Talking about how much things have changed yesterday really got me thinking about all of the things that haven’t changed. Number one on that list is how Brendan reacts to school ending. To put it bluntly, he just can’t handle it. Admittedly, when he was young it was a lot harder for both him, and us to deal with. Brendan does everything by routine, and when you set the routine of going to school 5 days a week, and being home all day only 2 days a week and then you change that up for summer vacation its sure to mess with his coping abilities.
The story I remember best from when he was that age was his first full year in pre-school. The district was bussing him across town to a pre-school best suited to his needs and it met 5 days a week. Everything was going just peachy until the first time the kids were out of school on a break. I can remember Brendan standing in front of me sobbing because it was Thursday, and he was supposed to go to school on Thursday’s. No matter how many times we explained about school vacations he was absolutely fixated on the fact that it was Thursday and he needed to be at school.
Nowadays he’s much better about school breaks. He’s come to realize the same school breaks come every single year and so he looks at them as part of the routine vs. a break in his routine. Except for one school break, and that would be summer vacation. To this day he can not handle the change from school to summer. I keep hoping that one of these years he will be able to make the transition from school to summer without having a complete meltdown, but this year is not that year.
Take Tuesday for example. School let out mid-day so I scheduled Brendan an eye doctor appointment for the afternoon. Up to the point that we got to the doctors office Brendan seemed to be his normal happy self. Once in the doctors office I noticed that he had a very large hangnail on his thumb that he could not seem to leave alone. Knowing that if it got torn off unexpectedly that it was going to hurt like crazy, I got him a band aid so that it wouldn’t get caught on anything and so he would leave it alone until I got home and cut it with a nail clipper.
From the moment I put the band aid on his thumb he went from completely rational to out and out crazy. He absolutely could not deal with the fact that there was a band aid on his finger and he kept trying to rip it off. Sitting in the waiting room he cried, he whined, he became completely obsessed with the band aid and could not focus on anything else. The meltdown went on until the point that they called him back for his appointment. Thankfully that distracted him enough that we were able to get through the rest of the appointment without further issue. I hoped that maybe that was a one off scenario. There’s lots of textures that bother Brendan and I can’t truly say when the last time I put a band aid on him was.
Wednesday proved that it was not one off and that we are following the same routine that we do every single summer. Wednesday Brendan came to me after his shower and asked if he could go outside. My exact words were, “not right this minute, it’s supposed to rain, but I’ll check the forecast and see when it’s supposed to clear up.” That wasn’t good enough. He stormed to his room and began muttering to himself and running between his window and door, a sure sign that he’s not handling a situation well. I let him run himself out, and hoped that would help him to deal with the rest of the day.
Later in the afternoon he wanted to play Xbox. It had been a while since the Xbox had been turned on and things weren’t working right. I was in my bedroom folding clothes and all I can hear is him screaming and sobbing at this video game because it won’t work for him. I talked to him about it, but as I’m not a video game expert I had no idea how to fix the problem. I calmly suggested that he wait until Matt got home from work so he could fix the Xbox and then he could play that night. I also reminded him that it was not that big a deal because it was just the first day of summer vacation and we had plenty more time to get some gaming in. Despite those reassurances he spent another big chunk of time in his room running and muttering.
And that’s pretty much how the day progressed. Something little going against what Brendan had in his head and him not being able to deal with the change. Unfortunately this can and has lasted up to 2 weeks. He becomes almost unbearable to live with because you never know what tiny little detail is going to set him off. The other two have learned through the years to give Brendan a wide berth and pretty much just steer clear of him until things improve. Having more room to spread out in the new house really helps with that as there aren’t as many arguments between Brendan and Cameron about who gets to be in their room when Brendan is having a meltdown.
Their camps start in a little over a week, and I can only hope that Brendan can pull himself together by the time they start.