And so he sat on the top step and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. What was I going to do? Threaten not to take him to school? That wouldn't have worked because I had to take Aaron, plus I had to go to work. He wasn't listening to any of my bribes, I couldn't think of a plausible (and situation-appropriate) threat, my back was really hurting so I didn't want to carry him, so I was basically out of options. I honestly don't remember how I coaxed him down the stairs, though I do remember promising to pick him up as soon as he got to the driveway. He screamed and sobbed with every step.
Please bear in mind that this kid has been running and jumping and climbing stairs since before we met him 15 months ago.
I got the sobbing, wimpering child into the car, went and picked up Aaron and drove to school. When we parked the car, Julian wimpered to be picked up and I obliged (I refuse to have a meltdown in a busy parking lot) and carried him into the school. When we got into the foyer, I put him down. It's a long hallway down to his classroom and my back hurt and he's frankly too big to carry around all the time. He's over 30 lbs, he's over 3 feet tall (keep in mind that I'm only 5 feet tall), he's simply too big to carry all the time.
So he stood in the entrance to the school and screamed. And screamed. And screamed. And cried. And screamed some more. Then he stomped his feet (while screaming), screamed some more, and cried and stuck his lower lip out so far he would have tripped over it if he'd been willing to walk.
Parents were passing me by, not making eye contact, students were gawking, administrators were pleading with their eyes for me to just give the kid what he wanted. But I am just as stubborn as him. Plus, I really, really, really didn't want to carry him down there and my back really did hurt (I have been sleeping funny and waking up all bent out of shape, literally).
Finally, I kneeled down next to him and put my arms out (which he took as me offering to pick him up, so he took the bait), gave him a big hug and held him tight. I stayed there and told him (calmly) that I love him and I'm going to be by his side. "I will give you hugs, and I will give you lots of kisses, and I will hold your hand, and I will tell you how much I love you, but I cannot carry you to class. Are you ready to walk with me?" "No, Eema! I want picka-up!" "Eema will pick you up and hold you and hug you and give you kisses and tell you how much you are loved, but I cannot carry you to class. Are you ready to hold Eema's hand and walk to see Morah Wendy?"
And, at last, the words I wanted to hear: "Okay Eema," he wimpered. He took my hand and walked slowly down the hall with me, wimpering with every step, holding back sobs, but not screaming. When he started to get upset again, I kneeled down next to him and gave him hugs and kisses and told him how much I love him. And I took his hand and we walked (slowly and with much drama and wimpering) to his class room. When we got there he immediately clung to my skirt and cried and I picked him up and gave him smooches and hugs and told him I loved him. And he wimpered.
And then he saw the fish in the tank and off he went. I ceased to exist at that moment.
Today was more of the same, but no Aaron and it took a lot longer to convince him to walk by himself. The four-year-old teacher told me I was doing the right thing and not to worry; this was a school after all, they are used to temper tantrums and the teachers would rather have a parent not give in to everything than the parent who does.
I'd say it's a morning thing, but he does the same thing coming home. And only for Seth and me. So it seems like it's an attachment issue. I hope that my reassurances take hold at some point. I can't go through this every morning!