“Are you enjoying your Pringles?” I ask Declan.
Two blank brown eyes stare out at the wall ahead.
A moment passes.
“Yes,” he replies.
I turn around and head to the kitchen counter behind Declan. I take a lean and look at the little head that is staring off into space and munching on his snack.
And let out a deep breath.
It was time to decompress.
We had another meltdown.
Just an hour and half earlier Declan was in a rage. We struggled as a family to get him to the car. Once he was secured we all got in and locked the doors and began to leave.
Less than a mile away, Declan gave a mighty lurch and grabbed my hair from the back seat. Once my husband could get him off, he scratched holes in Bobby’s arm, the closest thing to him. Back from the arm he lurched again and grabbed another handful of my hair.
An hour later – an hour of mean words and hate filled screams, attempts to get out of the car, then out of the house. Attempts to hit, claw, scratch. So many tears of rage that could fill buckets – he calmed.
“I feel so sad,” my husband said.
“I just feel bad,” I added, “Numb.”
Thankfully these moments do not happen as often as they did before. We are in our in between stage – summer school has ended and we are waiting for school to begin again. When Declan is off schedule, we all have a harder time.
Lately, we have had a meltdown every day.
As I get punched, or as I protect others around him from getting punched. When he runs out of the car, or the house. As he struggles with sleep – I must keep reminding myself –
It’s just a phase.
My gentle, loving, Spiderman adoring child is having a hard time.
He needs me right now to help keep him safe. I love him tons, and I know once we get back on track, he will tell me funny stories. He will play Spiderman and I will be the bad guy. We will go places and I will not be worried that he will run off – we will go adventuring for fun.
We are going to do all the things that we love to do.
Just as soon as this phase is over.