Posted by: Hannah | 10/18/2012

new moon

So, it’s been a week since I drew a line in the sand about Luna.

And, although things can always change on a dime, I can say at this point that things have improved pretty drastically.

All together now – THANK GOD.

Her mom continued with the notion of having Luna bring something special every day – more pine needles (they are everywhere, my front hallway looks like it’s grown hair); pine cones (which Pixie calls “kine pones”, and it is wretchedly adorable every single time); a pretty leaf; one day a picture that she drew for Harry.

Yesterday we had a major breakthrough – Luna’s dad dropped her off and there were no tears! None!

This morning her mom reported that when they pulled into the driveway – normally a time for upset, apparently – Luna instead yelled “HEAH WE ARE!!”

Today she’s been altogether delightful, and this is why I’ve had a hard time pulling the plug even when things were really bad. When her anxieties are kept at bay, she is a wonderful little girl; enthusiastic, fun, energetic, imaginative, and affectionate. It makes it that much harder to see her struggling on bad days.

This transformation has come with effort from me, her parents – and Luna herself. In case it’s any help at all to anyone, here’s what we’ve been doing to try and make her time here easier.

  1. At my suggestion, her parents are not referring to her days here as something to be survived or suffered through.
  2. Also at my request, her parents are not asking her at dropoff “are you ready to go play?” or “are you okay?” or any of the other open-ended questions that would immediately take nervous, tentative Luna to hysterical crying.
  3. I’ve shifted ‘circle time’, where we read stories & sing songs, to be at her arrival time rather than after lunch. By the time that’s finished, she’s settled in and forgotten that she needs to be pitching a screaming warbler at drop off.
  4. I don’t allow her to practice her avoidance strategies anymore. Much as it’s tempting to let her creep off into a corner and twirl her hair around her finger, it’s not fair to her and I’m then not doing my job, which is to help raise a functional adult. So when she starts, I’ll start with an activity I know she enjoys – drawing or painting is very reliable for this – and distract her from her fear.
  5. I stop Louis and Pixie from rushing to greet her at the door every morning. It clearly overwhelms her right off the bat, and adds to the noise and chaos that sets her off.

It’s not perfect – her default reaction to everything that bothers her even slightly is immediate and hysterical scream-crying – although she’s even slowly starting to learn that it doesn’t work on me. I talk a lot with my own older kids about ‘when crying is OK’ – when you’re physically hurt, or sad, or scared – but not when you’re mad, or thwarted, or trying to manipulate someone. Obviously I don’t use that kind of directive language with two year olds, but I do reinforce the lesson by giving them lots of comfort & consoling attention for appropriate crying – and ignoring them utterly for the other kind. She took a tumble off her bike today and I was right there with hugs & sympathy. Louis was running faster than she was in the yard so she couldn’t catch him and she burst into tears from sheer frustration? Not so much. She actually got herself under control that time, which was major. I congratulated her for doing so well at calming herself down and those were the last whiny tears of the day.

For the moment, anyway, I am provisionally encouraged. We shall see what happens on Monday, when New Baby Girl – Arthur’s sister! – starts her introductory week.





  1. HURRAH!! You’re not out of the woods yet, but what huge strides in such a short time. I’m so pleased for you.

  2. First, loved your comment the other day – “Hannah -1, Wacky Parents – 0″…made me giggle. Second – Point #2 is a good one. I struggled last year with a 4-year-old who did well all day and then “lost it” when pick-up time came. Looking back I think there were open-ended questions galore. I also might be guilty of this with my youngest who struggles at the church nursery. Third – REALLY impressed with your 67 muffin venture. My family has SO many generations-old recipes that will be lost with my aunts if not recorded sometime soon. You’ve inspired me to press them for these recipes now:) Really enjoy your blog!

  3. The new baby starts next week? Ahhh, time is flying! You will be busy with two babies, for sure, but CUTE BEBES.

    Glad Luna is doing better. You’re doing a good job with her; her parents should be very grateful!

    • @ Million Hours: Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying both blogs. My own grandmother didn’t write down *any* recipes – they were all in her head. Particularly when it comes to canning and preserving foods, I’ve always been sorry that more wasn’t recorded – all that knowledge died with her. 😦 So I was thrilled to find such a great record from my grandmother-in-law.

      @ Nicole: Yup, next week! And she is the second-cutest baby on earth. Bright red hair! And almost completely spherical. She’s here every morning when Arthur gets dropped off and she throws herself at me, wanting hugs and kisses, so I foresee a smooth transition for her.

  4. Good job! As a dog trainer, it seems so instinctive to set the kid up I think good things that it baffles me when I see people not doing that. I’m glad Luna’s parents have seen the light.

  5. […] anxieties and lack of coping skills can be dropped right at his feet, which I’ve mentioned before. He would rather be home all day, not facing the Big Bad World with all its “people” […]

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