E's had a full year. Welcoming her brother into our family, starting school, her dad's been traveling more than ever, and now we've received news this week that her Great Grandpa's health is failing. That's a lot of really big stuff to deal with. She's great, don't get me wrong. I'm not overly worried, but a few recent behaviors have led me to keep an extra close eye on her; to search out opportunities to make meaningful contact & to validate those strong feelings and guide her in appropriate expression. I dropped the ball. She's so verbal and I forget she hasn't mastered (and who of us has) pairing emotions and appropriate communication of those feelings.
A few weeks ago she mentioned that one of her classmates had a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day, and before she came back to class her mom and her went out for lunch and she was able to skip (the dreaded) rest time. "I wanna do that sometime," she sighed. Well, today was the day. I got a sitter for Nils, picked her up and let her choose the destination. We were both beaming, it's been a long time. We ordered our food, chatted about her day, an then got down to it. I told her that it was OK to have these really strong feelings about her life, it was OK to be really mad, and OK to be really sad. I want her to tell me what she's feeling, but we needed to figure out a better way of expressing them. We came up with our plan, and I think we both feel relieved.
She drew this picture before I picked her up, and we took the photo after we were seated in the restaurant.