Meltdowns, wow, this is a tough subject. Just last week Austin had a meltdown. Not a violent, lash out meltdown, he cries. He cries like someone has broken his heart, it is truly a sad thing to witness. He cannot calm down, he must be hugged, cuddled and ... loved. My sweet boy, he has captured and softened my heart.
The meltdown took place at the park. What was the catalyst for this meltdown? Well, we were there with Austin's little friend. Austin did not want to slide down the slide right away, he was waiting and waiting. So I told him "come on down or we will have to go home" (it was almost time to go and he was tired). He was still sitting at the top of slide when his little friend pushed and pulled him down the slide, in a playful manner. (His Mother told me later, he did this because he did not want Austin to have to go home if he did not slide down.) At the bottom of the slide, Austin's face lowered and he started to sob. I held and rocked him for about 10 minutes and tried to calm him. Finally he said he wanted to go back to the slide but wanted me to carry him. (He weighs 50 lbs and just 1 inch shy of 4 feet! Big guy!) I told him I would walk him there as he sniffled all the way. He asked me to climb the structure with him, I did, he didn't. He fell into full sobs. "I can't calm down Mommie! I can't calm down!" Okay, we have to go. "Austin we are leaving ... please go to the truck." "NO MOMMIE NO!" (This comes out more like pleading than screaming, it is really, really, really tough to see him this way.) I picked him up and carried him there (he does not resist, he just clings to me) put him down as he still pleaded for me not to take him home. He must get in the truck himself, and he will, so I count, 1, 2 ... in he gets on his own, sobbing and pleading. I am still very calm. I collect Kaleigh and apologize to my friend and her son who is under the slide very upset by Austin's rejection. I try to assure him, it is not his fault. Austin is just upset and wants to be alone. In the truck I get with Kaleigh and we head home. Austin pleading and crying all the way home (not far though, just a few minutes). I unlocked the door to the house and Kaleigh set out ahead of us. Austin got out of the truck and said again "I cannot calm down Mommie, I CANNOT CALM DOWN ... cuddle me, CUDDLE ME PLEASE!" That was it ... my heart broke into a billion pieces. I dropped to my knees, held him, told him it was okay and proceeded to burst into tears myself. I picked him up and carried him into the house. Cuddling him for about 5 minutes, he finally calmed down. I asked him, once I felt he was settled, "Austin, why did you get so upset?" "I didn't want anyone to push me down the slide Mommie, I want to do it on my own." "Okay Austin, I understand ... next time I will know, okay?" "Okay Mommie ... I love you ..." "I love you too Austin."
Even though this is a very tough story for me to write, and this kind of meltdown is new for Austin, there are also positives to this situation. First, Austin is not aggressive and does not hit or lash out when upset. Second, a few months ago, he would have been oblivious to this, very passive and never would have stood up for what he wanted. Lastly, he would have never been able to express himself like this verbally. Sometimes you have to go over a few hills before you can conquer a mountain. *HUGS* to all.