Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mom "Meltdowns"

This past Wednesday, while I was waiting for Dominic to get done with his first music therapy session with his new therapist, I watched a mom come in with her son with Down Syndrome. He looked like he was about Dominic's age and when he looked at me, I said, "hi, buddy!"  He didn't answer back, but that was okay. I watched the mom take her son around the corner, I'm guessing to a class, but they came back within a minute and sat down nearby.  A few minutes after that, a boy, who I'm assuming was his brother came over (it looked like he just had a cello lesson). The little guy with Down Syndrome started running around and then hopped on and off the elevator. The more the little guy ran around, the more the mom was getting stressed (I probably would have been too)! As they headed towards where I was sitting, the little guy with Down Syndrome deliberately pushed his brother's cello to the floor. The mom opened up the case and discovered a crack on the cello. She then said, "I don't even know what to say" to the little guy and then went up on the elevator, leaving the two boys downstairs by themselves. After a minute or two, the mom came back down, walked over to the bench where I was sitting and then had a complete "meltdown." She started crying softly and then it progressed to full blown sobbing - like for about ten minutes. I was thinking about trying to talk to this mom, but then a couple of other moms came over and tried to comfort her.  A mom came over and said, "you look like you need a hug," so she hugged her. All the while I was sitting there, not quite sure what I should be doing. When the crying mom stopped sobbing for a bit, she said, "it's been a hard week, we shouldn't have tried to push it by bringing him here." Other moms were saying, "we've all been there." This mom eventually stopped crying and left with her two boys. I wonder if she'll try to take her little guy to the music class again. I'm guessing she won't even try.  I can remember back to when Dominic was first diagnosed with Autism and I tried to take him to a class at a nature center. It was totally not geared to children with special needs and I remember getting so frustrated and upset that I left in the middle of the class, walked to the car and then cried my eyes out. I've thought about how that mom reacted to what her little guy did to the cello a few times since the incident occurred and I know I would have handled it differently. If Dominic had done that, I would have grabbed him and taken him immediately to the car and then discussed the matter privately. How many of us have seen a mom yelling at their kid in a store? It makes you wonder what lead up to that "meltdown," doesn't it?!? That's what was interesting about this mom at the music school, she never once raised her voice and/or yelled at her son. Since getting Dominic toilet trained about 1 1/2 years ago, I thought we never ever would have to worry about him having "accidents." Well, that was wishful thinking! Today, so far, he has had three accidents. I used to have "meltdowns" about it, but the only thing that achieved was getting Dominic upset. I decided the better approach was to not get all wound up about it, but instead say calmly, "that's okay, let's just try next time to not have an accident." He only has accidents at home, not really anywhere else. It's not like I can ask Dominic why that it is, he wouldn't be able to answer me. The way I look at it is, there were many, many times when I NEVER thought he would ever be trained, so if he has an accident once in awhile, it's not a big deal!!

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