Jack has these meltdowns sometimes. He gets so agitated and upset that he starts making all kinds of noises – growling and moaning and seething. He kicks and hits things and looks wild-eyed. He rocks and flails. He is SO UPSET and his whole body shows it. He radiates stress.
When he was a toddler, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It sucked, but it was usually in connection with being overtired and overstimulated. The best way to handle it was to let him go at it in a darkened room. He was smaller and less destructive then.
Waiting it out is harder these days. He can cause real damage to himself and the stuff around him. The dark room doesn’t seem to penetrate the haze and he gets even more upset if we try to hold and hug him.
So last night when Jack went into his tailspin (because I had demonstrated to him why I didn’t like to be climbed on), I was at a loss. He didn’t want to be held or massaged or even talked to. I tried anyway, but he was completely out of control of his own faculties and I had to just get out of the way lest I get kicked in the face. When I reached the point where I just wanted to yell at him to STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT, I realized I needed to leave the room.
I traded places with David and he wasn’t much more successful than I was. Instead of Jack calming down, the tension kept building. David tried to get him to think of happier things but that just seemed to piss him off more. Finally, David passed the torch back to me and left the room.
A few minutes later he came back, this time with one of Jack’s plants. He had recently planted some Dragon Tongue beans and the sprouts are shooting up fast. Jack started to calm when he saw the sprout, and then he had an idea. He asked for a boot and David complied. Then Jack created an ode to WALL-E:
This helped immensely! You can’t help but smile at a plant in a boot, right?
I then offered to read one more chapter from The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (<-sponsored) so that Jack had a bit more time to wind down and all was then well with the world.
But who would have predicted that a plant in a boot would do the trick? What will the solution be next time??