him handle changes in our daily schedule. Usually, I am able to anticipate the changes ahead of time and just through a little explanation we can transition through just fine.
However, I have recently discovered that I don't always have the ability to warn him of changes in his routine or be able to make accomodations for him. I am also beginning to understand that changes in our daily life can be normal occurrences and I need to teach him how to handle those gracefully instead of screaming, crying and experiencing temper tantrums.
See, Hoss (the 5 year old) seems to think that Mommy and Daddy can fix or change anything and we are fine with him believing this. I mean, as a parent, don't we want our kids to trust and believe in our abilities to help them? Hoss seems to think that if he asks and says "please" at the end, we can move mountains. And trust me, we try to move those mountains as much as possible, but perhaps we have done too much.
The challenge we have faced in recent weeks is the weather. Possibly it is my fault that this issue has arose. A few weeks ago we experienced snow on a Saturday. Hoss believes that we must leave our house every day, after all we do so Monday-Friday for school and work and Sundays we attend church, so Saturdays we must have some type of activity scheduled. It can be as simple as going to the library or getting his haircut, but we must get in the car and drive somewhere. This is fine by me, as I enjoy being on the go, but being 35 weeks pregnant, tired and sore, I lean more toward staying home and propping my feet up instead of treking out in possibly dangerous weather conditions.
We had plans that Saturday and Hoss was aware of these plans; however, I quickly realized those plans were likely not going to happen, so I told Hoss. Being the mother-of-the-year that I am, I didn't want him to blame me for the change, so I blamed the snowy weather, telling Hoss that we could not go out in the car because of the snow on the ground.
That is where the critical mistake occurred! Hoss immediately began to ask me to "melt the snow, please." And when I attempted to explain to him that even though I am Super Mommy, I can not control the weather, the requests became more whiny and eventually led to a complete breakdown of the following, "Melt the snow! Melt the snow, please! Mommy, melt the snow! I wanna melt the snow! I don't want snow! Melt the snow, please!" And on and on it went. It continued to the point that I considered getting the hair dryer and an extension cord and actually going outside to melt the snow -- mostly just to get away from all the whining!
Even though we could not melt the snow, Hoss got to bundle up and go outside and play in the snow with Daddy and spent the majority of that time attempting to eat handfuls of snow. Unfortunately this did not ease his desire to get in the car and go somewhere. He didn't care where we went, he just wanted to go. Much to his chagrin (and whiny pleas) we did not go anywhere that day, but we did the next -- we could only take so much.
That brings us to this morning. It is Monday. On Mondays Hoss goes to Early Start, then to daycare while Mommy and Daddy go to work. At 6:15a.m. Hoss was tossing and turning in bed so I told him, gently and softly (and very upbeat, I might add!), that he was not going to Early Start this morning because it had snowed. With his eyes still scrunched shut, the first words Hoss said was, "I wanna melt that snow!"
To be honest, I agreed with him this morning as we still had to venture out of the house so Mommy and Daddy could go to work. Hoss was still able to get out of the house and go to daycare, but he was not happy with this as his schedule had changed. He pulled out all the guilt trips he likes to try when he isn't getting his way, like saying, "But I need you Mommy. I want you." -- meaning, please don't leave me at daycare, stay home with me. Unfortunately, that option was not possible even though I wish it was.
Through his pleas this morning to "melt the snow, please!" we also heard, "I want the sun! I want it to be sunny!" I have no argument to this -- I want to say, "Me too! Me too!" But, instead we persevere, discuss that sometimes things don't work out like we plan for them to and we have to make the best of them. After all, snow cream for supper sounds great!