A Midnight Meltdown

**This was written about 1:30 this morning. I posted it to my Facebook page, but I thought I’d memorialize it here. Hopefully it is a lowpoint we can look back on to see how far we’ve come from here later on.

Jojo didn’t/wouldn’t eat hardly anything at dinner, preferred or otherwise and woke up about an hour ago (midnight) full on meltdown mode. I believe from hunger, but he wouldn’t eat after we tried to feed him again.

Even though I believe he is famished, He walked down to the kitchen, screaming from hunger and exhaustion, and put the food away. (It is not the correct time or place for food, you see).

So we had a tired, hungry, autistic, meltdown. Nothing would calm him and we rode it out for an hour.

He is becoming increasingly violent with his meltdowns, mostly hitting and throwing objects. Correction/scolding or redirection is not even noticed and usually results in a hyperventilating scream (you guys know THAT scream, right?)… the one right before the vomit from hyperventilating while screaming?

Thankfully, no throwing up this time.

He curls himself up into a ball on the floor, screaming. If I try to hold him, he recoils, gets up and then slaps me. If I give him his sippie cup, he throws it, and then looks for it to throw it again. Same with food.

It ranged across multiple rooms in the house this time.

The magic hexbugs didn’t work, although he did not throw them. I can tell they do have a soothing effect even if the meltdown didn’t abate. He clutched them as they vibrated away, even while he deliriously screamed/hit/threw.

It really is a helpless feeling knowing that you have tried literally EVERYTHING you could think of to help your son and nothing seems to work. He just …isn’t there.

Finally I put on one of his movies downstairs. He paced from laying on the bottom stair, to looking for the sippie cup to throw/hitting me and mommy, to curling up in a ball.

He finally laid down on the hardwood floor in our kitchen and he gradually calmed down, not really watching the movie, but too exhausted to continue.

He finally got up, walked over to me, reached for me to pick him up and laid his head on my shoulder.

That was the moment I was waiting for. My Jojo was back.

Mommy got his special blankie now that he was calm and he snuggled into my shoulder with his blankie, hexbug, and sippie cup.

We stayed like that for a good 15 minutes. Me holding him, not daring to move, lest the monster return. But he is not so little anymore and I couldn’t hold him for much longer.

I carried him back upstairs and put him in his bed. He pulled his blankie over his head and fell right asleep.

I’m laying on the floor in his room again. Hoping this is the only time we do this tonight. He still hasn’t eaten anything.

I won’t know how to fix all the meltdowns or even know how to handle them, but I want to be there every time when he finally comes back.

I want him to know that no matter what he does to me or how he acts during a meltdown, I will ALWAYS be there for him…

…because he is my son. And my love for him is unconditional.

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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