At 2:49 last night, we had our best meltdown ever.
That may sound strange to some people not familiar with #autism, Pathological Demand Avoidance #PDA, and #neurodivergent. But not in this #HomeCrazzyHome.
How can a meltdown be good…better…or best?
First of all, PanKwake has just naturally matured. So that when she does meltdown…and this was the first time in weeks (months?)…she is just more controlled. That is just part of brain development.
#AutismParents don’t get that. The brains of our #neurodivergent little humans develop and mature too. They just do it at their own pace and sometimes by divergent patterns.
Yes, the root cause of the meltdown was irrational. Once something is broken, it can be replaced or fixed. It cannot be unbroken. And normally she knows that…I think she did this time too.
Yes, she had superhuman strength…moving our bed that normally takes at least two adults…across the room.
Yes, she screamed…and yelled…and cried.
But just not as violently as in the past somehow.
The other factor is…us. Cookie Monster and I. We both knew what to do. We did not touch her. We kept talking to a minimum. We kept our eyes down. We did not try to intervene, shame, or manage her at all.
And for me…it was utter and complete calm in the middle of the storm. A lot of the credit for that goes to Cookie. Just his presence centers me.
Overall, I am proud of how ALL of us managed.
But it was what happened at the end that I am writing about. I began to educate PanKwake on the importance of self-care.
I have always gotten her cold water to drink towards the end of meltdowns. The screaming is rough on the throat. Tears and that level of physical exertion can cause dehydration…especially in the heat (though it was not warm last night). And shock…after all those hormones as the body calms down it is almost a shock like state.
For the past year or so, I have actively used it as a part of the calming strategy. By encouraging PanKwake to think about what is happening in her physical body, it allows her brain to focus on something other than the root cause of the meltdown.
BUT I don’t try this until I hear a certain cry/breathing pattern that I know means she is calming down already. And I do NOT push it if she shows reluctance. I will though come back to it in a bit.
Last night though I took this strategy to the next level, I actually explained WHY. Of course, she knew ALL about dehydration and shock from…you guessed it…YouTube.
I also began preparing by talking about how even as an adult she will have meltdowns. How Mommy won’t be there for her. So she needs to learn to take care of herself then.
In the end, she preferred hot chocolate this time. So that was what she got.
I am letting her and Cookie sleep-in this morning. It might be Mommy Monday for me but they had a big night.