Preschool Meltdown – Can We Be Done?

*sigh*  I’ve known for quite some time that Norton has a temper.  Of course he does.  He’s my son.  And his Grumpy (paternal grandfather) also has a temper.  It’s not like he doesn’t come by it honestly.  However, the preschool meltdown phase is going to make me lose my mind.  I’m finding a preschool meltdown to be far worse than a toddler tantrum.

Right now, I’m typing this while Norton is in the shower.  I hear him sobbing for his Pillow.  Pillow, of course, is his security object that he must carry everywhere.  I can’t sneak it away from him at night because he will sleep either with Pillow over his head or he’ll lie on it.  (Yes, Pillow is a proper noun in this house.)

I have to admit that at this point, I hate that Pillow.  I have fantasies about burning that stupid thing because it’s the biggest cause of a preschool meltdown in our house.  He constantly puts it down somewhere in the house and can’t remember where and then freaks out over it.  The reason that he’s sobbing for Pillow right now is because after days of trying to surreptitiously slip Pillow into the washing machine (because that thing reaked like pee from overnight accidents), I finally told him today that Pillow needed a bath.  I expected a fight, but he gave it to me.  I guess because he was aware of the extremely unpleasant aroma eminating from Pillow.

The preschool meltdown happened because he slipped in the laundry room behind me while I was putting Pillow in the dryer.  Out of desperation, I let him hug Pillow, hoping that he’d give Pillow a kiss and let me toss the stupid thing in the dryer.


Instead, he clutched onto his soaking wet Pillow like a drowning man hanging onto a life preserver.  And the sobbing started.  “Oh, no!  What happened?”  I tried to pry Pillow out of Norton’s grasping fingers.  It didn’t work.  Finally, Norton gave Pillow to his daddy.  However, there was 20 minutes worth of sobbing as Pillow was in the dryer.  When he got Pillow back, his relief was just so evident.  He gave a half laugh/half sob and cried “Pillow!”  And then snatched the blasted thing from my hands and held it tight.

I’m just over it.  And I’m finding “the trying threes” to be so much more difficult than “the terrible twos.”

Did you deal with preschool meltdown issues in your family?  How did you handle it?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Ever find that “I hope you have a child just like you!” is often a curse?

  2. Emily Anne Ploch says:

    Aww poor thing. And poor mom! I’m afraid I can’t offer any advice but good luck!

  3. mommyneedsarubberroom says:

    We left ihop last night without eating our food bc of our 3 year old. She has NEVER behaved like that but i was not only embarrassed but completely irritated. Its not only your kiddo hun:) My older 2 seem to be hell bent on driving me to the nut house.

  4. cat @ tots says:

    For us its the arguing of threes that is frustrating. His favourite saying is “just kidding”. He uses it all the time, because he ALWAYS argues initially and then when he decides that he actually did want breakfast, he turns it into “just kidding”. Life of a parent…..

  5. Corinne Schmitt says:

    I arrogantly celebrated the fact that my son never went through the terrible two’s. Then a few months after he turned 3, he started throwing tantrums and I realized we hadn’t skipped them at all. Hang in there! It’s just a phase, I promise.

  6. Rikky Mushrooms says:

    I’ve been a nanny for many many moons. And hands down, the 3’s are worse than the 2’s. No competition in my mind.

  7. Anna at Mama Writes says:

    I hear you! We’ve gone through so many different phases with our daughter…. She just turned 5, and too long ago she got over a phase where she would whine and cry if we took something away, or she couldn’t get her way… luckily that lasted only 2-3 weeks and just like that she stopped… it’s definitely a roller coaster! Hang in there, he’ll get over the “terrible three’s” and move on to a new phase, whatever that may be!

  8. Leah Mchan says:

    Oh yeah! We (and I mean me) are dealing with a preschooler right now. I am so over 3 year-old meltdowns. Two year-olds are sooo much easier. I’m doing a lot of discipline, timeouts and just plain ignoring.

  9. Vanessa V. says:

    I am currently dealing with terrible twos but with a grump for a daughter who is just like her father, I am expecting far bigger meltdowns. She got her temper from her father yet I am the one who has to deal with it most of the time. So not fair, especially since I was a good kid lol.

  10. Rachel N says:

    My 3 year old does not throw fits or have meltdowns but he didn’t do that as a 2 year old either. Our biggest problem is that his ears do not seem to work (they do work of course but he chooses not to listen ALL THE TIME). My 2 year old gives me a run for my money though. He is spirited and full of emotions that he doesn’t know how to handle. Love him like crazy but he drives me bonkers some days, ha ha.

  11. I had stuffed animals as a kid, some of which I was very attached to but none of them literally so.

    I’m very sorry you’re struggling with this challenge, though I have to say I’m glad you shared about it. Your woe is the source of some pretty clever and humorous writing.

    Hope things get better.

  12. Madam Crunchypants says:

    When Girlchild was 3, I went back to work. I hated 3 that much. Everything was drama and screaming and vile. I love her to death, but I wasn’t sure she would make it to 4.

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