It seems strange to say that I take some comfort in knowing that other parents with four year old children experience the same frustrations and setbacks as me. When a crisis happens and I want to run out the front door, I know that other parents have the same thought. It doesn't make me feel better per se, but a heck of a lot less alone.
Today was a school-wide picnic for my son's preschool. Most of the children were running around enjoying all of the toys happy with their parents. My son saw this situation and immediately clammed up. He hid behind me and then ran to his favorite jungle gym. My efforts to move us back with the rest of his classmates failed. Eventually he latched on to one friend and played with her very intently.
My son is quickly over stimulated by environments like this. I know this. When I heard about this event, I told myself that we were not going to go, but our other events conveniently ended before the picnic started. So, I decided we should go. I know better. I know situations like this mean over stimulation, acting out, shutting down and a dramatic ending of some kind. I just hate for my son to miss big events like this hoping that maybe now he is over it.
So, during this event, I got to have half of a conversation with another single parent who was sharing her recent woes with her child and the high levels of frustration is causes. I suggested a juice box party - fruit for the kids and wine for the mommies. As a single parent with a high energy preschooler, I need my fellow parents around me to keep me sane and remember that all of us are going through the same thing.