A melt down is a very tear and wail filled set of four letter words.
I knew it was going to be one of those days. How did I know? It was 7am and the four-year-old was having a meltdown. In this case, it was over what to wear while eating breakfast, and he kept insisting that what I was asking him to do was "not the way it is done". I'm not sure why not... but I also know that trying to negotiate with someone (adult or child) who is melting down is a useless effort. Eventually I calmed him down, asked him to do something, and he agreed that it could be done that way. Crisis resolved.
And, in many ways, I'm fortunate. I could see this meltdown coming. When he melts down, all he does is throw a minor tantrum - many kids, for many reasons, do far worse when they hit their meltdown point. I'm sure some parents would see this and wonder what I was complaining about at all.
I guess I'm not really complaining, even. Venting a bit, perhaps. And exploring some of my own personality. I'm still not a massively social creature, and tho I love my family dearly, I'm not always sure the best way to interact with them. People are not robots, and tho I can often see how adults and children alike get cranky when they're hungry, or tired, or under stress, it doesn't mean that they can see the problem themselves. And suggesting to them outright that they should eat, or nap, or take a break almost never works... any more than someone suggesting it to me. So I have to be prepared to help guide them through the meltdown... get them the food, rest, or relief they need... and then continue as if they never needed the guidance past that difficult point, because they will almost certainly not remember.
This morning, the meltdown was because he was hungry. Once he ate, all the problems he was wailing about were behind him as if they never existed. This afternoon, it was because he didn't nap. But a lot of hugs and a healthy dose of soothing words got him past the point, and now he's bright and chipper.
Or at least he will be when he wakes up.