Little A has always been a wonderful child. He never had the "terrible 2s." Once we got past the colic and figured out he was allergic to disposable diapers and carrots, figured out his eczema, and the best way to handle the transition back home from his visits with his dad, he's been great. Then he turned 4.
I've heard the year 4 referred to as the "F*@$%! 4s." At the time I thought it was funny and over exaggerated. Not any more. Now I think it is quite accurate. EVERYTHING is a battle and most things result in a meltdown. I've been trying a variety of techniques with no luck.
This morning we had the daily clothing battle. We've tried I pick, we pick, he picks. We've tried timers, games, incentives, and punishments. Nothing works. Every morning it's a 30 min battle. This morning involved 2 time outs, a punch, and the promise to carry him to the car naked if he didn't cooperate. It ended with me dressing him while he cried cooperatively.
When we left the drama was left at home and we had a great drive to daycare. It was blissful. It was fun. We had great conversation (well, great with a 4 year old). When we got to daycare he refused to get out of the car. I said ok and bye and walked to the door with E. Usually this is when he'll follow me when he tries this. I look back this morning and saw him crying in the car. I went back and asked what was wrong. He replied "you left me." Ok mood swing. We get out and go in together.
We dropped E off first and all was well. He was ready to go to his friends, so we walked into the cafeteria for morning snack. I signed him in and gave him a hug and kiss and said goodbye. This is all our normal morning. Then I turned to leave and his stuck on me like a leach. He will not stay. I bend down and explain I have to go to work, I love him, he'll have a great day. Another hug and kiss and I leave. Then I hear screaming, crying, and he runs out the door.
We go back in and try again. This goes on for a few minutes including a time out for not listening while I stand there and a few physical carries back to the teacher. Fifteen minutes later it ends with the teacher holding him kicking and crying while I leave.
Twenty minutes later I get to work and I texted a friend who was Little A's teacher for 3.5 years to check on him. He was fine and playing with his teacher next to him. Oy.
I seriously don't get the mood swings or the testing. One minute he's fine. The next is a nuclear meltdown. One minute he's fantastically well behaved and we're having a great time. The next he's the devil child and in trouble.
For some reason he's having a rough morning today. We'll have some extra attention tonight which usually helps with the clingyness. I'm also listening to 1-2-3 magic in the car (without the kids) and will be trying that technique. Let's hope it's really magic or 4 is going to do us all in!