It’s happening less and less at our house since Robbie started OT, but we still occasionally get some super melt downs. Tonight was no exception. It started simple enough, with Robbie telling me that I needed to sit, not lie, on his bed. Then it escalated because girls were not allowed on his bed (ironically, girls are not allowed to do much, including carving jack-o-lanterns).
The melt down culminated in our bedroom, with Robbie screaming not to touch him and that he wanted to watch a movie. Over. And over. And over. I sat about six feet from him, trying to explain, rationalize. Trying to do all the things that you can’t really do with a child in the middle of a melt down. And, it was all I could do to not cry myself.
It is heartbreaking to hear your child beg you not to touch him, when that is all you want to do. All that is in your core to do to make it better. But he screams as if it physically hurts him to be touched in the middle of this, and I believe that it does. Robbie knows what is happening in the middle of these episodes, but he can’t do anything to stop it until it has run its course. As an adult, I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying that would be.
I’ve learned how to deal with these melt downs, although it still feels like I’m not really doing anything. Robbie and I have talked about them after they pass a few times. The best thing to do, hard as it is, is just to sit and wait. As he starts to calm down, I offer a few choices. Tonight, the choice was for Justin and me to leave the room and let him cry or to cuddle either in his bed or ours. Robbie kept crying, and so we got up to leave. That’s when he came over and stood in front of me.
“It’s a little scary, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Can I hug you now? It really looks like you could use one?”
And then he fell into my arms, breathing heavily. He asked me to lie with him for a little while and to make sure we were tucked under the covers because he was cold. Eventually, his breathing slowed and he fell asleep. And we’re OK.