Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In our house it all comes out in the minivan.

So if you saw me on the other day in the car stopped at a red light and I was repeatedly banging my head into the steering wheel, there is a simple explanation.  Really.

We were in the car to go to therapy and Alex asked a very straight forward yet loaded question.

"Mom, did you bring the I-pad?"


"No hon, I totally forgot but you can use my phone, OK?"

"Did you bring my I-touch?"

Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

"No hon I didn't bring that either.  I'm sorry.  I'm really sorry.  Mommy got busy and I just plain forgot and I'm so sorry.  You can use my phone, right?  Right???"

Please God, just use the damn phone.  This one time, please.


Everything with-in arms reach was suddenly being thrust toward the front of the car.  Backpack, shoes, socks, headsets, yo-yo.  I know, a yo-yo.  You name it, it was being lobbed my way.

Thank God we were going to OT to work on gross motor skills because not a damn thing came close to hitting me.


More things being launched from the back seat.  Sparkle nail polish.  A fake spider.  Pencil with an eraser chewed off.  Clearly I need to clean the minivan more often.


And at that point I got a little reprieve as we've been watching Megamind nonstop in the car since we started school on August 17, no I'm not counting, and even thought I love hearing Brad Pitt, quite frankly his wily charms and his sinfully beautiful voice wore off way back in September.  And yes, I still think Angelina is a home wrecker.

I did find it interesting that with all the garbage being relocated to the front of the cabin he held onto the DVD remote.  Clearly he'd managed to hold onto a few marbles.


And so that is why I was sitting at a red light gnashing my forehead into the steering wheel.

In the hopes of feeling something other than frustration, anxiety and utter pissed-offedness being spewed in my general direction I opted for physical pain.  There was nothing left for him to do but yell.  He'd already lobbed his backpack, shoes, socks and headsets my way, the only thing he had left were words.

And sometimes those hurt the worst of all.

Note:  We made it out of that car ride just fine and he wound up having a good time at OT after all.  I write this as this type of situation plays out almost every single day.  We've learned to cope with meltdowns and have strategies and tools in place for just this sort of thing.  Oftentimes now we are working on preventative rather than defensive measures.  While I never get used to these meltdowns, I have found I have more patience and understanding than I ever thought I possessed.  I write this to let others know they are not alone.  Not by a long shot.     


  1. Yes, I've been in similar situations and they stink. Glad to hear you made it out alive and through OT.

  2. Thank you for this.

    My son had a really bad meltdown last week and said awful things to me and broke my heart. I let him go back with his OT without me. I stayed in the waiting room and read a book(aka tried not to sob) b/c I just needed a break.

    And I prayed that at the end of the session, my little boy who is usually a mama's boy would be back to his usual self.

    He was.

    But, the words hurt.

    It's nice to know I'm not alone.

  3. Lily hasn't gotten to the point where she verbally lashes out. Mostly I just get spit on, bitten, and slapped. I think I prefer it.

  4. Thank you for sharing this - it is nice to know I'm not alone. My son can't verbally lash out on me like this either - not yet. But I know, it's a comin'

    Over the summer we had a really bad meltdown...BAD! And like you it was on our way to OT. Except I had to deal with the meltdown for 3 buses. That was super fun. - - Had I been in a car, I would have banged my head against the steering wheel too.

  5. Oh yeah, sounds very familiar. You sure it wasn't my child you had that day???! Well, my guy when he was a little younger that is! That said some of your Alex' shouted remarks echo precisely what's said here to this day!!

    Great post... it is always good for others to know that they are not alone ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  6. Oh Lizbeth. I'm sorry. To do so much day in and day out for your kids and then hear those words has got to hurt. But I'm glad you posted this for all to read. You're a good mama and you're doing a good job!

    Like Jim said, my Lily isn't able to verbally lash out and when I read stuff like this, I can't help but think that it might be a good thing at times. Of course, if looks could kill, I would have died on the floor (or in the car!) a couple years ago.

    Now, as for remembering all the electronics - how about a velcro suit? Just walk around the house before you get in the car, sticking all the various "necessities" on your body. Not stylish but our kids would love it, right??


    Smart kid.

    ".. he held onto the DVD remote."

    Really smart kid.

  8. Thanks for sharing this. Some hard words to hear from a child. I have yet to hear "I hate you" but I hope that I can handle it as well as it sounds like you did.

  9. After reading this, I'm left with the sinking feeling that I had better look into getting Game Source right away.

    Sorry it was a rough trip. Do they work with him on coping strategies for when he's feeling frustrated and angry? Just curious...instead of yelling and crying, now we get "Okay, maybe next time" scripted back to us, which is preferable to the yelling.

    I can pretty much guarantee mommy will not be forgetting electronic devices next time! You might also want to pack a flask, just in case.


  10. Wow mama. I am so glad Tommy's never used the "i hate you" to me. I think I'd just die. Instead I get things like "fuck you! you fucking bitch!" which, I can totally handle. Man, I thought Tommy was the only one completely addicted to electronics. He wants an Ipad so badly but it's NOT going to happen. Since it is only wifi capable, I am so not going there. His ipod touch was wifi capable.. and when he couldnt get it connected to the internet, he put the bitch in the microwave and nuked it. A year later, he got an iphone (yeah, *I* dont even have one of those!) and I have learned the hard way to never ever ever ever forget it EVER..... NEVER! lol I keep the truck immaculent for the most part, so I don't get things lobbed at me, I get HIM lobbing HIMSELF at me.
    Isn't it AMAZING the SHIT we have to put up with from these kids.. and we STILL manage to LOVE them!? haha!!
    So glad to hear you made it there safely. What a BONUS that he was able to pull it together for a good session!

