Yesterday I watched Adriana get more and more worked up, happily so, and then crash very suddenly. It's not exactly a rare occurrence, but yesterday I started really thinking about it.
We've been taking a music class this fall, and yesterday morning was the last one. We got there early so that there was time for a snack before class--a must if Adriana is going to want to participate rather than cling to me, or play nicely with the other children rather than stealing their maracas and running away. She played with instruments during the first part of the class, and stuck fairly close to me, although she definitely wanted to get up and move. When it was finally time to get up, she spun in circles until she went careening away from me, then spun some more until she fell over dizzily. As we began to move around the room, she took off running, giggling and squealing as she weaved in and out among the children and their parents and nannies who were moving more slowly in a circle. I laughed at her, thinking it was sweet how excited she was, but not too much later she started trying to slip around the baby gate at the entrance to the room. I bought her back in and she melted down, screaming and trying to push away from me. I carried her over to the corner and nursed her, spoke softly to her, stroked her hair. Her eyes focused on my face, and I felt her body relax. After just a few minutes, I asked her if she was ready to go dance with the other kids some more. She nodded and pulled away from me and for the rest of the class she was fine.
I've gotten used to the melt downs, to a certain extent. I know how to prevent some of them (food, naps, and not trying to do too many things in one day), and I usually know how to handle them when they do happen. But as Brian and I were talking about the day after Adriana was in bed, I realized it's like the discovery of her shadow, something I never thought you needed to learn: how to calm yourself down, how to come down from being happy and excited without throwing a temper tantrum. But when will she learn it? And how can I teach her?
Actually, I suppose it's something that many (most?) adults are still learning, or at least need to be reminded of every now and then.