The Tantrum of All Tantrums: Julia’s Breakfast Meltdown

Julia likes school. Honest. She seems happy at her preschool. Her teachers say, for the most part, she’s very social, only occasionally troublesome. She’s excited to go and excited when we pick her up. Sometimes she doesn’t even want to leave right away.

So how to explain what happened this morning?

It started right after breakfast. She seemed fine over waffles and sausage, but mentioned something about a “project” at school that she didn’t want to do. My wife and I did not take it too seriously. Our mistake. Suddenly it was time to get ready for school, just after 8 a.m. — and daddy had a presentation at work at 10 a.m. he could not miss — and
Julia starts screaming. And crying. And wailing.

“I don’t wanna go to school today!”
“It’s okay sweetie, why not?”

Holy cow. That was a scream. Runs to her room, slams the door. We try to follow her in there. She tries to hold the door closed, while screaming, “I don’t wanna go. You can’t make me.”

Did I mention we thought she liked school? This came out of nowhere. For almost 45 minutes, it went on. We tried to talk to her, calm her down, reason with her, she was having none of it. It was 45 minutes of pure hysterics. Of course, we did not want to even remotely let her think that not going to school was an option. But daddy really did have a 10 a.m. presentation and, well, it’s almost 9 a.m. now and that’s pushing things.

Finally, after waiting outside a few minutes, I went into her room, found her on her bed, tears streaming down her face. I got down on my knees and held out my hand.

Let’s play a game. “What are five differences between babies and big girls,” I said.

Do big girls wear diapers? No, she said with a little smirk.
Do babies run up and down the hallway? No, big girls do! she said.
Do babies use the potty? No, big girls!
Do big girls talk? Yes! A smile, too.
Do big girls go to school? Yes, but then she started to crawl back under her covers.

A few more minutes of calm talk and we agreed she could bring her Nutcracker with her to school and that project she didn’t want to do, I would talk to her teacher about that.

And out the door we went.

Daddy made his presentation with about 15 minutes to spare. “Pardon me if I seem a little frazzled,” I started with. “My daughter just had a meltdown that made the Exorcist look like Bambi.”

Three is such a fun age!

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