Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It was an adventure

I really have to stop falling into full-blown avoidance mode, dealing with this stuff is so much easier when you've had more than four hours of broken sleep.

Right as we were getting ready to leave this morning it started to rain. I had two options - take the subway or bus without the stroller or walk and probably get there soaking wet. We took the subway. Of course, as soon as we got off, it had stopped raining.

The ride up was great. We hit our first mini-meltdown when we had to go up the stairs instead of exploring the station, then we had another when I told him we had to walk this way instead of that. I was getting more than a little tense and terse by the time we had walked the five blocks to Starbucks. I got my coffee, he got some juice, and we both got rid of our sweaters. Walking to the library from Starbucks was a breeze, completely different from the walk there. We got to the library and Michael seemed so collected, a state he doesn't normal achieve until much later. The OT and I decided that he could play on the computer rather than doing our normal story time prep in the room. This was a mistake.

The next forty minutes or so was almost one big long meltdown. No matter how much we tried to prepare him or distract him, he didn't understand why he had to stop playing with the computer and go to story time. We would bring him into the story time room and he would become hysterical. I tried everything in my bag of tricks to work with him and nothing did. Both John and the OT were very surprised and thought something must really be up with Michael. I told the OT and reminded John that this wasn't all that abnormal, it's just one of those things that I have changed our lives around to avoid. If he didn't have OT this morning and we weren't working on this very type of transition, I would have A. just let him play on the computer while everyone was in story time or B. packed him into the stroller and left until he and I had calmed down.

I feel like I failed him and me by not doing one of those things - just telling the OT outright that this wasn't going to work today. It was good practice despite how hard it was. Flight is great but there are going to be some times when I can't use it to save us and I have to have some other strategies in place. I also learned that I can take him on a short train or bus ride by myself without the stroller which will open up a lot of activities for us.

The OT was really impressed with my patience and the fact that I recognized that he truly didn't understand why he had to stop playing with the computer rather than chalking it up to defiance. I think this is one of Michael's biggest delays and one that is very easy to overlook. There are times when I'm sure he understands, but more often than not I try to avoid the situation all together because of the hysterical meltdown that ensues. We had to cancel speech this week for the developmental ped appointment, but I think I'm going to make up some social stories and maybe a schedule board as well. I want to shift the focus to transitions and expectations a bit more - we have to come up with a better method than the current, "'Bye! Go away!" that is too often said through tears for even the most seemingly mundane things. With school starting in the fall (or possibly this summer), I think I need to get some foundations laid so it doesn't become traumatic for both of us.