My almost 5 year old is emotional like a teenage girl preparing to go off to college. He fights. He cries. He has nightmares. He yells. Then he comes running for a hug (full-tilt, lucky I don't fall over). I'm at a loss and I don't know what to do.
We've discussed before that TRex is a very caring young man. He is empathetic, loving, a hugger, and a caretaker at heart. But over the last month or so . . . Oh My GAWD!
Seriously, I don't know if I can take it any more.
I just think it is too much all at once and his little self can't process it all smoothly. I mean, he is turning 5 and he has decided that means he is big. After all, he is very insistent that as soon as he turns 5 he will no longer be my baby (even though a month ago he declared "I'm no longer a baby, but Mommy, I'll always be your baby"). So, we've got the whole growing up thing going on. That is heady stuff!
Of course, kindergarten starts the Tuesday after Labor Day, with a whole a new school. He doesn't know any of the kids who will be in his class. He's never met the new teacher, And we've only been able to see the outside of the school (although we have heard there is a pond in the center with turtles and frogs). While TRex has been in day care and preschool full-day since he was 3 months old, this is still a big deal. Even though we've been trying to downplay it to keep his anxiety lower, he knows he will be going to school with the big kids. That is definitely a change. How scary!
Even scarier is that his sister won't be going to the same school with him. We had told the kids this many times, but it didn't sink into either of their heads until a couple of weeks ago. TRex is very sad about that aspect.
Lest we forget, I've been working a lot more, so that always makes TRex less happy. Augh!
Finally, you add in the DQ factor and TRex is one ball of emotions.
Background: About two weeks ago, we sat at breakfast talking. DQ has finally started feeding herself regularly (yippy!!!) and so I tucked a napkin into her shirt to act as a bib. Of course, she is not a baby and didn't want a bib, until I explained that my grandma, the original Ma, used to use a napkin bib. Well, my kids wanted to know about this original Ma because they don't remember her. I showed them pictures and they wanted to know why they don't see her. I explained that she died a week and a half after TRex was born. TRex then asked, "Why did she die mommy?" I explained that when people get older, they get sick and they die, but he wanted more details. He was insistent. So I told him she had a heart attack (the night before TRex was born, but I didn't tell him that). TRex wanted to know what that meant. I explained that she was very old, had lived a very long life, had worked very hard (she had 13 children--all still living), and sometimes when someone lives as long as she did and did as much as she did, her heart breaks and can't be fixed.
TRex didn't say anything after that for a very long time. He was very introspective. He kept looking up at his sister, then looking down and thinking. Finally, he asked "Mommy, you can die from a broken heart?" All the while, he kept glancing at his sister (who had just taken her morning heart meds). I told him yes, when a heart works too long and too hard, a heart will break so that it can't be fixed and they will die. I could see it in his eyes, he knew that his sister could die from her broken heart. I don't know the extent of what he knows. He didn't want to talk about it any more, but he figures a lot of things out. We've discussed over and over again how the doctors try to fix DQ's heart. For a little boy who worries each time his sister goes to the hospital that she'll never come back, this is a very heavy realization.
TRex is emotional, scared, excited, angry, happy, and anxious. It makes him act like unmedicated manic-depressive.
Have you dealt with a similar experience with kids? How did you help them cope with these mixed up emotions without going insane yourself?