Meltdowns and Meltdowns and Meltdowns. Oh my!

"Welcome to Meltdown City
where the screams are loud
and it just ain't pretty."

Last weekend was epic, and not in a good way.

DJ began his series of autism safety swimming classes which he got through a scholarship.

I knew DJ would be ecstatic. So throughout the day, I prepared what I would take with me to keep Chloe (and Adriana) occupied while DJ completes his first lesson.  

The lesson brought about the biggest meltdown from both Chloe and DJ that I have ever experienced in all my time. Granted, they have meltdowns. But...






(This is where having two autistic children gets tricky).

Silly me.  I thought Chloe would be able to handle the fact that her big brother was frolicking in the water as she sat in the bleachers as a spectator. But as she gazed at that pool water longingly, I knew I was going to be in trouble when she uttered the words, "swimming pool."

Man, that girl got a set of pipes on her! 

Kicking, screaming, scratching. 

The air was humid and hot. 

There were people everywhere. 

I was blinded, she knocked my glasses off.

 I was sweating, dripping. Couldn't breath. 

I could see that I lost her in the meltdown when suddenly... it was time for DJ to come out of the pool. 

Many of you may know what it's like to be in the mist of a meltdown. But nothing can prepare you for double meltdown.  Not even me; "Super Mom."

So as I take all of my children to get them in the locker room to change DJ and hightail it out of there, a very reluctant big sister lagged behind us in sheer horror and embarrassment.

In the locker room was when the real "fun" began.

DJ on the floor, screaming, crying, kicking. Refusing to get up.

Chloe standing, slapping, kicking and screaming.  At one point, stepping right on DJ.

Adriana off at a far away bench with a face that read, "I'm not with them."

I sat and tried to control both of them while keeping a watchful eye on Adriana.

And then suddenly, DJ and Chloe are slapping each other! Brawling!  One was trying to get the other to quit it so that they can calm down. But they had set each other off, there was no turning back.  And I just broke down. 

Tears. More than the two of them combined. 

Why was this happening? What steps did I miss that allowed this escalation of emotions to rock this locker room? 

I drifted out of myself as I sat there crying. Then after about 15/20 minutes? something washed over me. I felt another part of me say to myself, "Get up and get it together!"

So I got up, told a screaming Chloe, "Let's go wash your face. We're done crying."  I washed her face, my face. As I calmed down, she calmed down, DJ calmed down.  We were all emotionally and physically exhausted. 

The meltdown came with such a ferocity and then was done!

But the weekend continued with other parallel meltdowns although not as epic as the last but still rattling.

Water, the not being able to splash around in delight until all hours, seems to be the one thing that can trigger both of them at the same time. Who knew?

There is no way of knowing what will trigger a meltdown.  Meltdowns could come with a situation that a child is familiar with or a new situation. It's something that happens. Whenever. Wherever.

And once they are in meltdown mode, their iPad doesn't matter, favorite toy, book, candy. Nothing. 

I beat myself up last week because of it. I was embarrassed and angry, with that day in particular.  

But as I reflected throughout the week, I said to myself, "I did all I could and next time I'll be better prepared." I worked with Chloe the whole week. "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no."  "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no."  "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no."  

Over and over.

Those kids of last weekend didn't even bat an eyelash yesterday. Not a huff, a tear or a whimper.  But this week, I was better prepared.

Here are some helpful blogs that offer an array of personal experiences on the autism family:

Nelsec Designs

Bay Area Mocha Autism Network


  1. Oh my!! I can't remember both of my kids melting down simultaneously, but I'm sure it has happened. Hugs!!!!!!!!!! Glad you survived ... with your sense of humor at least slightly intact!!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Month 4 (A Motherless Daughter)

A Year of Firsts

1 year later. A letter to my Mother.