In five short weeks school will start here. Our 4-year-old, Tinker, will go to pre-K, and The Captain (5) is headed for kindergarten. The Blitz, age 3, is spitting mad that he does not get to go to school (And yet I know he would be madder still on the 3rd or 4th day when “the new wore off” and he wanted to stay home with Mama.)

I think Tink is ready. She was thrilled to go to Vacation Bible School this year. On the third day her true mischievous nature showed up, and it was necessary for me to exert a little pressure for more civilized behavior the next two days, but she acquiesced and had a successful ending to the week.

The Captain, on the other hand, is another story. Ever the follower, he has begun a committed imitation of The Blitz’s tantrums and raised tantrumming to a new level.

There are so many “even thoughs” to be said.

  • Even though we know he still has attachment issues
  • Even though he shows signs of PTSD
  • Even though we know his emotional age is around 2.5
  • Even though we know he is still unable, generally, to think through a consequence
  • Even though we have understanding of and compassion for all of that, it is not enough to make it easy.

It has been– to say the least– a mighty challenging summer.

Yet, with school around the corner, we realize some things will have to change. He simply cannot cry every time some little thing does not meet his expectation. The world’s most patient teacher cannot cope with that. I do not think most kindergarten teachers are prepared for a robust 5-year-old who acts like a 3-year-old.

We are trying to help. We are watching our tone, trying to “silly” him into a change of mood, assigning consequences at times, and generally putting our major focus on this one issue. At first, nothing seemed to help.

Now, a couple of things are working. It helps when I can catch that first drop of the chin and say, “Oh, wait, wait, hold your chin up. Take a deep breath. Do you really want to go there? Take a minute.” This was impossible at first because the fits came on fast and furious. Now, there is a glimpse, a moment, the ever-so-slightest of pauses. And if I am paying attention, I can stick a foot in that door.

We will get there, I have no doubt. It’s a matter of time and perseverance. I only hope and pray that five weeks is enough time. Stay tuned.