Hope for the best (the meltdown version)

I was hoping for the best yesterday. Good to stay optimistic. Also good to set expectations LOW to MIDDLING. Yesterday, swim lessons began again, plus soccer, plus more soccer. The unpromising start to swim lessons included bringing the wrong bathing suit for Fooey (much much too large–her sister’s, in fact), and CJ declaring he would NEVER duck his head under the water. (“Just tell the teacher no thank you,” I advised. “But the teacher ALWAYS wants me to.” “I get that. Just tell her no thank you, not today.” “NOT EVER!”) This led to full meltdown on the pool deck. Somehow, two kind lifeguards hauled him off me and got him into the pool. “Go! Give us five minutes!” By the time I got up to the seating area, he was fine. So fine, you’d never have guessed he’d recently been in full mutiny. We ended this fine opening swim session by losing one child’s underpants. Found later in her pocket to everyone’s amusement.

Remember how I’d planned to read to the little kids during AppleApple’s soccer time? Turned out it was in a school gym, with loud music pumping–more of an aerobic workout than a soccer practice. The girls had a blast, including Fooey. Meanwhile, ever-jolly CJ made me cover his ears basically the entire time. We couldn’t read anyway. Too loud. This is not a problem easily solved. No brilliant brainwaves came to mind as I contemplated another ten weekly sessions in this gym, staring at the little Canadian flag pinned to the wall, watching a bunch of lively girls leaping joyfully, whilst trying to remain compassionate toward a constantly-complaining three-year-old. Nope, not seeing the bright side.

At the end of that, we drove across town to pick up Albus and Kevin, who were at a different indoor field for their soccer practice (one-car family, remember?). CJ spent the opening minutes lying on the floor declaring life not worth living (to summarize), or at least not worth living given the lousy choice in snacks his mother had brought. Finally, I found a candy cane in my pocket. This proved to be “too spicy,” but worked as distraction. AppleApple got some playing time with the boys’ team; we all went in to watch. Fooey picked artifical grass. CJ complained about not having a ball to kick.

Basically, CJ is at a stage/age where he can effortlessly suck the fun out of just about any situation. For example, grocery store this afternoon. CJ in full tantrum seated in the cart wailing over and over the touching phrase: “Multi-coloured mini-marshmallows!” My skin must be elephant-thick by now, and thank heavens. Nothing draws the gaze of passersby like a screeching three-year-old kicking the sidewalk and declaring his lower legs–yes, the lower legs, to be specific–“too tired!” to go on. I’m not saying all gazes are critical. Some are closer to pitying, some to gratitude–thank God that’s not me. Which is admittedly how I feel now when I hear a tiny infant wailing from inside a baby carrier. I know the mother’s pain–how the baby is probably hungry and wants to nurse and she’s pulling a toddler by the hand and they just need to get this one final errand run, please, please, please just make it baby.

This too shall pass, in other words.
This too shall pass.

Light and quick (plus news)
Word of the year


  1. Tricia Orchard

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, Lauchy sounds exactly the same as CJ. Sounds like it is just a phase and as you say, it will pass. Soon? I hope!

    What about downloading a few kid audiobooks from iTunes for your phone? I downloaded The Gruffalo and Skippy John Jones (both free) and Lauchy wants to listen to them over and over again. Would CJ use headphones? Maybe that would be a good solution?

    Good luck!

  2. Tasneem

    I soooo sympathize, my three-year-old has joy-sucking skills too, but your post made me laugh out loud (at work, in my cubicle). CJ is fantastic. I don’t know which was a more brilliant scene: the lament of his exhausted “lower legs” or the cry for “multi-coloured mini-marshmallows”…I’m laughing again….

  3. Carrie Snyder

    After awhile, he shortened his cry to plain old “multi-coloured!” which must have really confounded anyone listening. What is that kid screaming about? Making a fashion statement? Hair dye?

    I won’t be sad when this particular stage passes. But maybe I’ll miss it when I’ve got teenagers embarrassed by my very existence.

    Thanks for your suggestion, Tricia. I haven’t got the skills to download things onto my phone … maybe should figure that one out. I’ve also resisted using it as an entertainment device, because I’m afraid if he figured out that’s what it was, he’d want it all the time. And we do have nice reading time during piano lessons.

    Also, great to hear from you Tasneem! We’ll have to get together again soon.

  4. Tasneem

    Yes, Carrie, for sure. Let’s hook up. Can you bring C.J.? (hehe) I’ll send you an email…

  5. Margo

    oh you made me laugh! and he’s so darn CUTE that I can’t imagine him in full-on drama tantrum mode.

    If I was in your shoes, I would knit in that awful gymn. The boy would have to fend for himself 🙂

  6. Carrie Snyder

    Margo, I wanted to bring running shoes and join in! Sadly, the boy is not in prime “fending” mode when I’m anywhere nearby.

    Tasneem, hahahah!!!! Yes, let’s bring CJ. You can bring your three-year-old. We’ll call it an exercise in managing embarrassing/awkward/humbling situations in public (good practice for writers).

  7. Carrie Snyder

    Also, Margo, I have to confess that I don’t know how to knit! I am craft-incompetent. Not one of my gifts, shall we say.

  8. m

    Do you have to stay in the gym? Is it in a community centre? If so, can you go into the corridor or lobby? At least for, say, half of the time?

  9. Carrie Snyder

    It’s at a school. There really isn’t anywhere to go. Maybe I’ll bring ear plugs for him …


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