Yes, I said the ‘perfect’ meltdown. In public too. But how can a meltdown be good…let alone perfect?
It was a combination of four things actually:
- My calm
- PanKwake’s control
- Public acceptance
- Support of good friends
- Cookie Monster’s cwtches.
So let me tell you the story…
Remember Friday we were rushing off to the LC2 for sports day, then climbing, swimming and board rider. Then we were breaking with routine and bringing Pineapple and Cookie Monster Jr home with us instead of Meow Meow. Well, Pineapple got sick (might have had something to do with the Tater Man and Krispy Kreme donuts I fed the kids).
And right there in the showers at the LC, PanKwake kicked off. With the loudest, worst meltdown she had had in months…much worse than the one of the train home from LegoLand. I knew that she was right. That she deserved it too. I had changed her routine without truly consulting her and now…she was having NOTHING.
I think that was a major portion of why I remained so calm through out…I knew this one was on my head. The other thing that contributed to that was the staff and people at the LC2. No dirty comments, not even nasty, judgemental looks. There were some sympathy/pity ones but heck, I give those to other parents when it is someone else’s turn.
I want to say a great big THANK YOU to the staff at the LC2 and all the people there too. You made a challenging situation as good as it possibly could be. This was her second meltdown at the LC2 and they are consistently supportive without being invasive. The staff have been well trained.
What did worry me though was Pineapple and her mom. Plans change. Things happen. People get sick. That will always happen. And of course, PanKwake needs to learn how to manage sudden changes…but she ain’t there yet. It was no one’s fault. But I know how easy it is for wonderfully empathetic individuals to take guilt that just is NOT theirs to bear. We have talked about it a bit…but will do more.
So this one was also a rather long one…over half an hour. From the shower to the dryer to outside with PanKwake still crying and screaming. In the end, I was blessed to have another set of wonderful friends who did not hold my faux pas against PanKwake. Meow Meow’s parents brought her over at the last minute. Sticking to the original routine…which PanKwake reminded me had been her choice all along.
But what also made this meltdown perfect was that even in this deeper level of meltdown PanKwake’s brain is maturing to the point that she no longer lost all since of danger or reason. She did not attempt a runner (called eloping) and she was not really violent…just loud. In other words, I knew that even in this worst of meltdowns she was NOT a danger to herself or others. While I stayed watchful, it was relief to see this new level of awareness growing as she matures.
Of course, the other thing that made it all perfect was knowing that Cookie Monster’s arms awaited me at home when it was all over. And though I had changed the whole game on him…without consulting him mind you…there was no recriminations. He understood…and just hid out in the basement with his rack (of computers) while I dealt with PanKwake and Meow Meow.
So yes…a meltdown can be good. When you are surrounded with understanding and accepting people. When you have friends who are compassionate and forgiving. When you have a partner who is tolerant and loving. When your autistic child’s brain is beginning to mature to the point that even in the worst meltdown she is no longer a danger to herself or others. And when you accept responsibility for letting her down, learn from your mistake, and do your best to maintain the trust you have spent years building with her.
I have learned my lesson though…no more changing plans without consulting PanKwake. I had thought I could not handle four children at once. But the truth is…that would have been way easier than managing PanKwake’s meltdown. So live and learn. I won’t be making that mistake again.
My apologies to…PanKwake, Meow Meow, Pineapple, and their Moms and Dad. I truly appreciate all of your understanding and help. But do NOT take this one personally…I long ago learned that meltdowns are like volcanic eruptions…sometimes there is nothing you can do but sit back and watch. And others like this time…there are lessons for me. So I can do better next time. And I will…for all of you.