Friday, December 22, 2006

Remember When I Said...

Image Hosted by I felt weird for writing about nothing Asperger's related? Well last night was meltdown extraordinaire. As is usual for us, we had a busy night. It was only two things, OT & Scouts, but they started almost as soon as we walked in the door from workat 5:00, and lasted until about 9:00. In the door, grab a piece of pizza, change out of work pants & shoes (no time to find a new shirt), and head off to OT.

We had a blast at OT, even PC & I got into the act. J the Fabulous OT had SmallBoy working on a crib mattress set on top of some foam rollers. He had to maneuver his way back and forth taking an item out of a bag on one side of him, using his arm muscles and his balance to pull himself, via rope, to a bucket on the other side to deposit the item. It was a lot of work for him, trust me, I tried it. We are fortunate enough to have a wonderful OT who lets us take part in the activities so that we can get a feel for what he's doing in order to replicate or duplicate as close as possible, those actions, activities, exercises at home. As SmallBoy's had OT off and on for the last month, he was ready to roll. His engine was way high, and he needed this session desperately - not to mention that we were going to a scout meeting right after OT. He worked hard, he was focused on the task at hand and he did a great job. We are so proud of him! She helped SmallBoy to bring his engine down to a nice moderated level. He did a lot of balancing for the vestibular, and a lot of upper body work to work on his muscle tone. His focus today was unreal. She had him up in the lycra layers and was having him use clothespins to attach some of the toys to each side of the layers. Every time he fell, she told him he would have to do sit ups or pushups. Well, he was concentrating so hard on the task at hand, that we could see his legs shaking. He was ready. He was calm, he was focused, and his engine had come down just below a regular, moderate level. I expected it to go back up at scouts, so a little below "just right" was just fine with me.

OT was over at 6:15 and Scouts started at 7. This meant that we didn't have to rush from one to the other, since OT and Scouts are, literally, a 2minute ride away. We had brought SmallBoy's scout uniform to OT so that he could just change there before we left, but we still had to stop home and pick up Girl for basketball practice. This was one of the few times that she didn't have a friend also needing a ride, so when we got back to the school, it was only 6:30. Girl had no problem with that, as the boys' basketball team had a game that she could watch until her practice started. We, on the other hand, had a half an hour to kill doing a whole lot of nothing. Instead of just sitting in the car, or wasting gas by driving around, we went inside. Thankfully, the Boy Scouts were there, as the were setting up and practicing the flag ceremony for the meeting. This meeting was a combined meeting/Christmas party with the cub & boy scouts. Everything was going swimmingly. GR even came to watch the skits that each scout den was performing. SmallBoy's den did this cute scene in which each scout had a letter spelling out "Merry Christmas", starting at the "S" and working backward toward the "M", each boy saying what part of Christmas their particular letter represented. SmallBoy's "R" stood for reindeer.

The show was wonderful and, as you can see from the pic, he's not shy about using a microphone...I wonder where he gets that?. After the skits, the boys had the privilege of throwing a pie in the face of the Scout Master (the new one, the one we adore) as a reward for meeting and exceeding the popcorn sale challenge he had set for them. Everyone was in a great mood, the room was loud with happiness and anticipation and excitement. The troops received gifts, with SmallBoy's troop receiving flashlights for camping that wind up - no batteries or electricity needed. This flashlight was the downfall of our evening.

SmallBoy, after receiving his, immediately brought it to me and asked if we could open it for him. After looking at the clock and realizing this meeting only had moments left, I told him no, that I didn't want it to get lost, that the meeting was just about over and that he could have it when we got home. Ok. No problem. He ran off to play. PC was running outside and asked me if I wanted him to take it. I told him not to, because then SmallBoy might notice it missing and meltdown thinking it got lost or "stolen." I should have let him take it to the car.

I walked away for a few moments to take pictures of the newly "pied" Scout Master - he ended up wearing three cream pies, chocolate, I believe. When I walked back, GR said to me, that SmallBoy had come back, seen the flashlight package on the chair (I must have missed the bag) and walked away with it. Damn! I fought with myself, having the non-stop internal arguement as to whether I should let it slide for the next 3 minutes while we finished up the meeting, or if I should make it a point to dole out consequences for the action and risk a meltdown, thus, ruining SmallBoy's night - because no ASD meltdown is a "good" meltdown. I went with option B, and went up to SmallBoy and asked him for the flashlight back. I explained to him that I had previously told him that he could not play with it because I didn't want it getting lost or broken.

"But, Mom, all the other kids...."

