M had her first full on meltdown for ages today.
I took four of the kids over to visit an osteopath today. We’ve all been before, M more than the others as I was never able to leave her when I’ve been in the past. The house is familiar and welcoming, and Tracey (the osteopath) is one of my favourite people ever. M settled happily with snacks and a DVD on her sister’s laptop.
When we had been put back into good shape we popped into the town for some lunch. The younger two had eaten a packed lunch as I knew we would be late eating, but I got them both an extra wee something.
I knew that after over an hour in the car each way plus all the waiting around that a good run about in the fresh air was essential so we headed to the park where enormous fun was derived from a zip wire that has been installed since our last visit. M was fearless on this, and then got a great workout on almost everything else before we got back into the car.
Part way home I remembered we would be passing a particular shop and I decided to run in and pick something up rather than have to make a special trip out of my way at another time. I was literally a few moments but M didn’t want me to go without her. She started to cry. And then to shout loudly.
Maybe I should have taken her with me, maybe not. I wasn’t up against any deadline. But once she started demanding I thought she was having a tantrum so I left her with the others. Turned out to be a mistake. I returned to find three of them desperately trying to hold onto a distraught girl who was screaming fit to burst and smashing her head repeatedly on the car. I finally got her calm and we set off again.
The journey home was punctuated with a lot of echolalia, a sure sign of M setting her world to rights, but luckily her meltdown was forgotten by her at least. Sometimes she seems totally oblivious to the mayhem; at others she can be exhausted and withdrawn for hours.
So, what was the trigger? Stopping for the shop? I don’t think so. I hadn’t specified we would head straight for home and it’s not unusual for me to kill two birds with one stone this way. Being cooped up for too long? Again I don’t think so. And she had a huge sensory workout which usually makes her feel calm. Maybe she had a panic attack about me going out of her sight. I will probably never know.
I’ll tell you this much – all her siblings now want a pair of ear defenders!