If a tantrum comes -weather the storm together with your child
When you are changing everything about a 5-year-old's world (such as I did with moving from our apartment in the city, to the faraway countryside ) be prepared for meltdowns and struggles. If you are doing this all with a neuro-diverse child - be prepared for the storm.
As I was waiting for the person from our apartment rental company to come and look over the apartment to tell us what needs to be fixed or paid for since we are about to move out, I had this desperate need to want to have everything clean and tidy. But, my child had other ideas. My child managed to get the whole set of teaspoons from the kitchen drawer and hurls them into the living room. Luckily I see the pile coming and I am able to duck out of the way. I know this is worry speaking and not my child. I take a deep breath and surge in to try to get the remaining spoons pried free of the little hands before they also go flying across the room. I steady myself and try to see. There is a little wild rage brewing under the surface. I know that I can't clean right now. I have to try to calm the storm. The winds blow and the child nearly falls over, but I run to catch. My dear, you are safe in my arms I say. We cuddle on the floor, while I am sitting in some food that is stuck to the floor from yesterday.
So when the giant feelings rumble over and into your living room, put on your imaginary superhero suit, dodge the flying spoon and save the day. It is my zen practice to try to stay calm when the storm is raging. (I'm not saying that I always do stay calm, but I do my best. And after all that's all we can expect from ourselves.) Because I know at some other time, I will have my own trials and I will be crying. And I want my family members to put on their superhero suits and help me. I want to hear my child singing their beautiful, gentle song when my toe is injured and I'm in physical pain. I want to hear the sound of the laughter that comes after the storm when my child snaps out of their rage moment and allows for hugs and snuggles.
In another crazy moment later that day, I am sitting on the bedroom floor, with my back against the door for 45 minutes because something I don't want my child to have is spilled all over the floor in the hallway. They work for a long time to try to pull me away from that door and I keep going back. They keep cycling between working hard, with an intense focus on moving me, and being frustrated when I move back. Alternately pulling me across the floor and laying down beating the floor when I move back against the door. Yelling at me and also proud of themselves for moving my huge body. I silently pray that my husband will get home soon and end this mad stand-off we are having, but when I ring from my hostage position, he is still on the emergency call and won't be home for a long time. And while I am sitting next to my child, with the big emotions - my phone gets touched accidentally and suddenly we hear the voice of the phone assistant, Siri saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Can you say it again?" Instantly my 5-year-old bursts out laughing and we switch from struggling with each other into a cuddling moment. And then we talk. There are band-aids all over the floor in the hallway and my child wanted the entire lot. I ask how many are needed for the project.
My child tells me that they need 3 to finish the legs on the picture on the cardboard box. We make an agreement that the rest of the band-aids will go back in the box. My child grabs 4 and is still not the best at counting exactly anyway, and says they need all of these. I put the rest of the box away.
We discovered in the middle of the already stressful moving process, that our child had not one, but two cavities that needed to be filled. And after we made the dental visit appointments, we all got sick for not 1, but two weeks. Pain makes you do crazy things. Fear of the unknown and change can also do that. Please be kind with yourself and with your children when things are difficult. And if you aren't sure why your child is acting out more than normal, double-check to see if there isn't some hidden pain that you weren't aware of.
I weathered a hurricane that day. Wild behavior was a fair constant during that period. Now the tooth has been repaired and our family has moved houses. This is a lot for any kid. The important part is that we got through the storm together. We don't get mad at each other when a storm tears apart our house, we get mad at the pain and the struggles. And then we work together to repair the house. We are slowly coming out of the storm as we are settling into our new house. And I hope that we can face the next challenges together.
(This is a stock photo, not actually of me and my child, but kind of covers how I feel when things are going crazy.)