At 3:09, among the the sea of of middle school students spilling out of school, I spy my child. Already, at first glance, I can tell something is wrong. He was walking rigidly and on his toes. Then I hear through the chorus of voices, “Mom, mom, mommy, mom, mom, mommy.” On and on with the repetition until he got close to the car. I wonder what has set P off to the point of the meltdown that I knew was coming. I unbuckle walk around the car to help him get in. I see his face was flushed and he was breathing shallowly. If I was going to head off the meltdown at the pass, I knew less is more to helping P. I say, “look at mom” with tears in his eyes he looks at me, “I’m sorry.” I do not know what the apology is for at the moment and frankly it is lost on me. My concern is getting P home and helping him regulate his nervous system to regain his composure.
I say to P, “Take a deep breath for me…good…do it again for me buddy.” All the way home, I hear P breathing deeply in through his nose and out through his mouth. This simple act of focusing on breathing and controlling your own breathing has helped P calm down some. P says again, “Mom, mom, mommy I’m sorry.” I struggle immensely on days like this, because something caused him to feel out of control on the brink of a meltdown. But what? How do I find out? I know I needed to contact the school inquiring about the day was the best course of action. While I was waiting for a response, I tried distracting P while making him feel safe. He chose to lay down on the warm bricks in our outdoor seating area. He curled in a ball until his body allowed him to relax. I was happy to know that he was safe and I knew enough to not pester him until he reached out for contact.
I heard back from the school and essentially the day built on one request after another and P fell behind causing him great stress and anxiety. I can understand that like a day that seemed so long and nothing went your day. We’ve all been there, right? I knew P was experiencing emotional responses to environmental factors. It wasn’t caused by one specific thing but a bunch of small things piling on top of each other. Triggers build up until the person becomes so overwhelmed that they can’t take in any more information. P needed time to recover.
During meltdowns, I don’t take pictures or videos. First, my main focus is making sure my son is safe. Secondly, I don’t want those images ingrained in my mind. And my son doesn’t need those reminders of the times when he was overwhelmed with life. I wonder what you have tried to tame the meltdowns that are bound to happen from time to time? What is working for you? What is working for your child? I would love to hear from you because you are not alone in this journey. We are all in this together.
All my best to you,