My daughter is now fine with her shoes. Mostly. She'll occasionally still trigger a meltdown because of the way her shoes or her socks (or this morning, her leggings) feel. Or else she'll be insistent that she puts them on herself, and she can't, so eventually I have to do it for her and she'll have a tantrum over that. Basically, we still go through at least one tantrum most mornings, and it's very wearing.
The possible silver lining here is that it provides me with an opportunity to talk through my feelings with my son. This morning, she was sobbing all over me while I was trying to hang up the last of the laundry on the clothes-horse. Finally, because I was feeling the urge to slap her just to vent my feelings, I picked her up, put her in her room and shut the door for the minute it took me to finish the laundry.
My son asked why I had done that. I explained that I was getting upset by her crying, and that I was losing control of my temper. I put her in her room so that I could get a break from her and get back in control of my feelings so I wouldn't shout at her or at him.
It's probably very beneficial for my son to see such an example of how other people process their feelings. It's a chance for him to think about it when he isn't emotionally affected. On the other hand, I do feel like I could do with a break from being the example for my son's psychological education. And when I'm battling to remain calm, it's really really hard to listen to my son's questions without snapping at him to just be quiet and leave me alone!
Oh, first world parenting problems!
Going back to my son's meltdown issues, it turned out that allergies really were playing a larger part than I had realised. We gave him Benadryl at night for about ten days, then stopped, and he immediately went back to easily triggered tantrums. Fortunately, the ragweed pollen seems to have stopped, but a big bottle of Benadryl is likely to remain a staple of our medicine cupboard just in case.
Finally, this post at Sense of Wonder is a fantastic suggestion for dealing with meltdowns. I'm not sure my son's quite there yet, but I plan on practicing this script from now on, at home and in the classroom.