Off they sailed into the wild gray sky, but if shrieks and sobs could have held any power, those balloons certainly would have returned after Isla’s dramatic performance. Usually my amiable, happy-go-lucky child, I wasn’t quite sure what to do when, at her cousin’s birthday party, she totally lost her mind when the cluster of balloons with which she was playing got swept away in the wind.
Like, totally. Lost her everloving mind. Not an understatement.
She wailed – big, heaving, snotty, red-faced wails – for almost an hour. And even after that hour had passed, her anguish existed only just under the surface, threatening to erupt at any moment. I had no idea what to do. The scene she made was spectacular! I just kept reassuring her that no one was upset with her that the balloons floated away and that we could get more balloons another day and everything was going to be okay.
Times a million.
That was two weeks ago, and it’s been chilly here since then, so it wasn’t until this week that I again braved the great outdoors with the kids. I’d wanted to strap them into the stroller for a quick run, but since Tahd had the car and I’d forgotten to ask him to take out the stroller before he left, I figured we could just play in the yard.
I was wrong.
“Let’s go inside, Mommy! I want to go inside! I want to go inside and be lonely! (i.e. if you’re not going in, at least let me go in by myself!) Can we go inside now, Mommy? Let’s go be warm and cozy inside! Let’s go in!” Over and over and over again, my girl inexplicably begged to get out of the sun and into the house.
Finally, I overheard her talking to herself about balloons, and the lightbulb clicked.
“Isla,” I asked as it dawned on me, “Are you afraid your something is going to blow away? Like the balloons did at Bentley’s party?”
Yes, oh yes! She was. In fact, she wasn’t just afraid something was going to blow away. She was afraid everything was going to blow away. She was afraid SHE was going to blow away. How terrifying!
I hadn’t realized it at the time, but it made so much sense in retrospect. The balloons’ great escape was so traumatizing not because she lost a fun toy but because she lost the certainty of the natural world. All of gravity came into question. The world was no longer a sure thing. I can see how that’d be a kind of big deal! Sobbing for an hour seems sensible under those parameters. I’ve cried over much less!
Seems like there’s probably a lesson in there for grown-ups somewhere, but I’m too tired to dig it out.
So that’s what we’re working on this week – trying to teach a 3-year-old to think logically about gravity and helium. I’m sure you’ll have noticed the several apparent challenges in that sentence, not the least of which is trying to get a 3-year-old to think logically about anything…
I’ve been blogging her much less frequently over the past several months and am kind of bummed about that. I started to write as a way to keep track of my family’s stories, and there are already things that have happened that I wish I’d have had time to write down! The deal is that I have two other projects going on right now. First is a site I’ve been working on for 7 months now, Loving Motherhood More, and if you haven’t stopped over, I’d love to see you there!
The second is some extended writing. I’m not totally sure of the format it’s going to take; one part is more of a workbook and then there are two somewhat rambling, more story-ish parts, but I’m deeply (deeply!!!) hoping to have some of it finished in the next 8 weeks. Initially, I’d hoped to complete it sooner, but I found I was spending all my time writing blog posts, which never got me further on my other projects. So I decided I’d cut back my blogging to once or twice a week on each site until I’d wrapped up at least one. Hence the extra quiet.
Just thought I’d let you know.