Therapeutic Virtual Temper Tantrum for Grown-Ups.

Everything started out so well this morning.  Joel was bathed, pull-upped, dressed and happy.  He ate some breakfast and watched Sesame Street.   I was hopeful things would continue along those lines.  He handed me his socks and shoes which is his way of saying, “Hey, let’s go to school.”  I explained to him that it was Saturday and school doesn’t happen on Saturdays.  We did, however, need bar soap.  He let me/forced me to put his socks and shoes on and we headed for the door.  He held my hand as we walked to the truck.  He cooperated as we opened the back door.  He  began to struggle as I lifted him to put him in the car seat.  I explained to him that the only way he was going to go with me to the store was if he sat in his car seat and let me buckle him up.  He still refused and tried to bypass it and climb into the part of the back seat that was not corrupted by life-saving car seats.  To show him I was completely serious about this, I brought him back into the house.

He yelled at me.  He ripped off his socks and shoes and then pushed them into my hands so that I could put them back on.  I asked Maya to go take a picture of the car seat with his I-Pad and put his socks and shoes back on.  She came back in as I was finishing with that.  I proceeded to show him the picture of the car seat and said “Car Seat.  You have to ride in this if we are going to go.”

We went back outside to the truck, this time with Maya who got into the back seat on the other side of his car seat in case he fought me again.  This time he seemed to get it and we managed to buckle him in with very little resistence.  I thanked her for her help and she wished me luck as Joel and I left for our mini adventure to the store.

He didn’t make a peep on the way.  I parked and got him out of his seat all the while verbally reminding him that he would have to ride in it when we were finished shopping.  He held my hand into the store.  I tried to put him in the cart, but he was side-tracked by a stack of plastic kids’ chairs.  I decided to do what That Cynking Feeling does when she takes her little guy grocery shopping which is allowing him to push the cart.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well this went.  I stood behind him with my hands on top of his to keep a hand on him as well as steer him along.  We found the soap and I picked some out.  I handed it to him and asked him to put it into the cart which he did.  We headed back to the front of the store toward the check out which did not (thank goodness) have a huge line.  I directed him to put the soap on the counter which he did.  The lady working the register was pretty tickled by Joel’s “helpfulness.”  She asked if he would like to carry the soap or if I wanted to.  I said he could (try) to carry it.  I paid for the soap and thanked the lady.  She said goodbye to Joel who, of course, did not respond.  Instead, he tried to push the cart around.  We put it where it belonged and walked out the store to the truck.

Of course, I was worried that he would refuse the car seat, but he didn’t fight as I put him in and buckled him up.  He gave me little kiss before I shut the door and got into the driver’s seat.  I kept telling him what a good little helper he was and cheered him on.  I also told him we were heading straight home.  Looking back, I wish I had taken a picture of our house or something and shown him that was where we were going.

When we pulled up into the driveway he didn’t make a sound.  I got out and opened his door and realized he had removed his socks and shoes on the way home.  I got him out of his seat and carried him into the house.  Before I could even shut the door he was melting down.  Big time.

I’ve talked about Joel’s meltdowns in the past and about how they can be violent.  I used up every meltdown technique I have and he slowly calmed down.  And, then he turned into the world’s biggest trouble-maker ever.  First, I made him a baked potato for lunch just the way he likes it with lots of sour cream.  He ate most of it and then dumped the rest of it out on the floor.  He did the same with his cup of milk.  Just dumped it all out onto the floor.  I sternly told him that was not appropriate behavior and cleaned it up.  Then he grabbed a bag of cereal off the counter (that I stupidly forgot to put back in the pantry this morning) and tried to dump it all out on the floor.  I was beginning to notice signs of an upcoming meltdown.  Mine.

