Bright Eyes had a great day today.
He was happy, calm and fun to be with. We made juice, we played 'mummy and baby tigers', we painted together and we made silly faces at each other for a long time.
What made the difference? A couple of things.
1. We had nowhere to be and nothing to do except hang out.
2. It was just him and me all day because the baby brother was at day care and the big sister was at school.
He seemed a lot more relaxed on his own, and I was more relaxed without having to deal with three little children's needs all day.
When he started to get oppositional or refuse to do something and yell "I won't", I started to yell it back at him in just the same tone, as if I was making fun of him. He looked surprised and then stopped the yelling. I said things like, "You sound like a huge lion when you do that!" or "You sound like an angry hippopotamus." It got a smile and defused the tension.
When both the other children came home, Bright Eyes began to get difficult and tense again, and I found it much harder to keep the calm again with two other children reacting to him as well.
It makes me wonder if I should plan one day with just him at home next year. It might make a big difference in his calm levels.