Emi had a rough day today at her new summer school. It was reminiscent of her old preschool breakdowns, a crying tantrum brought on by getting 4 spelling words incorrect on a spelling test we did not know to prepare for, and it took about an hour and a half for her to find her composure and return to the land of the living.
AN HOUR AND A HALF. That is some stamina! I knew I shouldn't have titanium-plated her vocal cords.
Luckily, her teachers rose to the challenge, and the rest of the day went pretty well. There was another crying jag at pick-up time, but since it was a relatively quiet one, we'll fudge a little and call this a one-tantrum day.
Smart-assery aside, I am beside myself with concern. How could the same girl who scaled 20-foot-tall rocks a couple weeks ago, declaring in triumph that "I am Emi and I am not afraid!" be so emotionally fragile two weeks later?
If I'm completely honest, however, the girl finds something to cry over every damn day. And who blames her? The world kinda...sucks! Especially for a girl who hates, in no particular order: competitive games, timed tasks, boring tasks, too-challenging tasks, vegetables, her brother (unless he obeys all her directions), other people's needs and desires, people looking at her, being asked to be polite, being asked to "use her words," and overall not getting to do what she wants to do at any given time. The world asks a lot from little girls, maybe too much.
As her mother, these retrograde moments are getting harder and harder for me to grin at and bear. As an incoming first grader, the expectations for emotional self-regulation are much higher, and I do not dare to guess how well Emi will adjust to a formally-structured classroom setting. I know who her teacher will most likely be, and she runs a tight ship. She is a brilliant educator but will not abide Emi's insistence on doing things her own way on her own time. And once Emi senses she is in a battle of wills, she will try to win at all costs, even if it costs her her dignity. Sigh. Worry worry worry.
But then again, I have to remember that most people's lives are not linear. Emi will evolve and de-evolve on a day-to-day basis, two steps forward and two steps back in a lifelong cha-cha, but the overall trend will most likely be upwards. And if it's not, at least then we will have a real, diagnosable problem that we can treat. I have to remember that the worst-case scenario is actually not so bad.
I mean, she will have to outgrow this sometime. It's not like anyone throws tantrums as a teenager, right? Oh wait...