I have Sara to thank for turning me on to this book called Raising Your Spirited Child. I read a little bit of it every night before bed and even though I will certainly need to re-read parts in order for it all to sink in, it's really been helping me. One interesting thing that I've learned from the book is how important it is to "set the stage for success" with a spirited child. To set up the day with regards to how your child can not only avoid completely melting down, but so that you can actually help them be as successful as possible. I've become more in tune with Iris's needs and how to help handle the times she does fall apart. We both have a long ways to go, but so far, having the information has been a life saver.
Speaking of falling apart, Miss Iris completely lost it at co-op today. It made me feel really sad because she LOVES going to co-op. All of her friends are there and there are so many things to do. Even from day one I could walk away from her and she would be perfectly happy. In fact, she rarely ever needs me at all while we're at co-op. Something happened today to just cause her to lose it. I don't know what-- I had said goobye to her while she was happily playing with the dolls and went out in another room. Not two minutes later she comes running out crying her eyes out and saying "mama! mama!" and jumped in to my arms. She calmed down a bit, but never wanted to be off of my lap. She actually started saying "go home!" and at one point ran over to the gate we have to walk through to leave. I decided this was clearly an important time to honor her needs, and so we packed up and left. We hadn't even made it to the parking lot and she was completely fine. She's been fine ever since. Not that this ever really happens to her, but I wish I had known what caused it. Sigh. Now that I am so adamant about trying to be in tune with her, it drives me crazy if I can't figure something out. After we got home she was pointing to the pantry saying "some! want some! PLEASE!" and I had NO idea what she wanted. I ran through a few things, each causing her to get more aggravated with me. I never figured out what she really wanted, but some crackers seemed to suffice.
I have been talking to Matt about the importance of trying to understand what she is telling us, even if we don't know what she is saying. That children feel valued when their parents are at least attempting to understand them instead of throwing up their arms and walking away. Again, according to the book, it helps children just knowing someone wants to help them, whether or not we get it right.