The evening did not start with promise. I picked up my son first, and when I walked into the after school daycare room, he was happy to see me until I told him to put the legos away and get his snow pants on so we could pick up his sister. He yelled that he wanted to play and then threw himself on the floor and screamed. Great. This escalated into harsher words until he finally yelled, "I hate you". Ugh. You know that moods change on a dime when you're six, hell, they're just as bad when you're 40 some days. I fought back the hurt and the anger and just stopped talking, taking the "if you can't say anything" tact and hoping to find my calm voice as he demanded gum over and over and over again. Keep in mind that my son is normally the sweetest boy in the world, I felt like someone had replaced him with an alien pod-boy. Eventually he started to beg me to speak, which is when I almost managed to remain calm and explain why he wouldn't be getting gum, that his behaviour was not acceptable at all, and that he better change his attitude.
Then the wailing started. I was mean, I was unfair, he didn't like me, he wanted daddy. I turned up the radio and managed to get to my daughter's daycare without breaking any traffic laws.
Picked up the girl with only a minor tantrum while getting dressed and a brief panicked frenzy when we left her stuffed giraffe on the bench upstairs. Eventually got everyone back in the car and at that moment, it started snowing. Big fat flakes started falling from the sky, so big and substantial that as they were hitting the road in front of the car, they were being dragged and stretched by gusts of wind across the pavement, like white wiggling ribbons, almost alive.
Everything was silent as we all stopped to watch the show and a calm descended. By the time we got home, the pod-boy was gone and my boy was standing on the sidewalk catching snowflakes on his tongue.
Being six is a complicated thing. Being a parent is a simpler thing when you are patient. It's something I'm working on.