Some days I have more of a capacity to handle odd behaviors, and other days...
...Are like today. It started pretty well. I knew I was coming down with Ms. D's cold, but I had quite a bit of energy. But as the day went on, I felt worse and worse.
Mr. I slept overnight at a friend's house about twenty miles away. He usually does pretty well, but halfway through the afternoon I got a call from Mr. I, asking me to pick him up. I asked him if that's what he really wanted to do because once I left, he couldn't change his mind. Guess what? When I got there, he told me he wanted to stay! Um...no. He had to come home. I don't know what he was thinking, but I'm not going to wake up from a nap while sick and drive twenty miles each way to look at his cute face and leave without him. He was so angry, and whined the whole way back. Imagine hearing this for half an hour in a whiny voice and angry scowls while you're trying to drive while not feeling well: "I want to stay!" "Why can't I stay?" "Things changed and so why are you taking me home?" "My friends were going to take me home tomorrow." "I want to stay!"
At first I tried the explanation route. He asked me to come pick him up. I came. I asked him to make a final decision, giving him a half hour to change his mind. I had to drive over forty miles while sick to do what he asked. Those explanations made plenty of sense to me, but you can guess how that went over. Then I tried the ignoring route, which worked better on my end but didn't stop the constant whine. I went to a store halfway home, which paused the monologue for a bit. He didn't want others to hear him. But then he continued where he left off when we got back into the car. Of course, he stopped when we came home. Dad was here. You don't behave that way when Dad is around.
I was a pretty put off by Mr. I's behavior, but didn't have the energy to deal with the weirdness. Instead of being cheerful, I was quiet and sullen. I just wanted to go home to rest. I didn't want to spend a lot of time and energy getting him to a better emotional place. I couldn't even figure out why he was behaving so badly, until he complained about the same symptoms I was feeling and fell asleep. He's the type of kid that never falls asleep in the middle of the day unless he's really sick. Duh! Now it all makes sense! He was feeling exactly how I was feeling, except it came out differently. Now I'm really glad I didn't yell or lose my temper. I must admit that today I didn't yell because I was just too tired, not because of a purposeful parenting style.
Sometimes I wish there was some way for parents to never get sick. I think back to all the times that I have had to work through difficult situations, even though I had a diminished capacity to handle those times due to illness. A mom just can't take a sick day when she needs it. But somehow we all survive.