…no meltdowns for ages and then three come along at once!!!
We’re back from our holiday and settled back into the routine of school and surprisingly everything has been really calm. Maybe a little too calm…
My other half got back from his trip to Barcelona last Wednesday night and by Thursday morning we were all packed and off on our adventures with 3 very excitable children. We managed the whole 2 and a half hour journey with no wobbles or arguments, the only issue we had the joy of experiencing was the nice ‘relaxing’ sound of the sat nav being repeated by my three little parrots – thankfully this didn’t go on for too long as they all decided to sleep for most of the journey.
We arrived at my mum’s caravan and got dinner and bed out of the way with only a tiny amount of messing around and excitement (this is rare at home, never mind while sharing a room and in a new bed on holiday!!!). The rest of the holiday involved lots of playing, walks a trip to a theme park and a pub meal all without any sign of trouble. By the time it came to the journey home, I was dreading it. I was sure there would be a meltdown from one of the kids about having to leave or because I’d put a bag in the wrong place but once again I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the journey seemed to go.
Later that night we pre warned the kids that tomorrow would be the first day back at school. Danny was a little concerned that he wouldn’t wake up early and that he’d miss it but his mind was soon settled when he realised that I’d set my alarm and we’d get there in time.
Tuesday morning came and went and the morning routine was effortless. Fed, washed, dressed and shipped off to school without a peep – surely pick up wouldn’t be as simple when they were tired after a long day?! 3.15 came, Danny bounded out of school happy as larry and stayed that way until dinner (which he ate without moaning) and they all went to bed and slept. For the whole night!!!
Wednesday morning came and after I’d experienced another effortless morning of breakfast and school drops I was beginning to wonder if this was actually all a dream, or perhaps Doctor who would spring out of his tardis (I can wish) and tell me that my children had been possessed by an alien creature from a different world, but no. None of this happened, in fact Wednesday went by as easily as the rest of the week had.
As the days have gone on I’ve been sitting waiting for all hell to let loose, knowing that this easy routine, as normal as it probably is for most families isn’t normal behaviour for my family and this must just be the calm before the storm. When you live in a house full of autism it can never be this easy, someone will crack eventually – the big question was who would it be?
Maybe I jinxed things because after school today ALL 3 had a meltdown – one after the other!!!
Milly showed the first signs of a wobble when I collected her from playgroup at lunchtime. She usually comes bounding out shouting “Mummy” and throws her arms around me but today she didn’t want to leave and instead decided to come towards me with a sulky face and moving at a snail’s pace. It turns out she thought she was having her lunch there today like she had yesterday. I was proactive and booked her in to have lunch there tomorrow, averting a public meltdown, phew!!! The afternoon consisted of lunch (trouble free of course) and a big clean up while dancing to one direction with the girls (it’s a cleaning rule in our house!). We picked Danny up and by the time we arrived home Milly had fallen asleep in the pushchair so her Dad carried her into the house and woke her up with an after school treat (can you believe we’re still eating Christmas chocolate?!!!).
Moo (that’s what we all call her btw) was happily munching away on her chocolate when all of a sudden she started crying. I thought she had bit her tongue or her finger (regular occurrence in this house) and went running over to comfort her only to be hit away and shouted at for not taking her and Poppy to pick Danny up from school. My poor baby girl had been that tired she’d forgotten going out and being woken up to come back in, so meltdown number one had risen it’s head. After 20 minutes of crying she was settled and not angry at me for leaving her at home (which I never did!!!).
I never thought I’d say I’d be relieved to have one of the kids have a meltdown but I was, I could settle now knowing it was done and dusted and appreciate things going back to the easy routine that had been the last week.
I WAS WRONG!
Meltdown number 2 hit shortly after meltdown number 1, this time it came from Poppy. People with autism often have a wide range of issues with sleep varying from extreme insomnia, often caused by anxieties. Some children worry that they won’t wake up in the morning while others just don’t like the change (change of clothes, change of room, having to lie down instead of sit up, having to close their eyes instead of having them open. I’m sure you get the picture). In my house all 3 children have different sleep issues; Moo never slept from the day she was born, she was awake day and night. No matter what we tried (weighted blankets, sensory techniques, a blanket that had been in my top for the whole day so my scent would rub off onto it and many more) she just wouldn’t sleep. In the end at the age of 2 we had to resort to her being prescribed melatonin, for her health sake and mine. Thankfully this has now started to work and she is sleeping brilliantly so we’re on a path to taking her off it. Danny slept through from day 1 but as he is getting older goes through patches of not sleeping and sitting up worrying about little things for hours at a time.
And then we have Poppy! Poppy needs more sleep than my other 2, she could quite happily (and often does) sleep for over 14 hours and then still have a cat nap on the sofa in the afternoon!!! Today was one of those days that she fancied a little nap on the floor, but as it was getting closer to bedtime and I knew if she slept then I wouldn’t get her to bed until 10 O’cock so I asked her repeatedly to sit up rather than lie down wrapped in a blanket. Apparently she wasn’t happy with this suggestion and after ignoring me, then refusing to sit up the meltdown hit with full force. 25 minutes of screaming and tantrum throwing followed, as she started to simmer I thought I’d try and break through to her by asking her to come and read me my numbers off my cash card so I could type them into the computer – she’s been doing her numbers at nursery so I thought it would be a good way to encourage her learning. She seemed to like the idea, completely forgot she was upset with me and jumped up to help. Unfortunately this caused meltdown number 3 with Danny!
Danny wanted to read the numbers out for me, I told him it was Poppy’s turn and he could do it next time but he wanted to do it now (don’t they always?!) so he ran off to sulk in his little corner. This is progress for Danny, for the last month or two if he feels things are getting too much for him or if he’s getting upset or angry we’ve encouraged him to have a coping technique where he sits and calm himself down and chill out until he feels better. So now when he recognises that he’s upset or stressed he squishes himself into a corner and won’t come out until he’s ready to talk. The only problem with this is I have to walk past ‘his corner’ to get in and out of the kitchen so tonight while he was having his little wobble (minus the screaming for a change) every time I went in to check on dinner I would get hit, kicked and growled at
On the plus side, dinner and bedtime went smoothly so maybe things are looking up or maybe today was just a taster of things to come, I’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings 🙂