  11. Sounds like a very rough car ride. I am glad you are sharing this though so others won't feel so alone.

  12. Ah, those beautiful, honey-dripped "I HATE YOU'S"

    Do you know what's cut down a ton of verbal abuse lately? It's kind of weird but when Jack gets furious I ask him; "are you ANGRY at me?" It stops him and makes him acknowledge whether he wants to be or not, not whether he was at the moment. I don't know--it's the stupidest small thing, but it's like pressing pause.
    Oh, and I also have to be super calm and NOT-MAD sounding myself. All the time. All. The. Time.

  13. (((Hugs))) I have not had objects lobbed at me from the back seat- yet. My kid does have pretty good aim though so, I consider myself lucky. There is no worse feeling that forgeting that one item when you are already out there and you know it will set them off though. I've had my share of meltdowns with nonstop screaming and crying and kicking the back of the seat to attest to the moment of realization that you had...

    The worst part of it for me is when my son yells out how he "wants Daddy" - I HATE that manipulative part. It just shows how smart they are and it cuts...

  14. Definitely inspirational. I know it's hard to hear the "I hate yous" but you also know you are his safe haven.

  15. Am so glad things turned around in a decent amount of time.

  16. Hugs, I remember saying such things as a kid to my parents and regretting them later. I'm glad everything got better once you got to OT.

  17. Oh my, I'm sorry. Glad to hear things turned out well at the OT. It's great that you can share these experiences for others going through a similar thing.

  18. You get stuff hurled at you too? Glad I'm not alone. Sorry you had to go through this. Patience is great, but I've found meltdowns still take a toll on me.

    BTW...I think Angelina's a homewrecker too.

  19. I thought you were going to say you were dodging things. Shit. That sucks, but I'm glad you're okay. And yes...I would have to agree that you clearly need to clean out your vehicle. ;)

  20. I like the Velcro suit idea.... Well one good thing, at least you don't have to dig under the seats to get all the objects to clean your mini van, your gorgeous little man did it for you and relocated all the objects to the passenger seat so much easier to bag up lol! Oatie has a meltdown if I forget his Ipad or DVD player too.

    I wish I could invent a device that won't let you open the garage door as the door leading to it automatically scans for Ipads etc... before you leave home lol!

    Maybe a fuzzy sterring wheel cover would make the head banging more comfortable... lol!?

  21. Little Miss has figured out the lobbing from the back seat too -- although she clearly does not have the reach Alex has!

    The whole story makes me think of one thing in particular -- I wonder if they make those bullet-proof dividers they use in police cars in a mini-van size? How much do you think it would cost to get one installed?

  22. Hang in there. You are a good mama. For what it's worth I too feel like the "I want Daddy!" wails are the most hurtful of all.

  23. I'm with Jim. I prefer the physical pain - maybe that says something about me, IDK. I get head-butted, lunged at and gauged, attempted biting, and T tries to actually vomit on me (when he succeeds at that, I am screwed bc I WILL respond; that means it will be his weapon of choice. Shit.).

    Every once in awhile he'll say things like, "I want [our old landlord - who was a total skeevy douche]!" or "I want [the teacher who hurt him when she inappropriately moved him while in a meltdown]." It's a stab in the heart, and I have no idea why he chooses the douchiest of douches that we've run into, as opposed to say, Grandma.

    Kids suck sometimes, don't they?!

  24. @AutismWonderland--OMG, three busses?!? Sigh.

    @Flannery--we use the I-everything to help him calm down and distract him when he's starting to get upset. It DOES work to help him center himself and regain composure. You just have to catch it before it escalates which sometimes I'm not so good at...

    @karensomethingorother--I'll have to try that. It may be enough to make him think and snap him out of it. I'm still working on the patience part....

    @Accidental Expert--me too. I think that's the hardest part is they'll all happy and recovered and I'm still smarting from the whole thing.

    @Oatie's mom---I would pay big money for one of those scanners!!!

    @Mom2LittleMiss--OMG--I need one of those. I bet that airline magazine Frontgate or whatever it is sells them.....

    @Kelly--Lizzy tried the puke thing on me and I was so mad I refused to clean it. I made her do it. That was one day I thought I was going to farm them all out for adoption!

  25. Lizbeth maybe we could market one of those scanners (I need some GPS on my keys so I can locate them too, that would be handy!!!)and we could retire on an Aspie/CP friendly island which has an ice rink and a pool?


  26. I think you handled the situation beautifully...but on an unrelated topic, I so think Angelina is a homewrecker too!

  27. Thank you for this. I do feel alone because it seems like I'm the only person I know going through this same crap daily. My real life friends cannot understand and all allude to the thinking that maybe my kids are just brats that need a spanking. GRRRR!

  28. Reading your post reminded me of my son's meltdowns a few years ago. They were excessive and often I had things thrown at me plus he often tried to runaway. It was very stressful and I used to wonder whether things would ever improve but they did. Now he's 13, meltdowns have become less though we have another set of behaviours to deal with. Deb x.

  29. I am 37 and still have to use coping mechanisms I learned in the early 80s to control Asperger's meltdown. I'm sorry you have to go through this on a regular basis. I'm sorry your son has to go through it too. My thoughts are with you. You seem like an extraordinary mother.

    Visiting from PYHO


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