Moms Cans Smile through a Meltdown

I prepare for them and they don’t happen. I can see certain situations as triggers and nothing happens.

Then out of the blue….bam, a MELTDOWN!

That is what happened this weekend. After a fun AiN Revive event we went home, ate a late dinner, and told the kids it was time to get ready for bed. Ready for bed at our house means take a shower, brush your teeth, say a prayer, and into bed depending on the time you may, or may not, read.

Saturday night, was a little different because for some reason we sent our oldest son into the shower before the youngest. Maybe I should tell you now the youngest has Aspergers and is a little stuck in his routine and the word little isn’t being forthright. He is very stuck in his ways.

It was his time to take a shower and I hear him yelling at his dad and his father speaking firm with him, and not giving into him.

Finally I step in because he is yelling that we don’t love him and we are trying to hurt him by making him wash himself. As I witness him put soap in his hand and rub it around  two times on the top of his head not even attempting to get the sides, I told him I was helping him and grabbed the soap. He started fighting me yelling I was trying to hurt him and soap was in his eye. Not too long after that he was yelling he couldn’t see. We then instructed him to grab his soap to wash his body . Yelling he says I cannot find it. We told him to open his eyes. Still yelling and screaming he says wait here it is as the body wash goes flying. His dad steps in and ends up washing all of him as little man is yelling we are trying to poison him and we don’t love him.

Several times I am laughing throughout this, because his behavior is out of control and isn’t making any sense. But, I think the funniest part was when his father told him to wash his private parts on his own and he yells no, it is poison it will kill me.  His dad says, I wash myself all the time with soap down there. The silly kid yells at him, “You’re trying to kill yourself then.” We eventually got him into bed and I prayed with him while he was telling me I don’t love him and kissed his head and said I love you and walked out.

I know I shouldn’t laugh at the behavior, because I know he cannot self regulate when he is out of control, but now in this moment I can at least know it isn’t going to last forever and when these meltdowns do happen they shock me.

It was about four years ago these meltdowns were a daily part of our lives and they weren’t a shock, but I couldn’t see out of that moment that meltdown. It was that meltdown that would make me lose it myself fighting tears, fight to control a child who was so out of control.

4 years ago I couldn’t see an end to our struggles. I was sure these meltdowns would cause issues in my personal life and even in AiN.

But, today I can recognize that he has had two meltdowns in a week, but we are at the end of the school year with the plans of changing to middle school. I look now at a kid and see how far he has come and know we could be where we were. I can laugh at the situation instead of thinking this is our life forever. He has come far and I say it because of what he did this morning when he got up. First thing this morning he said, “Mom I am sorry for how I acted last night.” He has come far we have to work on self regulating, but he is learning to take responsibility for his actions.

All those years of meltdowns we did something right, he has learned to take responsibility.

Mom and dad’s give yourself a break. If you are in the moment of continuous meltdowns where you are barely able to keep it together while the meltdown is happening, step back and know you are doing your best.

I can tell you, it will only get better.

One day your child was surprise you with a simple gesture showing you your hard work, fear, and constant struggles have paid off. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on your child.

Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.

Barbara Kingsolver