I don't actually know if it's the time of year (rainy season), the let down from Christmas or the fact that we're strapped for cash and can't go out much, but keeping the negative energy at bay in our house has become my full-time job. We go through this just about every year. My oldest child in particular has a very difficult time with the holidays and as much as we try to make it special but very subdued coming out of it with grace is still a work in progress.
My oldest goes through these cycles every year of being highly frustratable, explosive and inflexible. I've talked about it before. I do recognize them as cycles so I now know that this will not be the tone of our family life forever. I have also noticed that these downward cycles are a lot shorter than they were several years ago. Though this year seems particularly hard. I also know the major triggers -- Christmas is one (and so is his brother's birthday which is coming up in a couple weeks). When he feels this way it usually is just a wait and see process. He needs to be the one to get himself out of it and when he does it's just a total transformation from one day to the next.
This week we have just a few social outings/classes/things but not many. I could pack the calandar full (read: swoop in and try to save my oldest from his burning discontent by drowning him in playdates), but in this particular state of mind extra interactions will likely end up being a disaster and then he'll feel worse. Been there done that.
So, we press on with the things that need to happen. We keep the schedule as regular as we can. School continues (I bite my tongue harder and more often). We talk to him more. We remind him what the next "right" step is when it's obvious he can't come up with it on his own. We assure him that he is loved no matter what. And we wait.
I wish Christmas really was a quiet day about a baby in a manger... the one who came to save us from ourselves.