When Scarlette was a toddler she suffered from night terrors and the trigger seemed to be if she had a day filled with excitement or was very overtired. As she’s gotten older this has manifested into bedtime meltdowns of epic proportions in which she sits on her bed and cries her little heart out, shoulders shaking, while telling us (quite articulately and in great detail) all of the things that she feels sad/confused about.
Lately this has taken shape in the form of frustration from adding a little brother to our family.
But last night it was because she decided that she never wants to grow up.
We picked out a backpack for kindergarten and apparently it sent her into an existential crisis.
She was legitmately upset, getting the words out through sobs and sniffles as my husband held her. In my effort to be an awesome parent, I contributed to this epic meltdown by sitting just outside her door and writing down her words verbatim. She will thank me for preserving this memory in the future.
(Or she’ll bring it up in therapy. Either way, WORTH IT.)
I have very few regrets in life but currently my biggest is that I did not have my phone charged in order to record this on video because it was legitimately the sweetest and funniest thing I have ever been a part of. Also, Scarlette sometimes confuses the word “human” with “grown-up.”
Probably someone should tap Scarlette to be a political speech writer because this is what followed:
“I don’t want to be a HUMAN! I just want to be a KID! If I grow-ed up and be a human then I won’t be a kid anymore! I’ll just miss my old self! I’ll miss my old self so much! And I won’t be able to do myself things! I won’t have my DOLLHOUSE or my PUPPET SHOW THEATER. I just want to be a kid forever!”
Us: “That is a long way away. You don’t have to grow up right now.”
“Yes I DO! Every time I am just EATING or SLEEPING then I am GROWING UP and I can’t even STOP IT and I don’t want to grow-ed up! I just want to be a KID! And I don’t know how to stop growing up because I am not magic! I don’t have magic powers like you guys! AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANY MAGIC WORDS THAT WORK!”
Us: “You are going to be a kid for a long, long time darlin. You don’t even need to worry about it right now.”
“But I AM worried about it because I just want a be a kid FOREVER. I don’t want to grow-ed up and have to work! Work is so BORING and then I won’t get to do fun stuff like when I am a kid like my PONIES or my BICYCLE.”
Us: “But some work is really fun. Mommy really loves her work. She thinks it is so fun to do!”
“But MY work is just all CHORES. You don’t let me make my own decisions! You just make me do CHORES! THREE OF THEM! Chores are not work that is fun! And when I grow-ed up I just only want to be like Mommy and I CAN’T because I don’t have all her things! I don’t have her CLOTHES or her GLASSES or her HAIR. I can’t even be like Mommy when I grow-ed up and so I just want to be a KID. I just want to be my old SELF! And I just keep growing and growing! And then you guys are going to be DEAD-ED!”
Us: “Sweetie, you do not have to grow up right now. Being a grown up will be so fun for you! Here are all the things I like about being a grown up. Mommy and Daddy are going to be around for a long, long time. Here are a bunch of encouraging, supporting words! All the encouraging words we know! You are going to get to be a kid for a long time!”
“No! I’m not because I’m going to have a BIRTHDAY and just keep getting human-er and human-er! People are going to give me PRESENTS and then I will have to be OLD. When I grow-ed up I won’t even know how to be a kid again and I will just miss my old self! I just want to be a kid! I don’t want this to happen to me!”
Us: “Here, drink this glass of warm milk.”
(We were really out of ideas by then. Besides, this is my best parenting trick. When all else fails, make ’em drink a glass of warm vanilla cinnamon milk. Because for one thing, that’s delicious. And for another, it’s basically impossible talk and cry when you’re drinking a glass of milk.)
She finally fell asleep, curled up with her tear-stained face on my shoulder.
Then I had a glass of warm milk.
And by “warm milk” I mean wine. Definitely wine.
And also, I think I’ll hold off on letting her watch Peter Pan.