Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to Make Mama into A Big Puddle of Emotional Fondue

This is the best sensory meltdown recipe EVER.

Take one Colorado autumn (which has frigid A.M. temps and summerlike afternoon highs).

Add one sensory disordered LMNOB who is FREAKING out about the fact that she has no clue what she could possibly wear that is warm enough for the morning and yet not going to be too hot in the afternoon. Also, know that the thresholds for cold and hot are EXTREMELY sensitive - the child is either freezing or being burnt alive.

Stir in a Mama, having had some serious childcare woes this year and subsequent ramifications for such instability at work, who CANNOT be late for a morning meeting lest she face another, "I'm not sure how committed you are to this job" talk from The Boss.

Mama and LMNOB mixture was settling overnight with an admonition that LMNOB HAD to get ready easily in the morning - but obviously this failed to settle in.

Fold in one Mama-picked outfit, then another, and another when finally THE outfit is selected and LMNOB is rhythmically told that she will get dressed or else she will go to the bus-stop in her pjs.

Tantrum violently for an hour plus - this includes one LMNOB kicking Mama in her [pregnant] abdomen repeatedly as Mama struggles to dress LMNOB and Mama subsequently feeling such visceral rage that she has to refrain from murderous thoughts and a yen to react with equal violence. LMNOB will finally, slowly emerge from her room dressed with mere seconds to spare. Mama informs LMNOB that she will have to brush her hair in the car on the trip to the bus stop.

Repeat tantrums - throw in "But that's not enough time, I HAVE to have my hair fixed" into the mix.

Mama tries to leave both children, now somewhat calmed, at the bus stop only to arrive at work on time. LMNOB is stuck to Mama, however and must be pried off of her and forced gently onto the bus as it opens its door.

Let LMNOB simmer on the bus, while Mama is put into a fondue pot known as her car wherein she melts effortlessly into a saline fondue of emotions. Preheat the school with a warning of horrible, rotten, no-good morning in the event that LMNOB desires a little extra simmering down. Melt into further puddle at the humiliation of communicating just how awful said meltdown has been.

Seriously, as I told Charlie Brown on the way to work - it is like 95% of the time she is fine - a stubborn child within the normal ranges - and the remaining 5% of the time I think she is a certifiable poster child for institutionalization. Feeling such things about one's child is not pleasant; nor is the realization that you came THISCLOSE to completely losing it on her and going across THAT line.

As I got to work, I only grew more compassion fatigued. We were meeting with 30+ non-profit agencies, funded [in parts] by our grant program to go over changes for the program's upcoming year and to also have them fill us in on trends and changes they were seeing.

It was a depressing blur of the stark realities facing our community....
....12% client increase over last year with 15% funding cuts....5,000 unduplicated clients in the FIRST 4 DAYS of OCTOBER (that was the local Food Bank's figure)...decrease in adult mentors for troubled youth due to economy driving people to take second jobs...increase in domestic violence and child abuse increase in crisis care offered by Respite Care, a facility offering child-care respite to parents of special needs children...

It went on and on, and the last two hit me particularly close to home, having been extremely stressed about potential conflict at work due to my special needs child freaking out.

It was not good. At. All.

Oh, and to boot, it was Wednesday, LMNOB's current day of choice for her freakouts. Just morning instead of evening. We could almost set a clock by it.

Tonight was better....though not without red flags.

I had LMNOB hang on bars at the park and she jumped the crap out of her trampoline tonight for sensory activities. But then she went and played with sidewalk chalk and wrote a novel on our driveway. BACKWARDS. She has not had issues with writing things backwards or in mirror image for a long time, and even when she did it was not a lot, ya know the occasional letter or two - this was 1/4 of our driveway. Bunch of stuff regurgitated from school work about taking care of earth and plants and all that jazz. But SDARWKCAB. Entirely - the words were still in order but read completely right to left instead of left to right. Talk about a mind-bender.

I'm trying a new product with LMNOB tonight to see if it helps her - she's been complaining about being unable to settle down to go to sleep.

Also? Consistency with the sensory diet. Exhausting, time consuming, but ultimately life-saving consistency.


© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved


  1. "Puddle of emotional fondue"...I love it. What a great choice of words.
    Sorry it was a rough day.
    I have some sensory questions re: my stepson that I'd love to ask you, if you don't mind. Can I email you?
    Hoping today is a better day...

  2. I have many hugs to send you.

    Tomorrow will be better.