Since Luna missed those two days last week due to an ear infection, she’s been a sobbing, hitting, stimming bundle of nerves.
Every morning, crying and wailing at drop-off. Isolating herself for up to forty-five minutes, either by sitting on the potty even though she didn’t need to, or lurking in a corner and swatting anyone who came near. Asking for mommy. Refusing to eat lunch. Rhythmic hair-pulling & ear-tugging.
The anxiety period has been getting longer and longer every day, until yesterday, when thanks to a late drop-off and an early pick-up she was actually avoiding everyone or actively crying for the entire time she was here.
At pick up I told her mom that the anxiety behaviours were getting worse, and that it was negatively impacting the other kids. I reminded her that Arthur’s baby sister is starting full-time in two weeks, and said that if the anxiety continued to worsen with the advent of a new baby that we would have to reconsider the arrangement. I also asked that at home, they have a positive attitude about my house at all times, especially Luna’s dad, who is also anxiety-prone and has a tendency to take the “poor little darling, I know being locked here in Hannah’s Toddler Dungeon makes you sad, but you only have to manage to stay alive for three hours and then you can come home.”
I didn’t think she paid it much attention.
But this morning! They arrived, and Luna was not crying for the first time in a week. Her mom said they kept smiles on all morning, and on the drive here talked about the changing leaves & how pretty they were. Then when they arrived, they spent a minute or two in my front yard looking for leaves, and Luna presented them to me as a gift (which I of course accepted with lots of praise).
We’re an hour in and there have been no anxiety tears. She did act a bit standoffish at first, but started playing with the other kids of her own accord within ten minutes.
Apparently all it took to get Luna’s parents to take her anxiety seriously was the realization that *I* control this relationship, not them – and that if I decide it’s not worth my while they will need to find someone else to accommodate their weird hours… and Luna’s various odd behaviours… and the whole package that is starting over with a new dayhome.
Ha. Threat heard. And action taken.
Hannah – 1, Wacky Hippies – Zero.