I think I have written and rewritten this blog about six times. It has been so long since I have posted anything and I am feeling a little writer’s block. And looking back, I am realizing this is my first post for all of summer. WOW!! Of course during summer we have had weekends packed with fun adventures. We have gone camping, boating, many hours of swimming at the pool and countless fun times with our friends and family. Believe it or not the kid’s summer is coming to an end in just over a week. I know they are definitely not ready for the school year to begin again. But I am pretty sure my husband is, since he’s been trying to balance work and entertaining the kids (an impossible task!).
Mateo has been slowly winding down his ABA therapy hours. We have gone from six hours a week down to three and he only has one week left until he graduates. He is definitely ready for ABA to come to an end, but it has been such a big part of our lives for over four years. Therapy is all Mateo has known since the age of 2 1/2. And the thought of ABA coming to an end is huge for all of us.
We still face practically daily meltdowns. Usually over him working on his summer homework packet or us running out of milk, or yesterday the pizza guy delivered the wrong pizza which resulted in a 10 minute meltdown. Maybe I am so used to them now, that they don’t phase me as much as they used to. Don’t get me wrong they sometimes result in me polishing off the last of a bottle of wine or taking an extra long workout. But I feel like we are learning how to manage the meltdowns better.
A good example would be the pizza meltdown that occured last night. So here is a little background. Mateo’s favorite food in the whole world is Pepperoni Pizza. Now let’s be clear- it’s just pepperoni and cheese on a pizza. Don’t add any herbs, or olives or anything else because he won’t touch it. We had a long day yesterday and my husband decided we should just order pizza for dinner, and I was in complete agreement. We were hungry and of course the pizza place was backed up, and it took a long time to finally get our pizza to our house. We open the box to find that they delivered us a plain cheese pizza. Now many kids would just eat it- it’s pizza right? And if they are hungry enough they will eat it. Well Mateo has one thing on his mind, that he will be eating his FAVORITE pizza in the whole world and when we opened that box, it was more than just a disappointment it truly breaks him.
So the tears begin and the sobbing and he doesn’t understand why they would bring him the wrong pizza. And he feels very anxious because it’s the only thing he can think about eating at this point. He will not eat the cheese, he will not eat anything and he was very hungry by this time. It is unlike anything you experience with children who don’t have Autism. It’s not like a temper tantrum when a child doesn’t get their way. It’s like everything around them crashes down, and they are not sure how to escape out of the dark. Like total tunnel vision. At least that’s my perception, I wish he could tell me how it feels for him.
So I sit with him and after many tears, I hold him and say to him, “I know you are upset that they brought the wrong pizza, and that’s ok. But we caught the guy in time, he’s going back to the restaurant and picking up the right pizza right now. You can sit at this window and keep an eye out, and let me know as soon as he gets here with our pizza.” And he lets out one last sob, and he waits, and he waits. He will not leave his station at the window.
The pizza guy is back within about 15 minutes, and Mateo happily eats his pepperoni pizza. And all is right with the world. Well for now at least.
So, a ten minute meltdown in one evening really isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. He has been emotional lately as well. He knows that ABA is ending, summer is ending, school is starting, and all of this equals a LOT of change for him. And change is hard, very hard. So we will see what August brings. But for now I am going to enjoy the last little time we have together for pool days, lake days, movie days and chill out and do nothing days.