Noel is a stickler for details. The details, like the word we use, the rules we have in place, or what we do and when, create order in a world that for him must seem pretty random and unpredictable.
It is 'dinner' and not 'supper'. A cupcake is a 'treat' even if it occurs right before bedtime, so therefore, one still needs a bedtime snack even if they just gorged themselves on half a pound of buttercream. Another note on the bedtime snack is that it can only be consumed when the sun goes down.
The time to wake up is 7 am. (Once, Noel overslept, and woke up at 8. He was worried that he wasn't going to be allowed to get out of bed until 7 rolled around again.) Once awake, you make your bed, eat a snack, play some Wii, then have breakfast. Every. single. day. Heaven help us if we need to do something else on one of those mornings. No amount of preparation seems to help.
New details are easily introduced, and nearly impossible to shake. Last weekend, Noel had an upset stomach, and so he went to bed with a bowl, just in case. Now, he must sleep with the bowl. The threat of getting sick is long past, but the bowl is now a part of his bedtime ritual. (What ritual, you ask? Well, first he uses the bowl as a drum, then as a bobsled.)
Most of the time, veering off Noel's idea of what happens, when, how it is described, and so on, leads to a meltdown of epic proportions.
Some rituals are helpful - waking up at 7 saves us from many way too early mornings. Making your bed every morning is one that no mom can complain about. Some are disruptive - book an early appointment and try to interrupt his morning process, and you're in for a lot of tears. And some, are just plain comedy.
A few nights ago, during a tantrum, Noel hit my husband, Kyle, in the head with a toy wooden frying pan.
Later, when Kyle went to tuck Noel in to bed, he asked Noel to never hit him again with a pot.
Noel's response. "Okay, Dad. But it was a pan, not a pot." The story, relayed to me moments later, made me giggle, and made the residual anger and frustration over the earlier event melt away.
This is the key to surviving as a parent - laughter. Finding the humour in the situation diffuses it. So I try to find the humour in every day, and it makes this journey just a little bit easier.
Stephanie is at Robot Tea the rest of the month, although her record is spotty.