"Yes, my love, I know, but the meeting is almost over and I've already told you no. Why did you take it from the bag without asking?"

"Because I wanted it and everyone else has theirs."

This was true, they were all running around like crazy, having fun, playing, SOCIALIZING. I found myself, again, arguing within my head about what the best, most practical solution would be. Again, I chose to lay down the law. I told him that he had to give me the flashlight as a consequence - of course I explained this three or four times, in language easy to understand when his engine is skyrocketting. He got angry and just started crying, baby-crying, not crying like a 10y/o - more of a WAAAAAAAAH, than anything. And he wasn't faking either. He was upset, he was angry. This went on for a good ten minutes until he finally just shut down. It's very rare that he completely shuts down on me. I didn't know what to do. I was at my wit's end, partially because I knew that we never should have gone to the meeting, because we haven't had ANY down time all week and partially because I knew that he was fried and had already been to two scout meetings this week, plus school, plus just overstressed from us being stressed.

"I'm done doing the big pack meetings. This is just too much for him, and it's too much for us. I think we'll just go to the den meetings."

That was my big pronouncement. Now, you know that's not going to happen, because he needs the socialization, he needs the recognition of getting his awards and achievement badges in front of the whole pack, he needs all of it. But I, too, was fried beyond belief. SmallBoy and I had both finally, after many weeks of holding it together - JUST barely - cracked. We were done. I wanted to cry, he was already crying. Instead, I held it together just a little bit longer to show a friend SmallBoy's sensory tunnel and body sock, and to let her son, who is ADHD, try them out. We also gave them a copy of "The Book". I wanted SmallBoy to show T how to use the sock and the tunnel, but he was angry and upset at me, still, and went and laid on the stage to sulk and be mad. Most people just thought he was tired, but when he became unresponsive to their prompts and chatter, I had to step in. It was time to go. We almost had to drag him out, because he wasn't going.

I don't think I've ever experienced that with him. This is something new, for which I was not prepared. Given the circumstances of the last couple of weeks, though, I'm not surprised. I would be more than content to not have to go to multiple places on Christmas, but you know, Christmas just wouldn't be the same without all of the hustle and bustle, now would it? So, we'll suck it up for a few more days and it will all be over. I think I'll sleep through 2007 to make up for all of the stress of the last 2 or 3 weeks though.

Pseudo-Supermum, never fear, I will de-stress!


kyra said...

oh, honey. so sorry about that. it's bound to happen at this time of year, yes? we do our best to make the 'right' call but is there any right call all the time? everything is turned up these days, the treats, the sugar, the energy, the activity, the stress!! our boys feel it the most.
you are a fantastic mom and smallboy is the world's best. he is.

by the way, your OT sounds AMAZING! i love that you get to try out what smallboy is doing so you can approximate it at home! that is awesome. i hope to find someone like this to help fluffy with sensory issues. shall we travel to her? AND smallboy is doing so well with it! such hard work and he really sticks with it. i'm impressed.

sending xx.

Laura said...

It really is that time of year. I took G to Ikea yesterday to look at things for her room and she kept running through the plastic doorways and sticking her head in the fabrics, and lying on the beds and not wanting to move. Luckily I was a bit more rested and realized she needed the stimulation. And the time together. But I am awaiting the meltdown. S has had several and they have been spectacular, as is everything she does.

Is it mean of me to admit that I am happy that no one under the age of 7 is coming to my house tonight and requiring monitoring? A nice mostly-adult evening with a cocktail and some food. I am SO looking forward to it.

Happy happy to you and yours!

Pseudo Supermum said...

That was Friday night when you had your awful meltdown evening - now it's Christmas Eve, and I wonder how you're bearing up? It's 22.45 pm UK time, and all three little Scots boys are tucked up in bed, too excited to sleep. I've iced the Yuletide log, read a story about a Christmas mouse, put in a load of washing and polished the dining-room table. Santa can't appear for at least another hour, so I am left kicking my heels whilst SuperSpouse goes and plays for a midnight carol service. De-stressing sounds like a great idea. Anyone care to join me for a cup of tea and a relaxing CD?!

Happy Christmas, everyone! I hope it's good for all of you, parents and kids alike.

Pseudo Supermum said...

Hey, I love it! All those miles away, and you reply seconds after I posted my comment, even when you've got enough to do over there! Have a VERY happy Christmas. Someone else is playing for my midnight service - even Super-Santas can't be in two places at once, and I'm needed here in case Santa needs letting in. (No chimneys, you see. Bit of a problem for your average street-Santa!)