I often joke around on this blog or try to always show the positives in my life, but I will admit, I have some low points.  I am riddled with the stress of our life, of the meltdowns and the worry.  My sister called the other night while I was feeling mildly ill to my stomach.  (I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a bit of a stomach bug going around and I was just beginning to feel the effects of it).  I told her my stomach was probably affected by the stress I had been under this week.  She was surprised that I get stressed out because normally “you’re always so happy.”  I explained to her that (A.) not only can I be happy and stressed out simultaneously, but also (B.) that I have three children, one of whom has Autism, I’m a full-time student as is my husband, and we aren’t exactly on the income level of the Rockefellars, blah, blah, blah.  I think she got my point.

But, I also get her point.  It’s the same point Husband has made in the past.  I have a problem internalizing things and not talking about my feelings.  And, every now and then, I want to scream and pull out my hair and lie down on the floor and flail my arms and legs about.  But, I’m a grown up and that isn’t very becoming of grown ups.  So, I’m having a “virtual temper tantrum” right here on my blog.

And, because I’m all for “pity parties,” everyone is invited to join in.  Pick a spot on my virtual living room floor, grab a tuft of your hair and scream about all of the things that just piss you off.

Here goes:

Okay, I’m feeling a bit better.  I’m remembering the handy adages about “Taking it one day at a time.” and “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  Yada, yada, yada.

….gotta go, Joel is peeling paint off the kitchen drawers….

I might just actually succumb to a real temper tantrum in the very near future.

Leave a comment


  1. While I’m sorry to hear about the meltdown at home, I’m relieved to see that having him push the cart wasn’t a failure.
    I won’t stop you from your temper tantrum. I know I’ve had days where no intervention seems to deter Philip from a series of troublesome behaviors.
    I hope things have gotten better.

    • Yes, it was a lot of fun although my whole body was tense with stress. I’m glad I made it a short and simple trip. We will definitely do this more often.

      Things did get better. I think most of his behavior was due to the stomach ickiness that was floating around because he had a few bathroom issues after we returned home. He is much more calm today….although I have probably totally jinxed myself by pointing this out.

  2. Way to persevere with car safety and the shopping trip! And yes, moms can melt down too. My favourite spot is the shower, but the living room floor is good as well. Hope tomorrow’s a better day for you all.

  3. Thank you! I try to pick my battles, and car safety is one of those things I stick to. I’ve enjoyed a few tears in the shower as well. Things have improved today. 🙂

  4. Reading your experiences brings me back to the early days with Toots. It’s that feeling of fear in the calm of the moment you know will not last but the unknowing when the melt down will begin. Many times, I thought I escaped only to get the delayed version that gutted me even more. I think you did every possible thing you could do, and then some. I know it may not feel like much but Toots eventually made his way through entire trips out and back home with no meltdowns! They seem so long ago (not that they don’t still happen) that they were a daily feature of my life. Combine that with a lack of sleep and you have a PTSD environment ripe for a “grown up” melt down. Scoot over. I still have them and you want to give me plenty of room! 😉

    Joking aside, our meltdowns associated with outings nearly disappeared after ABA stepped in with an intervention. It is long and detailed and if you want to email me with your email – I will write out how they did it. 🙂

    • There is always room on my virtual living room floor for you, Karen. I look forward to the days when meltdowns will (hopefully) be few and far between. Your comments always give me hope.

      I would love and appreciate any advice offered. Our email address is Thank you so much for your words of support. 🙂

  5. Leave me a patch of carpet over there and I will lay down and join you. Synchronized tantruming? I am sorry for the tough day – we all need a good cry or tantrum sometimes. I went for months just trying to be positive and I had HUGE tantrum myself. I hope things are looking up. 🙂

    • Synchronized tantrumming? Sounds like an activity for the Olympics. I’ve got enough experience to earn me the gold, or at least the silver. 🙂 Things are on the upswing. I think most of Joel’s behavior over the weekend was due to the stomach issues he had had earlier in the week. Luckily, he seems to be feeling much better.

      The tantrum area has room for many. I’ll save you a spot. 🙂

  6. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!!! My husband says the same things about me. People don’t realize that we’re often teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. But we just move on, breakdown free, because there’s things to do.


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